Interesting email from Lucy B:
Admittedly this has nothing much to do with music I'm afraid, but it is about the way some of the biggest entertainment websites show the same ruthless imperial tendencies as the giant corporate behemoths of the 'old days'.
The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) was, and mostly still is, a huge free information resource about movies and TV which is much loved by its users.
But lo, what happens all of a sudden if you try and 'register' on the IMDB so that you can post messages to its apparently free and independent messageboard? It turns out 'registering' is only a first step which gives you no useful access rights whatsoever. In order to register in the sense of being able to post messages, you have to either give your amazon user account details (eh?) or provide a credit card number (what????) so that the IMDB can 'verify' your account.
I presume this means 'verify' in the sense of 'either force IMDB's users to sign up for Amazon accounts or make them give financial details over the internet, all for a service which is supposed to be free' which is a usage of the word I hadn't come across before.
Where's the need to 'verify' people anyway? This isn't Ebay and the IMDB's users want to write ill-spelt messages about who they think should have played Captain Kirk in the new Star Trek, not sell knocked-off Ipods to each other.
I'm saddened by all this - suddenly the IMDB, which was such a democratic and spirited entity, has become a front for something altogether more commercial. I'm even saddened by Amazon, which I previously had thought was astute, but not underhand.
What's perhaps even more galling is that, even if you do hand over this information, your "registered" account will still see you stuck with what Amazon call a "posting quota" but is actually an enforced delay between posts of anything up to a couple of minutes. If you want no quota at all... well, you can hand over some cash for a 'pro' account.