Twitch does what ever it wants, policy and partner status be damned.

Twitch announced that Ultra Music was going to be streaming a biggun live event with them. It’s a big deal. I want to listen to every single thing that comes out of that show.

But then there’s the trailer posted to the blog post that just sort of flies in the face of the Twitch moral code.

I decided to be a little silly and post the link to the tweet in a reply to the Twitch official blog:

Will the next post be an addendum to the ToS that reads “official partners can break all of the rules because ~reasons~” or something like that?

Then I got this reply:

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 10.39.03 AM

And so I decided to elaborate:

It’s not a question of “are all the important bodily parts covered” it’s more to do with an ill conceived moralistic clause that is hurting more than it helps. Ferg goes into detail about the shortcomings of the Twitch policy than I do and I think that deserves a legit read.

I’m not a lawyer or claim to have ~the answer~ or anything like that (I don’t have an objection to Ultra’s content here, either, because I’m not a fucking moron), but I think the whole situation is two simpler situations:

First, by ignoring the actions of a partner–which I’m assuming is the case because why else would Twitch assign a staffer to write up a blog post to promote something massive like Ultra Music deciding to make Twitch its broadcasting platform–it begs the question: why would Twitch take down the pool party stream if they’re going to let a glorified yet well-produced pool party stream from a partner take its place?

Secondly, if Twitch was focused on growing its business with the music industry, they would have rewritten their obscenities clause in their Rules of Conduct (arguably alternatively titled “Twitch’s sole judgement”) after the pool party beer pong stream. If

If it’s unbearably hot where you are, and you happen to have your shirt off (guys) or a bikini top (girls), then just crop the webcam to your face. Problem solved. We sell t-shirts, and those are always acceptable. #Kappa

is their policy towards suggestive clothing or lack of it, is that policy not begging for a more professional treatment?

It’s not as if the management at Twitch have ever been in this situation before at, say, another live streaming service where the focus was on watching people when video gamers started taking over, prompting them to spin off the network into its own niche broadcasting network to escape legal terms and guidelines written for an entirely different type of broadcaster—WAIT A MINUTE, HERE. I SWEAR THAT’S HAPPENED BEFORE. COULD IT HAPPEN AGAIN? WE’LL SOON FIND OUT

But I dunno, maybe I’m just nitpicking because it seems like an obvious oversight to me. Maybe I’m wrong. The policy still needs clarifications a-plenty.

On Twitch becoming an Amazon property.

Who’d have thought that Monday would see so much Twitch acquisition news? And in that case, an announcement of an acquisition?

For nearly a billion USD, Amazon has picked up one of the highest trafficked sites on the Internet. It seems like a discount for service that serves a video to millions of users every day.1 The proposition’s value compounds considering the high audience events shown on a near-daily basis. With the ever-increasing number of ongoing events such as Riot’s LCS drawing hundreds of thousands of viewers per broadcast, it makes sense that Amazon would want a part in this.

Then there’s the news that Amazon’s new ad service would be pricing its ads on metrics like impressions instead of clicks. Most social networks use the impressions metric when it comes to displaying ads to their users.2

Later in the day of the announcement executives from Amazon and Twitch went on to a live town hall to explain the acquisition in detail. While Twitch’s CEO stayed on message, the Amazon executive shared why the company moved forward with the bid.3

To me, there are two major points that stand out about this acquisition.

The first is that this decision seems to be a business-minded decision on Twitch’s side. Any sort of acquisition—as long as it was in cash—would allow Twitch’s to continue with its current plans. I don’t think that Twitch had financial issues prompting it to find a buyer. I think part of their long-term plan included an acquisition or a large cash infusion. I also think that going public would not have been the right move for Twitch. Due to the current economic climate, the stock market would’ve more than likely eaten Twitch alive.

The second point is that I think expanding the customer base for the ad service was a goal. With Amazon as the parent company along with their new ad service, the acquisition becomes more of a perfect union of sorts. Amazon is looking to plant its new ad service into uncharted territory and Twitch is looking for more ad buyers. The acquisition will give Amazon practical data for their ad service. Before this acquisition, they’ve been allowing users to use Google’s AdSense service. Rest assured, that won’t be the case in the future.

My main reservation? Amazon’s hamstringing of Comixology after acquisition.

Before the announcement, I joked that if the Amazon deal went through that it would mean the end of support for Twitch’s apps. These apps, which are on consoles and platforms like the Xbox 360, the Xbox One, and iOS, are solid performers. Under Amazon leadership, Comixology, a widely heralded comics storefront for mobile devices, notably deviated from native iOS purchasing after being acquired earlier this year, upsetting a lot of users by complicating the purchase process.4

Nowhere in the statements released regarding that purchase mentioned anything about Comixology maintaining independence, though. As for Twitch, Amazon Games VP Michael Frazzini said that Twitch will remain independent in a town hall broadcast the day of the announcement. Regardless, I still think that support for apps on platforms like Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Xbox is vulnerable. At the same time, I think customers that use Android-based devices like the Kindle Fire have nothing to fear.

It’s too early to forecast the success of the deal, but I believe within the next year there will be results with which to reach a conclusion. If Amazon reports revenues from its ad service as part of quarterly reports it may be a little bit easier to infer success. If not, observers can only rely on the circlejerk of personalities and salespeople to gauge reaction… and those folks aren’t always reliable.

Twitch had to do it… for some reason.

Ars Technica’s Ron Amadeo made a post two days ago concluding what I just realized last night about the latest Twitch controversy. His post explains the entirety of the situation that Twitch is now in, but this block of speculation at the end feels like it has some weight to it. 1

I don’t see a company prepping for a Google takeover, I see panic. Panic and a lack of understanding of what it should be doing. I think Google would want to keep all the old data instead of deleting it and enforce the DMCA on existing videos by processing takedown requests as they come in, which is all the law requires.

Why is Twitch doing this? Who the hell thinks any of this is a good idea? I think if Google was behind these changes you would see a much more organised and experienced transition. Part of me thinks the Google deal fell through or something and this is Twitch’s attempt to tighten down costs and try to stand on its own.

It’s just weird that all of a sudden there are all these changes over at Twitch and all of them seem to be misguided, harmful to the service, and don’t really solve any of Twitch’s problems.

I would imagine that the PR folks over at Twitch have been on crisis mode for a few days now.

I just don’t understand why they would proceed with a filtering system now. Why not just wait until the Google acquisition goes through? Does Twitch’s value increase by adding a copyright-abuse sniffer system? It doesn’t make sense.