YouTube Haters

Asi who writes the excellent No Man’s Blog left a comment yesterday about the fact that slating YouTube is very much the in-thing to do right now. And he left me a link or two.

Having read a bit more around the topic it seems to be shaping up into an interesting-ish debate. There seems to be a few camps forming, broadly lovers, doubters and haters. I think I’m a lover / doubter fence-sitter. And here’s why:

I love YouTube because…

  • It’s made online video easy and accessible. No hassle with special software.
  • It’s easy to upload stuff in almost any format.
  • It’s set the bar for quality at an attainable level for most people.
  • Access to amazing things that have been languishing in archives.
  • As far as I’m aware they were one of the champions of portable video (i.e. you can take it and embed it anywhere you like).
  • The community is there (if you want to engage with it), you can almost ignore it if not and just use it to host your clips.
  • It feels like it ‘gets’ its place on the web.

I doubt YouTube because…

  • There’s a lot of complicated rights issues that make my head hurt.
  • Lots of big established companies feel threatened, even if they do deals with many of them, there’ll still be plenty left out in the cold, looking for their payout.
  • Lawyers like making money.

A thought: Assuming that the YouTube community is a big part of its value. How much do YouTube users (viewers and publishers) love YouTube? If it came to a massive legal battle how much would people pay to save it? What’s the perception of value of unlimited (arguably low-grade) video entertainment?

Would people chip-in $5 each, $10 or $50? Or would we hear the plops of millions of video-rats diving into the sea as the good ship YouTube sinks? (And I’m not saying it will, just to be clear…)

Communities didn’t really act in any meaningful way when Napster and Audiogalaxy were shut down a few years ago. But in those cases the legalities were much more obvious. And the communities far more niche, and (from memory) smaller.

I’d quite like to see ‘The Entertainment Industries of the World’ vs ‘The People of YouTube’ as a court case.

4 thoughts on “YouTube Haters”

  1. Thanks Iain.

    “Assuming that the YouTube community is a big part of its value” – this is exactly where I get on the doubters fence. In my view YouTube lacks the touch of the ‘devoted-community’ (real value) in contrast to ‘utilitarianism-community’ (quasi-value), and Napster is a great example since the vast majority of Napster users were there primarily for the free tunes. (Flickr would be a fine example for a platform for various ‘devoted communities’)

    So if, and only if, the YT ship will sink, don’t expect thousends of fans outside the courtroom…


  2. Asi, I suspect you’re spot on.
    Which is a shame really. I’d love to think that there was some loyalty there. But it feels a lot like YouTube is an enabler and not much more. People like what they get through it, not what IT is.

  3. exactly.

    Only the future will tell whether real communities of interest will evoleve within YouTube or outside it in a niche sites. I can think of many prospect communities like, young animators, classic-oldies lovers, great momments in sport fans, great holywood moments and finally, the biggest UGC promise – the wikiTV.


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