Sept 26, 2018
Rebuilding the Website
A snapshot of the old site, with a few modifications.

Today I will tell you what happened to our original website:, why it was down for so long, and what plans there are for the website now that we are bringing it back.

Domain names such as (the old one) or (the current one) one rents from providers like and, who themselves get them through ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). The rent is usually yearly. Anyway, the rent for the next year was due for and I was in a bind that month, so decided to let it go offline and re-up it as soon as I had the money together.

Soon after, I went back to re-register to find that it had been bought by someone else. See there are people who watch for popular domains to miss their renewal, either due to funds or an admin mistake. Then the buy it and hope to sell it back to the original owner or someone else for a profit.

Same happened with I decided to wait and see if the person would let it go eventually, and they did after a year. But then when I went to register it, there was an additional fee of $1000 for being a “premium domain” (one that gets a steady amount of traffic.

At that point I decided what I should have done originally and register another domain and let everyone know that he website has changed. I consulted with Kseniya and have been working on the site since then. At first I wanted to return the site as it was with a few minor updates, but soon I realized that I would have to overhaul most of the code in order to bring it up to modern fluid screen size standards.

Besides updating the code, we felt that the site should be a living one, with a blog and eventually a comments section. We also agreed to make a copy of the videos available on the site as well, to serve as another place where they can be accessed.

While sites like Facebook or YouTube are great for having access to a large audience, they give you a limited amount of control over your content. For example, I want to go back and fix some video issues with some of the earlier videos. In order to do that I would have to re-upload the video to YouTube. It would be out of order and would have to accrue it’s viewers from the beginning.

Another problem that I find annoying with YouTube is flagging of content as “owned by a third party,” which is hard to dispute. See after our partnership ended, I never stopped making videos for you guys. I went back to my first YouTube channel where I had 10 skating exercises I had recorded many years ago. I starting making a new series called Ice Dancer Oleg, now Niki and Oleg. Anyway, I bought some royalty free music from a stock music site called Pond5.

The way stock music works is that you pay a fee for the right to use the song in your content without having to run ads or share revenue. If you see an ad any one of the videos, it’s because I either I made a music video using some famous song, and the song owner is running an ad on it, or because someone made a claim against my using the royalty free stock music I paid for.

I have made a few music videos, and if the artists who originally made the music want to make revenue off of it, I get that. But I contest any instance where a claim is made against me using royalty free stock music that I paid for.

And here’s the thing. I could let the stock music claims stand, and let the ads go, but don’t for two reasons. First, I don’t like running ads on our skating videos. I want the content to be easily accessible to all. Second, if someone makes a claim and you let it stand, they can pull your videos. So I don’t want to be in a situation where I make a bunch of content only for someone else to be able to take it down arbitrarily.

I believe in the rights of artists and content creators, and I think that an artist should be able to make a claim to their music. The real problem is that the appeals process is a sham. YouTube does not arbitrate between artists and content creators. Instead, it has the people who make the claim be ones to decide whether your right to your content is valid or no. And they are also the same people who decide your appeal. So huge conflict of interest.

For that matter, contacting anyone is a nightmare. YouTube will only email you a standard statement saying: we don’t arbitrate. The company that made the claims on my royalty free music rejected my claim, then accepted, then reinstated their claim a few weeks later, then again accepted my appeal. And that was just on one video. Every time I load a new video, a new claim is made against the same royalty free music that I paid for. I contest it, and eventually they relent. But they can reinstate a claim at any time. This has made me realize that I need to host the content where I have full control over it.

For that matter, YouTube and Facebook won’t be around forever. They could suffer a collapse like Enron or become irrelevant like MySpace. And in the end, isn’t it better to till your own field than someone else?

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