Things to Fix on the Web Part 2 – Location

Half the random videos that see posted are on Youtube (which is fine) and the other half seem to be from either Hulu, The Daily Show or Comedy Central. If you go to the former, you get a page which is then eclipsed by a big ass popup saying basically “you’re not in the US, sucks to be you”. The latter will redirect you to the Canadian site for the Comedy Network, but not if someone posts a video…. if I view one of those I get a 3 second clip telling me “you’re not in the US, sucks to be you (and go to the comedy network Canadian site)”.

This is stupid.

This is really stupid.

Being that 80% of the programming I watch on TV every night is from the US, with no such restrictions, half the rest of the media I watch/view/read is from the US, why the hell does this affect me watching embedded videos in my news feeds?

This is yet another thing I’d love to see go away, and another thing that in 5-10 years just go away. In 2015 I see no reason why things like geography should matter. The point of the Internet was a global network, unrestricted by borders or lines on a political map.

Well, that’s my idea of the Internet anyway. Seriously, string a network cable from Abbotsford, BC a couple of kilometers south to Sumas, WA, and your bits and bytes will flow as easily and unrestricted as they would from Mission, BC to Abbotsford, BC, or from Wala Wala, WA to Riverside, OR. Companies and service providers go to great length, and no doubt cost, to ensure that their content is restricted to only certain countries that they choose, by looking up the IP of the requesting user. Stupid, stupid stupid, and easily circumvented, if you care enough. There are a ton of open proxy servers you can use to get Hulu content (for example), from Canada, Iraq, or Norway if you so choose.

I look at this two ways… if there are two competing companies (ie: Comedy Central (US) and The Comedy Network (CA)), and one country isn’t allowed to see the others warez, then you’re diluting the brand. Also you’re pissing off users. What possible differences between the two sites is going to be so huge that it’d scar the delicate eyes of Canadian viewers?

Secondly, well, I forget my second point, I was probably going to re-iterate again how dumb it is. If people could just get along, this would all go away….

You can read Part 1 – Downloads as well.

2 Comments on “Things to Fix on the Web Part 2 – Location”

  1. This isn’t really a technology problem – it’s a legacy operations problem, where companies treat “over the air” broadcast rights differently from “over the tubes” rights. The really frakked up thing is that Comedy Central and The Comedy Network are basically the same network; CTV owns the Canadian broadcast rights to Comedy Central’s entire library of shows.
    And frankly, they don’t care about users, they care about advertising dollars. Advertisers are paying for American viewers, so if the broadcaster is pissing off non-American users trying to access the server, it’s no skin off their back. However, if they’re poaching viewers from a Canadian network that’s relying on advertisers who want Canadian eyes, then there’s a problem (between the two networks).

  2. Oh absolutely it’s not a technology problem, in fact, technology alone gives the “tubes go everywhere” answer by default. I just hope this is “fixed” soon, either by people removing the geo-ip technology, or everyone accepting a browser that transparently proxies or TORs through it and makes the tech that divides the internet into regions obsolete!