How YouTube lost its video soul, big time

How YouTube Has Lost Its Video Soul, Big Time

Can YouTube make revenue sharing work? I asked in January, upon the worldwide transmission of King Hurleys’ snack-sized (87 seconds) utterance straight from an elevator bank in Davos, Switzerland.

The Chad Hurley induced euphoria over power to the people, monetary power to the supposedly “little” video people that is, caused many to pre-celebrate a seemingly greater democratization of Web 2.0. 

Here is what the world’s Chad promised the world, then:

In terms of paying users revenue against the content that they are uploading, we are definitely going to move in that direction, but we didn’t want to build a system that was motivated by monetary reward…when you start out by giving money to people from day one…they will just switch to the next provider that’s paying more, we feel we are at a scale now that we are able to do that and really still have a true community around video.

Chad got the world’s video uploaders salivating because he promised “monetary rewards” for

the YouTube uploader “community,” ALL millions (thousands?) of them.

Before Google’s stock payout, he didn’t want to “build a system that was motivated by monetary reward,” he says. His Google’s YouTube just announced such a system though, but an elitist one, NOT a “true community around  video” one.

“When you start out by giving money to people from day one…they will just switch to the next provider that’s paying more,” Chad lamented. Like the (in)famous, not so amateur, not so User Generated Content “Diet Coke & Mentos” guys perhaps?

The multi-tier system YouTube now is promoting sets up just such a jockeying for more money scenario, be it for “old” media, or new.

BUT, isn’t it always the case that advertising trumps users, Larry Dignan asks. Of course, it HAS always been the case, the pre YouTube case, that is.

Is that really so bad? On the Web folks talk about community like it's some utopia.

What IS really so bad is that it is YouTube itself that has programmed the world into viewing a simple video platform as God’s son, another Google utopia, that is. This one is  so “special,” in fact, that the almighty Google need not follow the law and license copyright content in a manner befitting a $150 billion publicly traded corporation.

YouTube supposedly heralded a new users rule, not advertisers, world order, anointed, literally, by the world at the Davos World Economic Forum (it didn’t hurt, perhaps, that Chad’s boss, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, helped foot the bill for the high-powered gab fest).

It most assuredly is old media style advertising business as usual at YouTube now, a not unexpected Googley “enhancement.”

It is unexpected from the YouTuber perspective, however, and it will be unwelcome.

How so?

I know Suzie Reider. Suzie Reider is a friend of mine. No, not really, Lloyd Bensten vintage debate nostaligia analogy, only.

But I DO know that Suzie Reider, YouTube top marketing point woman, extols a purportedly almighty YouTube “community” at every darn public opportunity she gets; I can vouch for her, personally.

(see “YouTube on marketers: Won’t be ‘messing it up’” and “Google's YouTube: Not so dirty little secrets”)

What’s more, Reider is determined NOT to let those marketers go “messing up” (or “mucking up,” depending on her mood) the vaunted $1.65 billion in Google stock YouTube community, or so she declares publicly, I can vouch for her on that as well.

Maybe “marketers” won’t be allowed to “muck it up,” but “popular” so called independent video uploaders are being encouraged to do so, by Hurley, Reider...

Dignan: In every community–offline and online–there are winners and losers. Some folks perform better than others. Some become stars. Some don't.

Yes, but now the YouTube star power will be fueled (manipulated) by the desire for “monetary motivations,” in explicit contradiction to Chad’s exhortations at Davos.

YouTube: We hope that this program inspires people to keep creating original videos (to) build audiences.

YouTube: Is ‘cheating’ hurting YouTuber community? I asked in January.


All may not be well in the YouTube “community.” YouTube videos allege gaming, scamming, manipulation, abuse…of the YouTube ratings and video views counting systems, I reported.

That was before Google’s lure of “monetary rewards’ was in the video picture!

Dignan continues: YouTube is basically a cable network–it's a platform to distribute video. It's top video producers should get the ad share because they are becoming content studios. Think of LisaNova as the next Warner Bros. television studio.

Why should some person posting a home video of his kid be entitled to an ad share?

Why shouldn't “friends and family” contibutors to Google's YouTube video sharing aresenal be entitled to their own just rewards?

Afer all, the founding vision, and supposedly unequivocal operating principles, of Chad & Steve are purportedly based on such a video utopia, both pre-Google and post.

Prehaps most importantly, Google CEO Eric Schmidt does NOT position YouTube as “basically a cable network.”

Google can not, in fact, present itself as a who needs TV, video distribution destination, given its business model preference for a no need for YouTube to pay for its unauthorized distribution of the copyright video content of others.

After all, there is that matter of a $1 billion “massive copyright infringement” claim of one particular "old media" television property.

ALSO: Google CEO upholds YouTube copyright infringing business model
Web 2.0 Social Media: Voyeurs rule, not amateurs!
Google’s YouTube is DMCA takedown culprit, NOT Viacom
YouTube: Why Google is running scared