Friday, April 27, 2007

GooTube Merger Complete?

YouTube is supposed to be testing out its pre and post roll ads this week according to Businessweek (via Mashable). However, Mashable brought up an interesting business model which seems to be a perfect compliment to YouTube's parent, Google. I've been arguing for eternity that I don't believe in pre, post, or mid roll ads. We all know from our own television viewing experience that they're annoying, intrusive, and very ignorable. So, that being said, the idea was to integrate AdSense with YouTube results and "Related Videos" section. Since more and more advertisers are hopping on the YouTube bandwagon presumably they'd want their content to be seen by more and more viewers. This in turn means that they'd be willing to pay for top placement on certain tags....or will they?

I think that this is a great idea that will, in the short run, help Google recoup some of its investment in YouTube. As long as advertisers can continue to make compelling content, viewers will be enticed to click. However, this does bypass the viral aspect of YouTube. After all, when you hear/see of a viral video how do you learn about it? Maybe if someone tells you for example about the Dove Ogilvy video you'll do a search for it...maybe. Most of the time, you'll be emailed the video or linked to it or it will be embedded like this. Lost revenue for Google. But other than that, I think advertisers will really want to own certain tags, since after all they are only paying for that interaction if it happens. I also love the concept of how the sponsored videos are embedded into the YouTube widgets. Popular videos come to the top. That way, everyone is making money similar to the entire AdSense model. Another thing to be weary of though is the gaming of YouTube, that is, writing a bot that can automatically ratchet your views into the hundreds of thousands. The Butterfly Effect magnifies this by placing your video in the "most viewed" category where more and more people will be curious as to why your video was seen so many times.

Despite these issues, which I'm sure Google will somehow resolve, I love this business model for YouTube, at least for the short term where advertisers/filmmakers can purchase placement for their videos and users know that they are purchasing that space. The question of whether this concept can translate from AdSense remains to be seen....

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