The short answer of what this means for Parler is that they’ll probably be down for a few days until they find a new host, and there will never be a Parler app on a mobile device. In other words, their status on the Internet — meaning how they will be treated by other tech companies and potential investors — has been demoted from something like Twitter or Facebook to a porn site. I don’t mean that as a joke, and if you want to understand why, read on.
In order to be a first-class Internet social media company, one that investors are willing to think can make them billions instead of millions, you need (at least) four things, in roughly this order:
- High Quality Cloud Host Provider – This is essentially access to computers installed and maintained by Amazon or a similar provider (like Google). This allows your tech staff to increase capacity at essentially a push of a button, and a number of time-consuming things like backup, redundancy, etc. are handled by the host, not you.
- A Mobile App – Only mobile apps allow usable push alerts, an easy way to post pictures and video, etc. These are approved and distributed by either Apple or Google on their app stores.
- Advertising and, more importantly, Advertisers – Specifically, mainstream advertisers who participate in ad networks, because they pay better than, say, My Pillow.
- Credit Card Acceptance – This might not be obvious, but a good number of social apps charge a small fee for higher tier services. Reddit Gold is one example.
Until a few days ago, Parler had all these things. Today, they have none of them. But that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to function as a social network, but they will do so in exactly the same way that porn sites do:
- Hosting – None of the big cloud providers will host porn. I assume (it isn’t well reported) that they pay second tier data centers to co-locate servers. This adds expense and inconvenience, but that’s it.
- Mobile Apps – There are no mobile porn apps, since they violate the terms of service of the app stores. The best that Parler will have is a mobile-friendly website.
- Advertising – Tide and GM do not advertise on porn sites. Parler will have to find advertisers willing to have their ads appear next to violent calls for insurrection. A lot of the ads will probably be for right-wing scams.
- Credit Cards – This is precarious. Pornhub recently purged 2/3 of their videos because MasterCard and Visa stopped processing their transactions after a Nick Kristof story broke that they were hosting revenge and child porn.
Pornhub got a lot of attention from that Kristof piece recently, and it turns out that (surprise) their owners are very shady (I know, shocked face!) Parler is financed in part by Rebekah Mercer.
Whether or not the Mercers or the Kochs or whatever other big money Republicans who are thinking about starting up “Instagram for Insurrectionists” or whatever will be deterred by the fact that it will now cost more and probably won’t make them much money. But they will still exist and they will still spread hate.