IPTV Smarters Pro Removed From Google Play Store

A court in Spain has issued a ruling requiring Google to remove the IPTV app “IPTV Smarters Pro” from the Google Play Store. As of today, only the “Smarters Player Lite” version of the app can be found on the Google Play Store.

LaLiga Targets IPTV Providers, Streaming Sites & Video Players

The request was made by LaLiga, the Spanish football league, and supported by UDEV, a police unit specializing in violent and specialist crimes, including national and international copyright cases. LaLiga is targeting both free web-based streaming sites and subscription IPTV providers as part of its efforts to combat piracy. These services may be subject to ISP blocking through the use of dynamic injunctions, which are designed to be flexible and effective in combating countermeasures taken by pirates, unless of course if you are using a VPN. Last year, LaLiga labeled a number of software video players as piracy tools, which has made the distinction between legal and illegal content less clear.

In a submission to the European Commission in February of 2022, LaLiga identified around 20 IPTV services and 30 streaming sites as unlicensed. In addition, the organization nominated more than 80 software video players, many of which are available for download on Google Play and the App Store, as facilitating piracy. LaLiga emphasized that these player applications enable the consumption of a wide range of audiovisual content, including sports, movies, TV series, and more, and therefore the problem affects the entire audiovisual and entertainment industry.

IPTV Smarters Pro On EU Piracy List

LaLiga submitted a list of IPTV services, streaming sites, and software video players to the European Commission with the aim of having some or all of them included in the EU’s Counterfeiting and Piracy Watch List 2022. When the report was released in early December 2022, only one of the most popular apps was included in the “Piracy Apps” section.

According to the European Commission, stakeholders from the audiovisual industry reported IPTV Smarters for inclusion on the Watch List as an IPTV turnkey solution from India. The company, which trades under the brand name WHMCS Smarters, offers website design and development, customized apps on various platforms, and a billing platform, as well as an IPTV media player through the IPTV Smarters Pro app. Despite not making any allegations of piracy, the Commission mentioned the WHMCS side of the Smarters business in the “Piracy Apps” section of the Watch List.

LaLiga recently announced the results of legal action it took against the IPTV Smarters Pro software. In a press release celebrating its anti-piracy efforts over the past year, the organization revealed that a court in Spain had issued an order requiring Google to remove the app from the Google Play Store.

On December 22, 2022, Investigating Court No. 53 of Madrid issued an order – after a positive report from the Public Prosecutor – whereby, considering the precautionary measures requested by LaLiga, it agreed to withdraw from the Google store (Google Play) the well-known player application ‘IPTV SMARTERS PRO’, which once installed allowed – according to the conclusions of a UDEV report – to view premium television channels in which LaLiga matches were broadcast among other content.

original source:https://www.laliga.com/noticias/laliga-finaliza-el-2022-ganando-varias-batallas-legales-contra-la-pirateria

LaLiga’s statement specifically mentions UDEV (Unidad de Delincuencia Especializada y Violenta), a specialist unit of Spain’s National Police, as the entity responsible for verifying that copyright infringement was occurring through the use of the IPTV Smarters Pro software. Based on this report, the public prosecutor requested and the court (Juzgado de Instrucción Nº 53 de Madrid) granted precautionary measures against the app. This process demonstrates that LaLiga requested the measures, UDEV provided evidence of infringement, and the court determined that such measures were appropriate.

In a DMCA notice, LaLiga accused the IPTVSmarters website of selling channel services or subscriptions to servers that provide unauthorized payment channel decryption keys for copyrighted broadcasts available through the IPTV/CCCAM service. However, the IPTVSmarters website claims that it is a software development company and does not provide or sell any subscriptions, streams, or content. The allegations made by LaLiga are specific, including specific URLs, and include pages that offer the Smarters app for direct download, forum discussions on how to pay for the app outside of Google, and pages related to user accounts.



Happy Holidays, everyone! To celebrate, here we have release 19.5. This release caps off the v19 Matrix development cycle – we are not intending anything further now until 20.0 “Nexus”.

Without further fanfare, then I give you Kodi “Matrix” 19.5: more bug fixes, some backports, no real new features. Full changelog since 19.4 on Github, as usual.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has helped us track down and fix any issues.

As this is a point release, there are no major changes since the previous version, and you should be fine to install this straight over the top of any existing Kodi 19.x installation – indeed, this will happen automatically on many platforms. However, as for all software installations, back up your userdata beforehand if you’ve any doubts or have anything you can’t afford to lose (and definitely do this if you’re going for a major version upgrade).

If you’re interested, you can read the merged PRs here. If you want to read back on the full history of v19 itself, or of previous versions, you can find the corresponding articles in the relevant blog posts.

Android/Windows Store Deployment

For Android specifically, please note that we are unable to provide this update via Google Play. An updated Google requirement demands that apps now target API level 31 (Android 12) as a minimum, while Kodi v19 targets API level 29 (Android 10).

As such, we’re unable to upload 19.5 to the Play Store, although 19.3 will remain available until 20.0 is available for the masses. However, for those who want the new release, 19.5 can be downloaded from our servers and installed manually.

More than that, though, for both the Play Store and Microsoft App store, there’s simply too much throwaway work. With the final release of v20 “Nexus” extremely close, as well as difficulties with the Google Play store submission for v19, there is no practical possibility to do store submissions for 19.5 – as such, this release will NOT be released on either Google Play or the Microsoft App store. As always, we provide the packages for all platforms on the Kodi mirror website if you wish to install them on your device.



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Trakt API Back Working Again

Since the latest Trakt crash, a lot of Video On Demand streaming apps and KODI addons stopped working or at best had limited functionality. Since December 20th though, Trakt got their API fully working again! The team twitted about it:

Trakt API is back online for all apps! We’re seeing a huge influx of traffic, but the servers scaled up to handle it. If an app isn’t working, please re-authenticate your Trakt account.

What is Trakt.tv

Trakt.tv is a website and community for tracking television shows and movies. Users of the site can track the shows and movies they are watching and share their progress with others. The site also offers recommendations and personalized suggestions based on a user’s watching history. Trakt.tv is very popular among users of media center applications such as Kodi and Plex.

What Exactly Happened

On December 11 at 7:30 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) Trakt experienced a crash. The crash resulted in the corruption of some of the site’s data. The team at Trakt.tv worked around the clock to restore the affected data, but the process was very slow due to the large amount of data involved.

Now, with Trakt back again when connecting to the main website, there is a brief announcement by the team:

  • Data prior to November 7 is fully restored.
  • Watched history between November 7 and December 11 has been recovered. There is a separate message on your dashboard allowing you to review and import any recovered data.
  • All other data (besides watched history) after November 7 has already been restored and imported.
  • Some data might be permanently lost due to data corruption.
  • Trakt API is back online as of December 20.
  • Active VIP members will get 2 free months added to their expiration date.

How To Fix KODI Addons & APKs

Most of the third-party KODI addons and streaming applications should be working fine, but if yours isn’t working there is another step you might want to do. Some of the applications, especially KODI addons need to repeat the reauthenticate process with Trakt in order to work. And in some cases, or better still do it either way, you need to revoke authorization and then reauthorize Trakt again. In this way, you will be 100% sure that the service will work and your addon will too.

This is the case for Seren, an addon that absolutely needs Trakt in order to work. By using Trakt, Seren is sorting all kind of content: movies and tv shows. Even the search functionality didn’t work without it. But not that Trakt is back working again you should have no issues if you follow the method above.

Two Months For Free

Trakt added for all active VIP members 2 free months to their expiration date, a gesture for asking forgiveness for this disservice and a lot of users are super-happy again!



So… here we have a second Release Candidate for Kodi v20 “Nexus”. While we have a fairly small number of fixes, they are fairly major.

As always, thanks go out to all contributors for their work. We are nearing 4,000 commits since v19 “Matrix” was first released on February 19th 2021. For everyone that has contributed, both those in Team Kodi and all other devs that choose to roll up their sleeves and fix an issue. Everyone appreciates you for making Kodi better.

We also want to thank all those users who provide endless support on the forums, we appreciate you, and all the support anyone provides to our users.

Android Users

A note for any users who are running Kodi on Android 11+. Android has had a number of large permission changes that we, and all apps released on the Google Play Store, have had to adhere to. The major change is permissions to locally attached storage (i.e. USB disks). If you use USB storage for your media on these versions of Android, after first run do the following to allow Kodi access to these disks:

Go to Android Settings

  1. Apps and then “See all apps” (or just straight to Kodi if it’s in Recently Opened)
  2. Tap on Kodi
  3. Go to Permissions
  4. Files and media, and change to Allow all the time

We know many people use Nvidia Shield devices, so here’s a specific link to Nvidia customer help.

Add-on Devs

There was an API break after Beta 1 was released. The details can be seen on the forums (and of course discussed if any assistance is required) at https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=370707.

Essentially, if you use either the Python InfoTagVideo or VideoStreamDetail APIs, some functions had their variable names changed to bring consistency to the new set of APIs introduced earlier in Nexus.

We strongly advise users to always update to the latest test releases if you are on the bleeding edge, however if you are on older releases (e.g. Alphas or Beta 1), you may want to block updates on your add-ons as dev’s update their add-ons to target RC and the final V20 release.

Release notes

Database

  • A couple of fixes have gone in to resolve database migration issues from v19.
  • The first of these is the EPG database migration. This fixes the problem with the EPG loading and then disappearing. Thanks @ksooo for the prompt fix.
  • A second DB migration issue that only occurred on the Microsoft UWP platform (Xbox and UWP desktop) has been fixed by @thexai . This was an odd one, as the code that dealt with the failure was old code (6+ years). It was traced to an odd race condition that only manifested on the UWP platforms, however the root cause potentially could happen on any other platform.

General

Platform Specific

  • Linux

    • @popcornmix has fixed an issue for DRMPrime on Linux. This allows hardware formats like Broadcom 8-bit (SAND128) and 10-bit (P030) can now be correctly rendered with the latest Mesa.
  • macOS

    • A fix to allow Kodi to execute on macOS 10.13 has been made. We would still strongly suggest users use a newer version (10.14+), however this allows users still on 10.13 to run Kodi.
    • A regression for macOS reading actual disks was resolved by @enen92 . As part of this, the libcdio driver was also fixed to enable disk usage on Apple Silicon native builds.
  • Windows

    • A fix to a crash that only occurred on Windows Debug builds has been resolved. This didn’t affect users of the actual RC1 release, but Windows devs who would attempt to execute Kodi as a Debug build were quickly halted.

PVR

Teletext

  • Another Teletext issue has been resolved by @repojohnray. @repojohnray has contributed a number of fixes for v20 to help increase the reliability and safety of Kodi.

Although this was only a small number of fixes, they all help make the final release of “Nexus” better. Thanks to users who have provided issues and logs to assist with the resolution of these issues.

As always, and we are quite confident in its stability – however, always backup your configs before testing, and please let us know of any regressions or issues you find.

If you want to take the plunge, you can get RC 2 from here. Select your platform of choice, and look in the “Prerelease” section.

If you wish you can see all the gory details of what’s changed between v20 RC 2 and RC 1 here.
For further information on changes for the entire Nexus release so far, we have highlighted most of the major features/changes in the previous Alpha/Beta blogs, go to our website to catch up on them here.



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While Trakt service had its crash, a lot of streaming apps suffered. Plex, Jellyfin, and KODI are those suffering the most. Especially some third-party KODI addons are based on Trakt in order to list the two main categories (Movies and TV Shows) into different subsections like Trending, People Watching, Most viewed, and Lists.

Seren KODI Addon Not Working Because Of Trakt

The best example of this outage is Seren. An amazing KODI addon that is beloved among KODI users it is almost at a 100% based on Trakt functionality. Even though the addon is capable of working, which means playing the streaming content, the missed Trakt connection is causing the addon to not be working. In other words, if you do not have your content, whether it’s a Movie or a TV Show, in your Favorites, it will not be able to stream anything. Another way to bypass this issue with Trakt is using TMDB Helper and set Seren as the default player. But this is already an advanced setting for most users which I get it. The same goes for many addons, The Crew is another great example that suffered the same Trakt crash.

KODI Addons Working Without Trakt

trakt.tv logo

Some other third-party KODI addons, use some or even none of the features by Trakt. That means that they still work great or at least for the most part. Some use the IMDB service for listing Trending, Lists or Popular Movies and TV shows. A small list of such add-ons that you can use instead is:

When Back To Normal For KODI & APK

Trakt.tv stated that everything will be back working in a week. So all the related addons will come fully functional as well at the same time. This is also for any Streaming APK that have issues with displaying or searching movies and tv shows. The APKs have no issues apart from the related features based on Trakt. Everything will be resolved in a week’s time as the API of Trakt will be available and online again.

At the time of writing this article, if you try to Re Authorize Trakt on any given KODI addon or APK you will receive a 503 error. That is normal since, as mentioned, Trakt is down and only the website part of the service is actually working.

On the evening of December 11th, streaming service Trakt experienced a major outage when their main database crashed, causing significant damage and corruption to some of the data. In a statement, the company apologized for the extended downtime and any inconvenience this may have caused their users.

According to the statement, updates to Trakt’s automated backup systems have already been put in place and will be tested on an ongoing basis to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future. Data prior to November 7th has been fully restored, but the company is still working to recover the watched history from November 7th and beyond. While they hope to recover as much of this data as possible, it is possible that some of it may be permanently lost due to the extent of the corruption. The data is expected to be available for import next week, and the Trakt API will be turned on at that time as well.

trakt.tv logo

As a gesture of goodwill, Trakt will be offering two free months of membership to all of its active VIP members. It is clear that the company is taking this incident seriously and is working to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. They have assured their users that they will do better moving forward and have thanked them for their patience and understanding.



Here we go folks, ramping things up and we have the first Release Candidate (RC) for Kodi “Nexus”.

As always, thanks go out to all contributors for their work. We are nearing 4,000 commits since v19 “Matrix” was first released on February 19th 2021. For everyone that has contributed, both those in Team Kodi and all other devs that choose to roll up their sleeves and fix an issue. Everyone appreciates you for making Kodi better.

We also want to thank all those users who provide endless support on the forums, we appreciate you, and all the support anyone provides to our users.

Addon Devs

We’ll put this at the top of this post, as there was an API break after Beta 1 was released. The details can be seen on the forums (and of course discussed if any assistance is required).

Essentially, if you use either the Python InfoTagVideo or VideoStreamDetail APIs, some functions had their variable names changed to bring consistency to the new set of APIs introduced earlier in Nexus.

We strongly advise users to always update to the latest test releases if you are on the bleeding edge, however if you are on older releases (e.g. Alphas or Beta 1), you may want to block updates on your addons as dev’s update their addons to target RC and the final V20 release.

Release notes

Addons

  • A BREAKING API change was introduced for the VideoStreamDetail and InfoTagVideo Python APIs. This affects set APIs that were introduced in the v20 development cycle. We would not normally do such a change when we enter Beta phase, but we believe fixing this now would cause fewer issues for all the addon devs out there for v21 (supporting 2 different APIs for v20/v21). Details around what is affected can be seen in the PR.
    In addition, further details can be seen and discussed on the forums.
  • A number of bundled addons have been updated. This should reduce the number of addons that immediately do updates on installation of RC1.

Scrapers

  • Due to the above breaking API change, the TVDB TV Show scraper was updated to prevent breaking. The result is that the updated scraper will be broken on any Kodi v20 release prior to this RC1 release. If you are using an older v20 install, then you need to update for continued functioning of the TMDB TV Show scraper.
  • In addition, we took this opportunity to fix a long outstanding issue with the Python TV Show scrapers described here. The result is that if you are adding new episodes to existing TV shows in your library, you need to refresh the show to download the new episode guide. If you are using NFO files, the episode guide in those files needs updating also.
  • TMDB TV Shows and TV Maze scrapers have been updated, with TVDB v4 to be updated in the near future.
    More details can be found here.

Games

  • @lrusak fixed a crash that was introduced into Beta1. Some Linux users were finding Kodi was crashing on startup (link).
  • @lrusak again fixed a black screen issue with standalone games (link).

General

  • Add support for action “play” to many more items such as widgets/favourites on the homescreen (link).
  • Fix a regression with duplicate/incorrect context menu entries (link).
  • @ksooo fixed another regression for addons that caused the “continue watching” context menu not to show the resume time (link).
  • @repojohnray has been providing a number of fixes/cleanups lately that are targeting memory leaks. Subtitles and a number of Linux specific areas have had improvements made to them.
  • A new contributer @larrignon has fixed a logging message that occurred when an empty directory was searched by scrapers (link).

Music

  • Fix crash when queuing multichannel audio files. This fixes a regression introduced in Beta 1 (link).
  • Fix default fallback image to be more relevant to a music item (CD Case instead of a Folder) (link).

Platform Specific

  • Android

    • @joseluismarti has contributed a number of cleanups/fixes for Android.
    • @a1rwulf bumped our SDK target to 31. Along with a number of fixes @joseluismarti contributed over the past few months, this has allowed us to finally do a release to the Google Play Store. RC1 has been released to the Testing channel, and we’ll ramp up deployment over the next week or so to more users in the Testing channel
  • macOS

    • @enen92 has made a number of fixes to what is know as the macOS native windowing implementation. This won’t affect too many people right now, as the default release uses SDL windowing, however anyone building the native macOS ARM version (or using the test builds) should see a number of improvements around windowing.
    • Add speech to text service implementation (usable from keyboard dialog)
  • Windows and Xbox

    • Kodi RC 1 has been submitted to the Microsoft Store as an update. Users should start receiving this shortly. Be aware that you may have to uninstall and reinstall your Xbox version, because the OS is not updating cleanly.

Skinning

  • Fix a crash if an include has an empty condition. This was reported by @jurialmunkey and was an effect when a PARAM was used in the include condition that may have been empty (link).

  • Fix a crash that could occur in the event of a textbox that was too small for a font used, and therefore the text would not fit (link).

    Estuary Specifics

    • Music: Extend context menu functionality, add ability to play albums directly from home screen
    • Video: Extend context menu functionality
    • PVR: New home screen widget for saved searches
    • PVR: Reworked home screen widget for timers
    • PVR: Some smaller visual changes to the OSD and the home screen widgets
    • Add possibility to use the play button (on remote, keyboard, …) to start playback of many different items shown on the home screen (e.g. songs, movies, episodes, Live-TV channels, recordings, albums, TV shows, single seasons, movie sets – just try it out…)

Subtitles

  • Fix a regex for Sami subtitles (link).

Teletext

  • @enen92 has made a few fixes for teletext usage. A crash and a usability issue were resolved (link).
  • Another crash was resolved (link).
  • Flashing teletext was blinking at an extremely fast pace. This fixes an regression introduced by a large core change regarding time related functions (link).

UPNP

  • Fix some crashes occurring on startup if UPnP items were on homescreen widgets. Check the PR for gritty details (link).

Video

  • A new feature has been introduced to allow the possibility of ‘continue watching’ (aka resume) for certain video folders from the context menu of several folder locations (eg Movie Sets, TV Shows including seasons, and more). The best way to see more info about this is to see the PR.

PVR

  • Multi-instance support for PVR client-addons (first implemented by pvr.hts, more to come)
  • Persistent EPG searches
  • Automatic cleanup of texture database and removal of related stale image files
  • Add possibility to refresh channel logos in the Channel manager
  • Selection of items to delete when resetting the PVR database
  • Various performance optimisations, larger code refactoring

Favourites

  • New favourites window, providing different views and other enhancements

Thank you once again to everyone who has contributed to this release.

This is the our first Release Candidate for Nexus, and we are quite confident in its stability – however, always backup your configs before testing, and please let us know of any regressions or issues you find.

If you want to take the plunge, you can get RC 1 from here. Select your platform of choice, and look in the “Prerelease” section.

As usual – well, it is open source – you can see what’s changed between v20 RC 1 and Beta 1 here.
For further information on changes for the entire Nexus release so far, we have highlighted most of the major features/changes in the previous Alpha/Beta blogs, go to our website to catch up on them here



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Trakt.tv Crash Causing Issues With Streaming Apps

If you are experiencing difficulties with streaming content, especially with features like browsing the trending list or even searching for movies and TV shows, then you should reconsider how essential Trakt.tv is! Just for an example, Seren Addon on KODI is absolutely worthless without this service and it isn’t working right now. The same goes for other popular streaming like Plex, APK, etc.

What Exactly Happened

Trakt.tv, a popular television and movie tracking website, experienced a crash on December 11 at 7:30 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST). The crash resulted in the corruption of some of the site’s data. The team at Trakt.tv has been working around the clock to restore the affected data, but the process has been slow due to the large amount of data involved.

Trakt.tv Crashed twitter post

Following the Trakt.tv crash, the team was able to partially restore user data and is continuing to work on completing the process. The site has refreshed its metadata in order to keep track of movies and TV shows in sync with The Movie Database (TMDB). This is important in order to ensure that restored user data can match up correctly with the updated metadata.

Trakt.tv has retained its existing Trakt IDs, which are used to identify and track the site’s users and their data. The data restoration process is ongoing, and although it is slow, the team at Trakt.tv is optimistic about its progress.

Scheduled tasks such as TMDB metadata updates and watch now links are still running, so the site will be up to date when it is fully restored. Trakt.tv plans to provide a more detailed update on the situation tomorrow. In the meantime, the team is doing everything it can to get the site back online and restore as much data as possible.

When Will Trakt.tv Be Back

While we do not have an ETA for when the service will be back online, you can follow the service status of Trakt.tv at their dedicated section: https://status.trakt.tv/ or simply follow them on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/trakt/.

What is Trakt.tv

Trakt.tv is a website and community for tracking television shows and movies. Users of the site can track the shows and movies they are watching and share their progress with others. The site also offers recommendations and personalized suggestions based on a user’s watching history. Trakt.tv is very popular among users of media center applications such as Kodi and Plex.

For more news and updates Dimitrology.com will inform you as soon as possible so make sure to check with us back again later on!



After all, “that which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet” – okay, Shakespeare maybe had a point, but, for obvious reasons, he didn’t know anything about software. For us, names matter because they usually herald a new release, a major change, and, yes, lots of lovely, cuddly new features.

So, as is traditional as we move through our current release cycle – Kodi v20 “Nexus” recently entered beta – it’s time to announce the name for what will become Kodi v21. As usual, we ran a forum post for suggestions, and we then worked through them to remove the obviously-profane, legislatively-dubious or downright impossible to type quickly, and then put it to a Kodi Team vote.

So, with no further ado … < adopts best Max Quordlepleen voice >

Ladies, gentlemen, monocellular and inorganic lifeforms, non-terrestrial beings, sentient devices … a big hand, please, for…

Kodi v21 “Omega”

< sounds of muffled trumpets and applause >

Don’t get overly excited about this version arriving any time soon, as v20 “Nexus” isn’t fully-cooked yet and there’s still much life left in the 19.x “Matrix” branch. However, you now know what’s coming, and, if you’re inclined, you can now follow development of this specific branch.



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Blue profile checkmark returns

Twitter Blue Realunch Screenshot
Twitter Blue is coming back

Elon Musk is relaunching its Twitter Blue subscription on Monday, a month after its initial launch was marred by hoax accounts and general chaos. The subscription will cost $8 per month on the web or $11 per month through the iOS App Store to compensate for Apple’s up to 30% commission on in-app purchases. This time, users who want to display a “verified” checkmark on their profile will need to register a phone number first, and changing their “handle, display name or profile photo” will remove the label until their account is reviewed again.

What Twitter Blue offers

Twitter is relaunching its checkmark subscription service, which includes the blue profile checkmark and features such as the ability to edit tweets, upload 1080p videos, and access reader mode. The company has also stated that fewer ads and prioritization in search and replies will be “coming soon.”

New checkmarks

In addition, Twitter is replacing the “official” label from the previous Blue launch with a gold checkmark for businesses, with a gray checkmark for “government and multilateral accounts” to be added later this week. Esther Crawford, the product manager at Twitter, has stated that the company is adding a phone verification requirement for users to receive a blue checkmark in order to combat impersonation.

Why It was paused

Elon Musk launched his own version of Twitter Blue last month but removed the feature after two days due to fake verified accounts. The rushed rollout caused concern among advertisers and government officials, leading Senator Ed Markey to tell Musk to fix his companies or Congress would.

Is it worth the $8 per month?

Some users believe that the additional features and benefits offered by the subscription service are worth the cost, and the blue checkmark itself can provide valuable benefits. While other users may not be willing to pay for the subscription, a lot believe that it is a worthwhile investment for those who want to take advantage of its features and enhance their experience on the platform.