Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The seventeenth minute of the "Girls" video - GoldieBlox's so-called "apology" - and its estimated revenue

As I just noted, GoldieBlox has pulled the "Girls" parody video (actually they just made it private), and replaced it with a video with different audio.

According to the New York Daily News, GoldieBlox "caved to the Beastie Boys."

I'm not so sure.

Normally when party A apologizes to party B, party A says they're sorry, and doesn't dredge up old issues with party B.

But take a look at GoldieBlox's letter to "Adam and Mike". The following is sprinkled through the "apology."

When we made our parody version of your song, ‘Girls’, we did it with the best of intentions. We wanted to take a song we weren’t too proud of, and transform it into a powerful anthem for girls....

Our hearts sank last week when your lawyers called us with threats that we took very seriously. As a small company, we had no choice but to stand up for ourselves....

We want you to know that when we posted the video, we were completely unaware that the late, great Adam Yauch had requested in his will that the Beastie Boys songs never be used in advertising. Although we believe our parody video falls under fair use, we would like to respect his wishes and yours....

[W]e are ready to stop the lawsuit as long as this means we will no longer be under threat from your legal team.

Some people would claim that I've quoted selective portions of the letter. Actually, the "selective" portions are the majority of the letter.

While the letter begins with the statement "we don't want to fight with you," GoldieBlox carries on the fight. We took your sexist song and made it into something worthwhile, but then your lawyers threatened us, and how were we supposed to know Adam Yauch's position on using Beastie Boys songs for commercial gain? We have the right to post this video, but we've withdrawn it, and now you'd better promise not to sue us.

Some apology.

Oh, and there's one more thing that Todd Wasserman calculated. For the period of time that the original video was on YouTube, Google ads were displaying next to and within the viral video - and GoldieBlox was earning money from those ads.

Before the company pulled the first version of the ad, it had racked up 9 million views. While it's hard to say what the value is of such a viral video, a back-of-the-envelope calculation based on ad revenues from the song Gangnam Style (about $1.7 million for 1 billion views) reveals that the figure is around $156,000.

Assuming a similar arrangement (with Google getting about half the ad dollars), GoldieBlox should make about $78,000 in ad revenues from the viral ad.

Even if Wasserman's estimate is high, that's not the only revenue that GoldieBlox received. Let's say that the GoldieBlox people, all big Beastie Boys fans, HAD respected Yauch's dying wish and had NOT created the video. Yes, the video would have received some views because of the Rube Goldberg stuff, but it probably wouldn't have received 9 million views.

I have no way of knowing how many product sales resulted from those 9 million views - the so-called "like economy" doesn't necessarily translate to real dollars. But GoldieBlox certainly got a bump in sales.

And, of course, there are those sales that will occur BECAUSE the video was "suppressed." Assuming that GoldieBlox and the various parties (the Beastie Boys and the various record and production companies) can come to an agreement, the next task for everyone involved will be to track down all remaining copies of the video and slap a DMCA warning on them. GoldieBlox will claim that the Beastie Boys are doing this. The Beastie Boys will claim that the record company is doing this. And interest will heighten in the product that is being suppressed.

I don't understand why girls would want to grow up and become engineers. It's obvious that it's much better to be a viral marketer.

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