divert and conquer


"Liberal guilt" is a term that's gone out of fashion but it's weirdly intertwined with the Silicon Valley brand of paternalism. Witness the endless parade of Others on the search page of a company that, according to Fortune, "still hasn't fixed its diversity problem" in actual hiring.
The image above, from a few days ago, depicts baseball great Roberto Clemente as seen by uncredited artist Roxie Vizcarra. (Subject and artist are never written on the page -- you have to click somewhere to find this info.)
Vizcarra renders Clemente in a generic "clip art" style, transforming him from determined sports competitor to slightly vacant pretty boy. Like many of this company's illustrations it seems oblivious to human anatomy and perspective illusionism. The batting arm, for example, appears unnaturally twisted and lifeless. Clemente stares off in the distance, presumably looking at a high pop fly he just hit -- but appears stupefied rather than focused. In fact, the baseball seems to have sailed past him and landed in a pair of... severed hands. Is that a heart-shape on the ball stitching?
The map of Puerto Rico, Clemente's home island, appears to have been conquered by the sponsoring company, which has appropriated the territory's flag.
The blue molecule next to Clemente's elbow does not mean he is also a nuclear scientist. That's the "share" icon.

corporate ownership of meme sites (update)

A previous post pondered the provenance of eBaum's WORLD and Cheezburger. Who owns them exactly, and what is the chain of possession from previous owners?

So is Viumbe a Literally subsidiary? Is eBaum in transition between owners with dated website info? Or is Literally the "old" owner? Inquiring meme ghouls want to know.

Thanks to polyaenus for emailing with some additional research. The text below is quoted in full from the email:

First, looking at the Viumbe site, it seems quite dead.
It lists three sites in its media kit pdf and two of them redirect to Ebaumsworld.
@celebremix stopped tweeting in 2012 and @viumbe in 2013.
The sales contact listed in the media kit seems to work somewhere else now.

However, the Ebaumsworld and Cheezburger twitters are still active, run by "EiC" @colbydroscher.

Ebaumsworld was acquired by Handheld Entertainment Inc (ZVUE) in 2007. [link]

Interestingly, Handheld was run by Google cofounder Larry Page's brother.
At first his company made a video/mp3 player called ZVUE, trying to compete with Apple's iPod.


I guess this didn't work and they tried to pivot into online media. [link]

Before they made the big purchase of Ebaumsworld, they ran some other sites:
"It offers content through YourDailyMedia.com, FunMansion.com, Putfile.com, Dorks.com, ZVUE.com, and UnOriginal.co.uk Web sites" [link]

ZVUE was eventually suspended from trading in 2014. [link]

I'm not sure how Viumbe got ZVUE's assets but this says it was formed in 2009. [link]

Viumbe "relaunched" Ebaumsworld in 2012. [link]

Viumbe was sold to JoBookit Holdings Limited in 2014 for $2.5 million according to this lawsuit. [link]

"Jobookit develops game changing concepts and dynamic technologies to optimize and ultimately simplify the world of online recruitment."
not sure what that has to do with a meme site.

This guy [twitter] is listed as both the CEO of Jobookit and the Co-owner of Viumbe until it was acquired by Literally Media in 2017. [link]

Literally (founded 2015) acquired Cheezburger in 2016
(look at that fucking url lol)

One weird thing is that according to the above link, Cheezburger "joins" Ebaumsworld as being part of Literally Media, in 2016. Yet Filstein's own site and LinkedIn says Literally bought Viumbe in 2017. Confusing.

one last link i found from a bitter content farmer...

corporate ownership of meme sites

Like the blogosphere, meme sites are a legacy of the previous decade that were essentially eclipsed by the big corporate "social" silos. In other words, you could experience the meme on "social" without having to go to an originator, or originating aggregator. So the meme sites lost momentum as destinations. (This wasn't the only reason: add uniform boring corporate redesigns and simple exhaustion of the original target audience.) In any case, it makes sense that these old sites would become "properties" that some Silicontrepeneur would try to squeeze "value" from. For the morbidly inclined, the current landscape is confusing, though.

Here, "eBaum's WORLD" is listed as a portfolio company of Literally media:


What, no funnyjunk or somethingawful?

Clicking the first Literally link takes you to eBaum's WORLD, which shows another company, Viumbe LLC, as owner:


The Viumbe page lists eBaum as a property:


So is Viumbe a Literally subsidiary? Is eBaum in transition between owners with dated website info? Or is Literally the "old" owner? Inquiring meme ghouls want to know.

Update: A reader emailed with some answers!

sync this

There are two kinds of people in the world: (i) the kind who would want all their logins, passwords, cookies, and browsing history to be transmitted to Google's servers for reasons of "convenience" and (ii) everyone else.
If you fall into (ii) you probably don't care much about the recent flap where Google users are involuntarily "logged in" to their Chrome browsers. (Who knew you could even "log in" to a browser?) This occurs whenever users log into a Google "product" such as gmail. The reason for all this logging in is ostensibly so the users' data can be "synchronized" among the Google servers and all instances of Chrome they might be running.
If you fall into category (i) you are either very concerned about this privacy-shredding dark pattern or, you feel it's simply a matter of Google needing to have better documentation.

amazon vs vpn recap

A reader characterized some recent posts here on Amazon blocking VPNs as "ranting." Just so we're clear, it's actually kind of a hopeful development that Amazon is violating its own "customer convenience is paramount" credo by putting up roadblocks to sign-in: it suggests its business model is challenged by user privacy concerns.
The true rants were aimed at a VPN company that excused its failure to get past the Amazon firewall on the basis of Amazon's need for security. Poor Jeff, everyone should be helping him to be a better monopolist.