I rarely post any specific news from the dark LEGO underbelly, be that Ideas or the LEGO Ambassador Network (LAN), but this one kind of amused me, so I have to jot down some thoughts on the matter.
Since you no doubt most of you are much more social media savvy than myself this may be old news, but Ryan McCullough of M&R Productions on YouTube got indeed removed from the LAN “for reasons”. He’s talking about it in this video. To me that’s not much of a surprise as this has been brewing for quite a while and at the risk of sounding utterly pompous, the writing has been on the wall for this. It would have happened one way or the other. If you do a bit of research and look at my older blogs and stuff you know that I was reasonably well-known throughout certain spheres of the Internet and the long and short of it is that I know how the dance goes. Been there, done that.
First there’s of course this “Wanna play with the big boys? Gotta follow the big boys’r rules!” thing. Now we likely will never find out what exactly transpired, Ryan has always navigated on the edge of what may be possible within those rules. Personally I’ve never followed his videos that closely, so I’ll be careful, but apparently he’s at least slipped out a few things he better might have kept to himself. I’ve also often wondered how he got away with showing sets days or weeks before official release, even if he bought them himself in a store that unwittingly (or actively ignoring LEGO‘s “Don’t put on shelves before…” stipulations) already put them up for sale. I would well imagine that this caused quite some consternation. After all, you can say what you will, when you apply to become as an Ambassador, you pledge to adhere to specific rules.
Was it that bad, though? Somehow LEGO‘s stance in the matter is just as dubious. What seems to be going wrong here is that the LAN appears indeed more of a “LEGO Advertising Network” rather than actually fostering a community. I’ve always already been extremely skeptical about those blogs and YouTubers telling me that a 400 Euro set they got for free is the hot shit, but now I’m going to be even more wary. If those minor disagreements and transgressions can’t be talked over and smoothed out, then what’s the point? It’s just weird that you would use such a system as an extension of your own corporate policies and only look to include people who agree with you, anyway, or have something to gain. Sometimes constructive dissent can be an asset, not a threat to your bottom line.
Either way, the positive news here is that M&R productions appear to stand on stable ground and their world won’t come to an end without those free packages dropping on their door. The interesting thing will be how it affects their view on LEGO as a whole. Maybe they’ve even held back in fact already and now we’re going to see even more “leaks” and ponderings on unreleased sets? Mmh…