Now “Disaster Girl” really has something to smirk about.
The face of the beloved meme — which features a young girl smiling slyly into a camera as a house burns down behind her — has sold a non-fungible token (NFT) of her original image for almost half a million dollars.
Zoe Roth was four when her amateur photographer father took the iconic picture (which featured local firefighters putting out a planned, controlled fire) in January 2005 and entered it into JPG magazine’s “Emotion Capture” contest. The pic was also posted online on JPG’s website as part of the prize, where it has since entered internet infamy as one of social media’s most recurring memes.
But even though young Roth’s face became a Photoshop favorite, and her image was shared around the world, the family didn’t have a real means to monetize that — until now.
Related: The ‘David After Dentist’ kid is selling an NFT — and bids have hit more than $10,500
Roth, now 21, is a senior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She told the Raleigh News & Observer that someone emailed her recently suggesting that she try to take control of her image by selling it as an NFT, with a potential profit of six figures. At first she thought, “There’s no way,” she told the paper.
But she and her dad did their research, including chatting with other viral meme subjects like “Overly Attached Girlfriend” Laina Morris and gawky school picture subject “Bad Luck Brian,” aka Kyle Craven. And they hired a lawyer and a manager to help them handle the logistics of uploading the file and “minting” the NFT. (A refresher: a non-fungible token is a certificate of ownership for a digital asset that is unique and are not meant to serve as a means of exchange.)
Related: What is an NFT? A Beeple NFT just sold on Christie’s for nearly $70 million, highlighting craze for cryptos
Read more: ‘What the hell’s an NFT?’ — ‘SNL’ explains in an amazing rap parody
Long story short, they listed the “Disaster Girl” token on April 16 for a 24-hour auction. Roth expected it to sell for 100 Ether, which is a cryptocurrency recorded on the blockchain Ethereum that equals about $2,200 per unit, on average. By the time the auction was over, a user named @3fmusic had purchased the token for 180 Ether — worth about $430,000 at the time, and valued at more than $470,000 as of presstime. (It should be noted that Ether’s value is volatile and can fluctuate by the minute.)
Roth and her dad didn’t just bank big bucks on the original sale of their token. By minting the NFT, they have also coded it so that anytime the NFT is bought, they receive 10% of the sale.
“Being able to sell it just shows us that we do have some sort of control, some sort of agency in the whole process,” said Roth.
Some other recent headline-making NFT transactions include Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s first tweet selling for $2.9 million; Kings of Leon releasing an NFT-only album for more than $2 million; and a 10-second digital collage that took 13 years to make selling for $69 million at auction.
And on Tuesday, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors became the first major professional sports team to sell its own non-fungible tokens.
Here's what to know.
Nicole Lyn Pesce is a social media reporter at MarketWatch and is based in New York.
Instagram launches Badges and IGTV ads to help influencers make more money – Evening Standard
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Making money on Instagram just became that little bit easier for influencers
nfluencers are having a tough time of it at the moment.
Research by digital agency Attain found that social media creators are losing 33 per cent of potential earnings during the coronavirus pandemic.
To keep them going, Instagram has announced new monetisation features on the platform so creators can continue to make money in lockdown.
One new monetisation tool is Badges in Live, which is sort of like a Patreon tool by the sounds of things. There’s been a 70 per cent increase in views on Lives between February and March as the virus started to spread across the world. Using the new Badges feature, in the same way that Instagram users have been able to donate to charities through stickers on Instagram Live, they will now be able to donate to a specific influencer.
Instagram says this feature will allow creators to generate income from the content they’re already creating. Badges will appear next to a person’s name during a live video.
There’s also an incentive for fans to pay aside from just supporting their favourite influencer: followers who purchase badges will stand out in the comments and unlock additional features, such as access to a special heart and placement on a creator’s list of badge holders.
The platform will start testing Badges next month, before expanding it to countries including the US, UK and France in the next few months.
There’s also the introduction of IGTV ads. When IGTV launched two years ago as a long-form video section in the app, it was only a matter of time before Instagram introduced ads, following in the footsteps of the likes of YouTube.
The platform says the ads will be about 15 seconds long and initially appear when you click to watch a video from a preview in the normal feed. However, this may change as Instagram tests the functionality, such as the ability to skip an ad. Creators will receive a share of the ad revenue.
“These updates are a step forward in giving creators ways to earn money and grow their business. As we test and gather feedback, we’ll find more ways to support creators on Instagram,” said the company in a statement.
YouTuber and all-round social media star Ben Phillips thinks these features are long overdue. “[Instagram is] way behind other social platforms like YouTube and Facebook. However, it’s here at a crucial time when brand spend is down, creators are struggling and seeking new opportunities — it will be a game-changer for so many stars using the platform,” he tells the Standard.
This could also be a move for Instagram to ensure its top creators don’t leave for other platforms, such as TikTok which has exploded in popularity over the past 18 months.
“If these social media platforms hope to keep top creators on their platforms, they have to help them with one thing, making money. Being an internet star is now a full time career and if its stars aren’t getting the support they need, they will eventually leave the platform and move onto others that do,” he added.
Tom Peters, head of influencer marketing at Social Chain, thinks the new tools are also a way for the platform to push creators to use things like IGTV.
“Before now, there hasn’t been much reason for creators to use IGTV. Instagram influencers put a lot of effort into their content — their feeds are heavily curated and they’ve been rewarded previously with lucrative brand partnerships,” Peters told the Standard.
“Announcing this now is great timing for Instagram and creators; Covid-19 has meant a number of influencers have lost partnerships as brands protect their bottom line. There is also the reduction in offline events and content opportunities and they’re looking for new ways to fill that gap. Coupled with the fact that TikTok is making huge strides in supporting content creators and attracting talent from other channels with early adopter opportunities to grow audiences on that platform, this will be a way to encourage those creators to consider IGTV.”
YouTube will pay $100 million to creators using its TikTok competitor – The Verge
The simplest way to attract creators
YouTube plans to pay $100 million to creators who use YouTube Shorts, its TikTok competitor, throughout the next year. The goal is to encourage creators to pick up and continually post to its new service, which doesn’t otherwise give creators a built-in way to make money.
Exactly how much creators can earn is still up in the air. YouTube says that it’ll reach out to creators on a monthly basis, looking for people with the most engagement and views. “Thousands” of creators could get paid each month, YouTube says, and basically anyone who posts to Shorts is eligible. The one caveat is that their videos have to be original content, and, of course, abide by YouTube’s community guidelines.
YouTube started launching Shorts in the US in March. The short videos appear in YouTube’s mobile app and, just like TikTok (or Instagram Reels or Snapchat Spotlight), you can swipe from one to the next in an endless full-screen feed.
Other companies have taken the same approach to encouraging creators to stick with their platform. TikTok launched a $200 million creators fund in July 2020, and Snapchat paid out $1 million per day for a period of time after its TikTok competitor, Spotlight, launched in November 2020.
Payments will be available in the US and India — the two regions Shorts has launched — to start, but YouTube plans to expand its availability as it rolls out the service to more regions. There’s no specific date yet for when YouTube will start offering payments. YouTube says the fund will last from its start this year through some point in 2022.
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Why are we tracked online and should we worry? – Free Malaysia Today
PETALING JAYA: The world is more connected than ever, and that’s in large part due to the rapid evolution of the internet.
While this has brought about services that have become nearly essential to our lives like e-commerce, streaming, and social media, it also means that we all leave a larger digital footprint than ever before which companies can take advantage of.
With this in mind, FMT asked an expert why companies track you, if you should be worried and what you can do if you want to minimise how much information they collect.
SL Rajesh of the International Association for Counter-Terrorism and Security Professionals knows the importance of cybersecurity as well as anyone and understands why being tracked or having one’s data captured can be a matter of great concern.
However, he said there was little to worry about in the vast majority of cases.
“Ultimately, these companies want to make money, and doing nefarious things with your information is not the best way to do that,” he told FMT.
“Companies generally want to gather data because they can monetise the information. A company like Google, for example, will have all this data about its users, which perhaps a clothing shop would be interested in accessing so it can target its marketing strategy to specific customers it’s looking to capture.”
How it happens
The connected world we live in gives our devices unprecedented insights into our routines and interests, which can then be leveraged.
Rajesh said: “Let’s say you click on a random advert for BMW. Now, whichever company is tracking you knows you have an interest in BMWs. It can also assume you are in the income bracket that allows you to afford that sort of car and will advertise other products that other people in your income group tend to look for, like watches and jewellery.
“Same thing if you go to a certain shop often. Because your phone has GPS, companies will be able to see that you tend to go to the same Thai restaurant in Ampang and might start suggesting other Thai restaurants or other eateries in that same area since it knows you’re there often and like that sort of food.”
His clients often complain to him that they suspect their phones are listening to them because they get ads for things they have never looked for online but only spoken about, but he said this was highly unlikely.
“You think these companies have nothing better to do?” he said with a laugh. “Billions of users, and you think they want to listen to your conversation with a friend? It’s more likely you don’t remember looking an item up or somebody you knew searched for it instead and advertisers were able to assume you’d have interest in a product based on those other factors.”
He said it was worth practising good “tech hygiene” online even if most instances of data tracking were not malicious.
“The worry is when you are being tracked by less reputable companies. Google or Facebook (now Meta) would have no interest in doing criminal things with your data, but make sure you aren’t visiting unsafe sites.”
Certain websites display a padlock symbol next to the URL, which indicates a secure site. “So be more careful if a site doesn’t have that,” Rajesh said.
“Also don’t give away your personal information if you have doubts about the site. Don’t click on suspicious links or adverts.
“Just be aware of the risks of being online.”
When you finish browsing, it’s also a good idea to clear your cookies, which are small packets of information a website uploads to your browser to help identify you in future.
If you’ve ever revisited a site to find you’re still logged in, that’s because the site has identified that you already have an account with it. It recognises the cookie from your last session.
Advertisers can also place cookies on a site with the operator’s permission, again, to gather user data for better targeting.
Rajesh said clearing cookies was a simple step worth taking “if it gives you peace of mind”.
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