SXSW On Monday

Monday was another quiet day when it came to panels – I keep leaving early. The key one I wanted to watch I got pulle dout of due to a call, but it sounded entertaining from later reports – the Future of Darknets. The position on the panels were entrenched – there’ll never be agreement, these sessions are made for the arguments. I crept in at the end to hear the MPAA rep (Kori Bernards) state the industry position that DRM was there to help the consumer and prevent piracy. Which of course it blatently does nothing of the sort. And whilst arguments are framed in these words, working towards a common solution becomes impossible. DRM does nothing to help the consumer – it reduces the value of the content I own, it means it does less than it did before. And the pirates have the time, money and incentive to break DRM with ease, so nothing happening there.

Maybe some of the panellists should have been listening to the keynote chat between Craig Newmark and Jimmy Wales. There was a lot of talk about communities of trust and how most people want and will do the right thing. Studies have indicated that people who download buy the products in greater volumes; give people something that is easy to do, that is felt to be priced right, they want to do the right thing. But remove the trust, push the price, then that will drive people away.

I appreciate Newmark’s philosophy – set up and infranstructure and get out of the way. This came out loud and clear when it came to questions. A number of people wanted to step up and thank Craig for the support post Katrina. His response – they did a couple of things (like set up a Baton Rouge site) but in general, all they did was keep the servers running and get out of the way – the site is user run.

There was some talk about the policing and service methods on both Craigslist and Wikipedia. There are always bad apples, but the number them have not necessarily increased as the sites have become more popular, despite the number of journalists ringing up to wanting to build that story. The percentage has decreased as more ‘good’ people come on board. Working closely with ISPs help, which is one of the few impacts the eBay share buy has had – access to a team of people who do nothing but talk and work with ISPs to police the sites.

And the source of arguments and flame wars between groups is similar on both sites. It’s not necessarily driven by politics, but is between reasonable people and jerks, which exist in all parts of the spectrum. However, the pet fanatics seem to take up a lot of customer service time on both sites!

Inthe afternoon I went along to the ‘selling big ideas t big clients’, at least for a while. It was more like a run through of the agency successes instead of insights into the process – and I’ve been to far too many agency pitches. The last session of the day was packed – on what people are doing onthe web, and it had good potential, but turned more into a run down of numbers(difficult to do in 10 mins) and questions about techniques. Hopefully the presenations will be put up somewhere on the web as there appears to be soem good comparisons between the SXSW audience and the general population which display the gap between the people who talk about the web and what people generally do.

One more day of interactive to go!

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