To Whom It May Concern,
The DLive company has a very serious corporate crisis on its hands. I am a crisis management specialist, and an advocate of both free speech and cryptocurrency, and I would like to offer some advice which, based on your recent series of decisions, you are in desperate need of.
Your company has recently engaged in a series of high profile bans of what I estimate amounts to eliminating at least 85% of your total traffic, and I would imagine even a larger percentage of your total revenue. These decisions were very ill advised, but despite that, your company remains in a situation where it could end up becoming exponentially more profitable than it was before these bans.
There is No Long Term Ability for DLive to Retain a Payment Processor That Processes Visa and Mastercard
As I understand it, the series of bans DLive issued were issued after threats from the company’s payment processor to cut ties with you. I understand this kind of reactionary action, but I cannot stress enough that it was a very, very poor decision, which is going to make your company nonviable.
Firstly, it needs to be understood that after what happened with the streamer known as Baked Alaska (Tim Gionet) streaming the January 6 riot at the US Capitol on your platform, you are not going to be able to continue to process credit cards in the future, regardless of how many people you ban. When the media gets around to dealing with the Baked Alaska situation, DLive will be implicated not legally, but by the media, which is the main driver of the ongoing program of “deplatforming” politically incorrect speech.
Further, it won’t simply be a payment processor issue, but rather Mastercard and Visa that are going to ban you, as they recently did to PornHub. Because of the standard they set with PornHub, they can now just do this arbitrarily. Any competent lawyer can tell you that if a company the size of PornHub is incapable of fighting this ban, DLive has no chance.
It should be further understood, though it has not yet been admitted in clear language, that there is a program of collusion between the major social media companies, the backbone operating services, and the mainstream media. This conflict of interests is trivially deduced by simply noticing that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owns Twitch, the biggest streaming platform in the world, Amazon Web Services (AWS), the biggest web services company in the world (aside from Tencent), and the Washington Post, which is arguably the most influential news publication in America. There is a clear agenda to remove all alternatives to the major platforms (YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Google and Twitter) from the Western internet, which would mean that even if DLive were to have never hosted any political content at all, it would be under fire.
This is to say: if DLive were ever to compete directly with Bezos’ Twitch platform, then we would start seeing articles in Bezos’ Washington Post about “the DLive problem.” If they could not tie you to someone like Baked Alaska, then it would be someone else, or they would simply invent a reason to attack you out of thin air. This would then lead to the major social media platforms running defamation campaigns against you. Despite claims to the contrary by various media and government entities, the United States does not actually operate a free market system, in any serious or legitimate sense. This situation of centralized economic control, and the abuses thereof, has been greatly heightened during the coronavirus pandemic, and is only expected to continue to get worse, with mega-corporations continuing to force their smaller competitors out of the market.
This means that banning all of these people gains you nothing. It was definitely the right move to ban Baked Alaska, as he’d streamed himself committing a crime on your platform, and you should maintain a zero tolerance policy for streaming criminal behavior. However, the rest of the bans, including those of Nick Fuentes and Ethan Ralph, among many others, make no sense given the dynamics of this situation.
In the wake of the events of January 6, there is a massive program of deplatforming taking place across the internet, which is as focused on financial services as it is on internet platforms. This includes not only bans from PayPal, from credit card processors, and from personal bank accounts, but also blacklisting by the Visa/Mastercard duopoly, as mentioned above. The people who are being subjected to this are not simply going to disappear. These people are going to be forced to move into cryptocurrency, where they are largely protected from the ability of politicized corporations to arbitrarily freeze their ability to engage in monetary transactions based on their real or perceived political positions. DLive is already cryptocurrency enabled, meaning your company has a major advantage against your direct competitors already.
In the near future, all of the existing streaming platforms which are not named “YouTube” or “Twitch,” along with all of the other genres of alternative social media platforms, are going to be blacklisted by Visa and Mastercard, as well as be subjected to an endless series of prohibitions against using basic internet services. We recently witnessed that exact scenario when the Twitter alternative Parler was banned by Amazon Web Services after being banned from both the Google and Apple app stores.
DLive’s biggest advantage, however, is that given that your CEO and majority stakeholders are, as I understand it, Chinese citizens, you have access to Tencent services that citizens of other countries do not have. These services will give DLive the ability to stay online, virtually effortlessly, while services like Parler are locked in a constant struggle to simply keep their servers up. It should also be noted that the world’s largest CDN, Cloudflare, has as back as far as 2017 shown a willingness to deny service to customers based purely on artificially manufactured political outrage from social media personalities. Tencent, as I’m sure you’re aware, also has its own very affordable and very reliable CDN services.
To be clear: Tencent either does not provide these services to non-Chinese citizens, or they provide limited access to the services at a drastically inflated rate. Right now, I can guarantee you that the owners of Parler, Gab, and the rest of the sites that are being attacked by the media are attempting to access these services, due to their general refusal to refuse service based on politics. However, they are unlikely to experience much success in this regard, due to the fact that they are not Chinese citizens.
This is my core proposition: DLive currently has the opportunity to become a streaming and social media powerhouse, that functions exclusively on cryptocurrency. This way, DLive will not only maintain the audience that it had before the events of January 6, but expand it exponentially, while the venues at which Americans and other Westerners are allowed to speak freely continue to dwindle. Users will continue to pay for your services in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, as well as get involved in Tron, which, as I understand it, the owners of DLive have a large stake in.
Free Speech is Big Business
It is not simply those doing politically-oriented news shows that are being banned from streaming sites and other social media, but in fact, a large portion of the gaming community is suffering a similar fate.
This deplatforming is going to go both deep and wide. Even before the events of January 6, we saw popular YouTube gamers, such as LeafyIsHere, banned from YouTube for no clearly stated reason. Meanwhile, Twitch’s Terms of Service is virtually unworkable, and they have already begun mass bannings.
We are seeing a mass exodus from the mainstream platforms by all types of people, who are not considered politically incorrect, simply because the mainstream platforms have gone so far with their censorship agenda. Currently, these people have nowhere to go, but we can be certain they will go somewhere. If I had a stake in DLive, I would want DLive to be the place they end up.
People are willing to pay a premium for free speech and that premium is going up as the levels of free speech on the internet go down, as the United States and European governments become more erratic and unstable. There is a lot of money to be made here. The bottom line is: if you follow a path of being a free speech and cryptocurrency oriented streaming and social media platform, your userbase will expand rapidly, and profits will follow this expansion. If you follow this simple course of action I am suggesting, I can guarantee that your userbase will be more than a hundred times what it was on January 6, 2021 by January 6, 2022, and I would not be surprised in the least if you see a one thousand fold increase in users.
Yes, you are going to make less money per view without the use of Mastercard and Visa, but this will be more than compensated for by the increase in viewership.
At this point, from what I have been able to gather, you have already banned all of your top earners, which means that you have very little to lose by embracing a new direction.
Rebuilding Faith in Your Brand
Though it is sad to say, it must be said: you’ve lost a lot of good faith by banning all of these users in the days following the events of January 6. Without them, your platform is a ghost town, and largely useless. If your Terms of Service is the same as Twitch’s, why would people not just stream on Twitch, where they will make more money and gain a larger audience?
As an experienced crisis management expert, I would advise you take the following actions:
- Immediately issue an apology to those you’ve banned, and to your userbase as a whole.
- Immediately rescind the bans of everyone who has been banned since January 6 (excluding Baked Alaska and anyone else who may have streamed themselves committing a crime).
- Immediately cut ties with your current payment processor.
- Immediately announce that you will now allow all speech that is legal under the First Amendment of the United State, excluding calls to violence, calls to organize political events, and negative or defamatory statements against the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party, or the leadership thereof. (I would also maintain the ban on pornography, though continue to allow some of the more “racy” female streamers who have been banned from Twitch, as long as they agree to a no nudity policy.)
- Immediately issue a new Terms of Service, which reflects these positions, and issue a promise (ensure that it isn’t legally binding, but a promise nonetheless) to honor these guidelines to the best of your ability.
From there, you would begin the process of using creative means to compel people to get involved in cryptocurrency, which they can then use to pay you for your services. Clearly, the superchat system you’ve created is very popular with users, and many will want to get involved in cryptocurrency simply for the purpose of using this system. However, I would also advise that you find other ways to incentivize the usage of crypto to purchase lemons, for the purpose of using your services.
You may consider:
- Limiting the number of comments a user is allowed to make without first purchasing a premium account using your cryptocurrency payment systems
- Encouraging or compelling popular streamers to do “private streams” which are only viewable by members who have already made a cryptocurrency payment to the site
- Providing other rewards, such as special stickers or emojis to paying customers
The biggest hurdle is simply getting people into the habit of using cryptocurrency – once they have jumped that hurdle, they will be happy to pay you using this system. You can also promote channels which explain cryptocurrency.
It should also be noted that marketing DLive as the first fully crypto social media site will gain you favor from the large crypto community. The crypto community on YouTube has a huge following, and if you are branded as a crypto-based company, many creators of cryptocurrency-related content would be inclined to move to your platform, meaning that it would not simply be a place for political speech.
Finally, I wish to say that this letter is not an advertisement for my services, and in fact I am not currently available to take on any new clients. I write this simply as a Singaporean-Canadian who grew up on the internet, loving the freedom that I had to been exposed to, as well as a longtime fan of your service and of many of the streamers who were banned from DLive in the days since January 6.
This is a time of crisis not simply for DLive, but for all internet-based companies that are not aligned with the large corporations that have conquered the Western web, and the decisions that DLive makes about its future are going to be complicated and have complicated consequences, whichever direction the company chooses to move in. I simply wanted to offer some direct and honest personal advice on the very unfortunate situation you are currently dealing with.
Public Relations and Crisis Management Consultant, Director
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
January 18, 2021