Friday, May 4, 2007

Monetizing YouTube? ... Not Yet

On YouTube's blog the "YouTube" team mentions that they are going to begin to share revenue with their more popular users outside of their "partners." Partners currently include the biggest traffic drivers to their site like the NBA, CBS, lonelygirl15, and NBC. Now they are going to share revenue with popular users like LisaNova, renetto, and smosh. Revenue share will include participation in Google's Adsense network. This announcement also comes off the heals of Afterworld ('s foray into online video content) was announcement (via Mashable) as the first test of YouTube's ad program.

A few very simple questions spring to mind with these announcements. First and foremost: Why don't they share revenue with everyone? YouTube is easily gamed and they are sharing revenue with channels that have the most subscribers or views. You could easily build a bot to knock your views onto the Most Watched list or create many accounts to build your subscription list. And if its a logistical matter of paying out small amounts, have a threshold amount (like $5), similar to Revver. Secondly, this revenue sharing system (of clicking on AdSense ads) doesn't really work. Maybe its my content but I've tried it out (also via Revver) and perhaps its Revver's smaller advertiser base but I've never really had the desire to click on an image based Revver ad let alone a text based Google Adsense ad. Thirdly, most people watch YouTube content not on YouTube but via YouTube's embedded player. (See yesterday's post on Prom Queen and MySpace).
Overall, though, I do have to applaud YouTube for making an effort. They're hit with a billion dollar lawsuit. They're probably getting a lot of heat from shareholders about their ROI ($15 million in revenue vs $1.7 billion purchase price). I'm not sure what this Afterworld model will look like but I hope it keeps the viral aspect of YouTube going with a way to embed the ad within the content.

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