Verizon Wireless announced today that it is to offer YouTube videos to its cell phone customers who subscribe to the company's Vcast service. So after much talk, mobile access to YouTube becomes a reality - well sort of. You see Verizon has got it all horribly wrong. Rather than let customers access online video (from any site) as part of their regular data plan - doing so breaks the TOS - they are required to subscribe to an additional service (Vcast) which will give them access to 'selected' content from YouTube. That's right - the powers above that are Verizon will get to decide which YouTube content its customers can access - and it's unclear on what criteria this will be based. By imposing this restriction Verizon breaks the most important factor in YouTube's success and popularity - its viral power.
Imagine the scenario: a friend sends you an email with a cool YouTube video link. Click on that link via your cell phone and woops, it's not one that has been preselected by the Verizon gods - so you're out of luck. The same applies to browsing various blogs which contain embedded YouTube videos. In breaking the link between the videos it serves and the rest of the internet, Verizon misses the whole point of YouTube and kills the experience dead.