Vlare Dies for Real
July 25th, 2021 at 10:00 PM by Kugee
It's over. Vlare has no future. This has been said on multiple instances, but now there is no going back. Some here may still have preconceptions that I'd be devastated by this, but for a number of possibly self-explanatory reasons, I stopped caring about the whole thing.
I'm sure plenty of idiots are still so salty about the fact that I was posting all my videos to Vlare when I did, but make no mistake: this was never about being self-centered. For a whole decade, I had been fed up with YouTube's bullshit, yet was forced to continue tolerating all of it because pretty much all the alternatives were a dead end. I dreamed of getting behind a reliable YouTube alternative for years.
ZippCast was a fucking travesty from the very beginning, and to this day I still can't get its broken English out of my head... like that "Accept Your Friends Request" message. Apparently it reused some code template much like several other 2007 YouTube clones, and it constantly got hacked, purged, and whatever else made it so shitty.
Then came Vidme, which attracted some big names, but had nothing to offer which could make me feel at home. There was nothing good to watch on that site, just more of the same poisonous thumbnails and jackasses talking in front of spiffy backdrops. Wooo! The site shut down at the end of 2017, failing to deliver on its promises. Recently the domain began redirecting to a hardcore adult content website following its prior expiration, so don't even try to visit the site now. Seriously.
The first YouTube alternative I truly believed in was VidLii. Unlike ZippCast, it was much more reliable as an old school YouTube clone, and more importantly, it had actual videos that carried the old school spirit I was looking for! The 240p cap and more strict upload limits were a serious bottleneck for many of my videos previously designed with YouTube's greater flexibility in mind, but the site was so good back in 2017 that I gladly made a special condensed version of Hardcore Microsoft Memphis specifically for VidLii.
If things stayed that way, I would still be posting to VidLii today. Unfortunately, a number of red flags popped up the following year which may very well have been warnings of a pattern to take form. Honestly I don't know the whole story nor have I cared to look into it, but one day I woke up to see that Jan, the site's owner, purged out the entire moderation base, leaving only his friend King Fatty in charge. Guess where that went... Fatty started rebranding the site constantly, and used the site's administrative functions to get everyone to watch his shitty videos about poop and Hitler. Eventually he was booted, but now Jan was the only one in charge of the site. For a video sharing platform, if that's not asking for trouble, I don't know what is.
Gone were the higher quality surreal video creators, now it was all just shitposts and troll cops doing what they do. Another day at the start of 2019, the site was flooding with shock content, and it was absolutely impossible for any of us to control it. We just had to wait out the storm, but by then, I had enough. I stopped posting to VidLii, and packed my bags for Vanillo... sort of.
Though I had gotten Arowana in position for a dual upload to YouTube and Vanillo upon its completion in March, I didn't really end up doing much on Vanillo as I wanted to move away from making videos. At that point, it was only recently that I had to destroy my first Discord server, and I was better off just isolating myself with all that old hardware I racked up. I held the video back for many more months, and while I did end up posting much more simplistic computer recordings starting in May, I don't think any of them ended up on Vanillo.
Then, of course, Vanillo also shut down, which, if I recall correctly, was due to management drama. Seems these alternatives had cannibalistic tendencies... great, another fucking new emerging threat to YouTube gone down the shitter. YouTube was all I had left at that point... that same old video platform that had been going way downhill for a long ass time. Even in 2007, it was already getting really fucking sketchy, and one of these days I'm gonna have to tell you the full story on that.
Welcome to Vlare
So then I hear of a new alternative emerging called Vlare... a site being managed by both Jan and the Vanillo staff. After all the shit that went down before, how could I possibly be convinced to join that site, something that had the worst of both worlds? One of my friends told me it wasn't going to end up the same way, but I wasn't convinced. I turned it down, and probably would've never joined Vlare if not for a number of circumstances.
The first thing that really, really hurt was when I finally unleashed Arowana, after getting all of those complexities I set up for myself out of the way. All that time I spent working on the damn thing would still probably amount to three months when you cut out the plentiful of time I was taking a break from it. All that hard work I put into figuring out how to install eight different versions of Windows over the network, and developing a script in After Effects to get each and every one of my benchmark graphs nicely animated... and even spending TWO WEEKS, if not more, specifically to harvest as many screen captures of old operating systems as possible for a 30 second intro... I knew I had it as close to perfection as I ever did as soon as I exported it.
But what did I end up getting from YouTube in return for all those excruciating hours? FUCKING NOTHING. At best, it was around 20 comments from users already following me, and several hundred immediate views. I thought maybe with well over 10,000 subscribers on hand now, this would be a guaranteed victory. Nope, that's not how YouTube works. Sincerity never gets you anywhere, you have to write an apopleptic commentary for 20 minutes about this one strategy xXPROhjeadSHOTGaming45Xx used to beat Bob in Counter-Strike in Game 4 of the DX7 Biannual Pro Tour Gaming Championship 2014 qualifiers, so as to tempt numbed brains with "ooh is this actually super cool???" and leave 'em with "oh okay so that happened I guess". Wow! What a great strategy that was! Now who the fuck are you?!
At that point, I basically knew I didn't want very much to do with YouTube anymore. So when I found out that they announced their plans to effectively punish creators for Google's blatant violations of COPPA law, I didn't know what the fuck I was supposed to do. There was so much shit being stirred up about this, and I seriously considered deleting my YouTube channel completely. That ended up never happening, but I saw that more creators were flocking to Vlare. I was still skeptical of Vlare at this point, but seeing there was a slight bit of retro tech stuff on there, I joined, and somehow, the site grew on me. I figured, hey, with all that's going on now as well as how horribly YouTube's treated me over the years, let's do it... let's help give Vlare the kind of momentum it would need to succeed. I didn't have much clout, but what I've always had were my principles reminiscent of old school YouTube.
On a whim, I initiated a movement to get as many people as possible to join Vlare and start posting their videos there. To make sure that every single person following me knew of its name, the so-called Vlare Revolution was plastered at every corner of my channel, and after YouTube Armageddon, I vowed to make ALL of my future videos Vlare exclusives.
It was so much to leave behind, but for half of 2020, it was going quite well. Just as I had given up on making very many videos at all, the prospect of planting seeds for a site with loads of potential gave me the will to keep going. I already had around 20 exclusive videos on the site by May or June, and fully intended to make something so ambitious specifically for Vlare, and with Vlare's name right on the front. Of course I am talking about Project Bigeye, that time I figured out how to demonstrate a little over 30 different computers in the most attractive and streamlined fashion I could think of - relaying a Quake save file across all of them. In fact, it was all ready to go in August, but...
Remember that pattern?
...now, Vlare did acknowledge the hard work I put into my videos for the site, as a staff member featured Arowana. It was that fruit I was dying to see, and it was certainly much more than YouTube was ever willing to give me. Even though they clearly valued having me around much more, I question if they really ever shared in my dreams of making a site like that become the place for truly disgruntled creators to have a better shot (no relation to whiny conspirists).
Jan was a decent programmer, but a terrible administrator as always. Shortly after I started going Vlare exclusive, it turned out that hardly anyone had been in contact with him since. Um... hello? You run a video sharing community, don't you? Oh dear, this sacrifice I made could turn out ugly.
I refused to believe that a site like Vlare could crumble so easily, in spite of what all the naysayers were telling me. I made this commitment, and I was going to stick to it all the way to the bitter end. Yet, this whole time, somehow the site couldn't fix its regular server outages. Could they have? Sharing high resolution videos is a very resource-heavy process, but Vlare was terrible at clearly communicating its issues to users. They shut out their Discord server from outsiders some time in early 2020 over some drama incident. I mean, it is Discord, after all, but maybe a community-driven site should have some clear-cut means of being able to contact management in a timely fashion.
I cannot tell you how many times I've been biting my nails waiting for something to be restored. I was getting all unsteady as I clinged for the day I could finally upload my improved MS-DOS installation CD creation guide I made ahead of time. Of course I also gave some money to Vlare for their premium service, allowing me to upload videos in higher resolutions, eventually at 60 frames per second. Yet... when Bigeye was ready, no joke, I could not do that, all because the Vlare Premium signup page broke. I couldn't throw my $6 at them, as it would just error out. Just... why? Why would Vlare's most critical front for sustaining itself be left broken for this long?
Even as Jan was nowhere to be found to fix that whole damn site, I kept holding out. I knew that EVENTUALLY they would all get around to it. After a false DMCA claim shut down the whole site and purged its database, though, a lot of people started flinging shit at me about it, and I scrambled to make a video to address the whole thing. I felt like I had to do it... it kind of worked, but let's be real here, Vlare isn't my site, I had no involvement in its development, and so there was nothing I could do. All I wanted was to see to it that my dream of seeing something take on YouTube and succeed be fulfilled, and Vlare was really the best shot any of us ever had.
While many of us would never get to see the light of Vlare again, several promises have been made to bring it back up at some point. After full ownership of Vlare was transferred from Jan to WYSIWYG, it seemed like a much brighter future would be ahead of that site. No longer would we have to worry about having some administrator that always stays in the dark! By February 2021, though, the project was canned, and WYSIWYG had to find work elsewhere. I pretty much died inside, and knew for certain that my time of making videos was going to be up soon enough.
It was going to be merged with another site, but then later I heard some other group picked up Vlare. So, now all of a sudden the project's going to be revived... okay, this might be interesting. But I wasn't in any hurry to make 50 more videos to put in the "Vlare Exclusives" queue. In fact, I wasn't making much of anything at all in the way of videos; most of what I did upload recently were just old, unused materials from years prior.
I never really paid any attention to Vlare's new development, either. All I did was meddle in the idea of creating clickbait thumbnails just in case I would somehow strike it big with any one of them - not to end up beating any single idea to death, only because I wanted to do a pisstake on the state of YouTube. In the process, I confirmed exactly what I had been suspecting about so many of those fucking commentary videos: more thought goes into the title and thumbnail than anything else!
After I was done bombarding everyone with that bullshit, I monologued a bit about how Druaga1 ran into the same problem as me when I had a video with close to three million views and an endless swarm of shitty, disrespectful comments; his "Windows 98 on an SSD" video suffered the same thing. Why the fuck does everyone get so upset over someone doing crazy stuff with their hands as they handle a cheapo IDE SSD, an SD card, or whatever? What's the big fucking deal? I don't know, but just like that, I was referred to him, and we eventually made a small collaboration.
I'm not sure what I wanted with it; I wanted to keep it a bit low profile just because many of Druaga's fans tend to get way out of control, but I was simultaneously expecting it to blow up on its own. That sure didn't happen, and when his videos are suffering from the same 10:1 ratio (about one view for every 10 subscribers) problem as mine have been, perhaps it's not hard to see why. I learned we share this same struggle, only difference being that whatever he thinks about YouTube, I say out loud. Just thinking about how I wasted around five years of my life trying to make good videos with such little return really tore me up one night.
By the time that video failed to pick up any real traction on its own, it was time for me to start making motions to exit the video creation field for good. If I can't get anything out of making a video anymore, I have no choice but to accept that my channel does not have much of a future left for it.
And just like that, today I learned that the planned Vlare revival was also canned. Guess how that shit happened... well, seems it was yet more drama, I guess. I don't know what screenshots were leaked that prompted the development of Vlare to shut down, but it's probably all ugly. Whatever the case, I don't even care anymore. Like I said, Vlare is not my site. Razorback is my new home, and will remain that way for all time. I've let down a plentiful of users who got behind this #VlareRevolution shitfuck, but does that really need to warrant snarky "this did not age well" comments?
All I can do now is say that the Vlare Revolution is OVER. We lost. We're not going to get another shot at this. Everyone involved of the development of Vlare had a jewel on their hands. They had a loyal backing from people like myself, a base that so badly wanted refuge from the YouTube machine... and they turned that jewel into dust. Well... so much for that "journey"!!!
What's the alternative?
We don't have a good alternative any longer. If you're inclined to bring up something like Odysee or PeerTube, SPARE ME. Odysee is an abomination rooted in crypto, a menace to the tech market as well as the planet at large. Crypto was used as justification to burn a historic drawing from Picasso, in case you didn't know. Seriously, everything about crypto should be fucking abolished by force. Plus, Odysee was painfully slow the one time I used it, so I had to download a video I wanted to watch on there rather than simply stream it.
As for PeerTube, it can really only work if you have so many seeds running 24/7, but in practice, I've found it a very frustrating experience. A lot of the videos I tried to watch ended up having no seeds, and those that were being seeded were all uninteresting garbage, anyway. Let's be real here: decentralization is not always the best option for every application. In the case of downloading large torrents over the course of several days, it works great; you can come back to watch a perfect digital replication of an old LaserDisc movie later on. When you want to watch some guy talking about Other Counter-Strike Strategy for 30 more minutes, are you just going to leave that tab open waiting for that whole thing to buffer? YouTube's initial success comes in part from being able to watch some random thing immediately, and usually being punctual to buffer all of it. That's not something I ever really get in PeerTube...
So, with alternatives off the table, I can only resort to one thing: give up. Just as I had forseen back in 2019, the end of my channel draws near. Now, I only have 2-3 major video projects planned, most likely only two, and any smaller things I end up posting will be the result of external circumstances. I'm already nearly finished with one of the larger videos, and you'll know what that is when you do. Other than that, I'm focusing my efforts more on learning programming and building upon this website; still gotta write the commentaries for Hardcore Windows NT and 98, now that I think about it.
I've said this before, but making videos is nothing but a nasty detraction from what I truly wanted to be. Only recently have I started to pick up from where I left off in 2009, experimenting with running a web server and dreaming of programming the kind of game I wanted to create. If anything, I've been wanting to get off this ride since 2018, as shown in a memo I left in a confusing video about Windows NT 4.0. While I did end up learning a lot more about programming than I ever have before with an old book about Turbo Assembler, back then I still experienced withdrawal from not making videos.
Looking for some way to detract everyone from the one dumb video the stubborn algorithm kept pushing, I pressed on with my video creation endeavors, trying to make something that would be far more successful. I spent way too much time on the works that followed. 2018 would turn out to be the golden year of my channel, concentrating the highest amount of innovation, including the filming of Arowana and Windows 98 on a Ryzen 7, both which I hoped would be the ones to top everything out. It shortly faded, and I was forced to carry out the nuclear option to save myself from those eternal headaches once and for all. I wasn't going to let a fucking algorithm have its way...
I don't regret what I did. Even if cutting off a video with three million views meant I would have a much harder time gaining any traction, at least it was the fire extinguisher I needed. Same goes with that time I moved to Vlare. The site ended up fucking itself over bigtime, but at least it got me to return my mind to those old days where making videos was actually fun.
If yet another group ends up "reviving" Vlare again, my new advice is to just ignore it. It isn't worth clamoring for a new viable alternative to YouTube anymore. The best we can all do at this point is simply stop playing YouTube's game. The last thing you ever want to do is become part of the elephant in the room, the severe commentary crisis nobody's acknowledging. Should you continue to upload on YouTube, here's some cool strategy guide tips you can use to rebel against the demands of the Creator Academy:
As for Project Cisco, I haven't forgotten about that, I'm just having a tough time figuring out exactly how I want it to play out. I know for sure I want it to be far more than a goofy ass "how to use internet" 1996 VHS tape; that would just be the more sane driving force of something else. I want to get the rest of the questions answered: what is the deal with the Maroon Whales and the conflict they've been in, and where did they come from? What happened to JimboVideo? What are Basifuk's true motivations? Surely by next year, I hope to have the answers for you.
Apart from the two aforementioned upcoming projects, I have nothing left to offer in the form of videos. It may seem disappointing now, but trust me... this is for the better. Only when I get off my ass and actually start programming full time can I give you my very best works.