I just got an e-mail from a blogging buddy. This blogger loves YouTube and finds a variety of interesting entertainment on the site — old music videos and TV shows, mainly — rarely anything current or widely popular.
Lately, he’s been getting frustrated because so much of what he’s previously embedded on his site has disappeared from YouTube because of the increasingly vigilant IP police. He wonders if he should just delete every embedded post he’s ever done and stop with the YT video.
My take: Why stop. Your posts that are more than a week old are way down the long tail by now, so I wouldn’t worry about them, and if you find something interesting and get a week’s worth of traffic out of it, that’s a good ROI.
As background, my position on YouTube has never been that it is popular for just one reason. I’ve heard people say that YT would falter once it lost all its pirated video. Not true, I’ve said, because underneath all the IP content is a vibrant community of original content creators and social networkers. There is a lot of value in YT even without clips of Rockford Files and Sly and Family Stone.
But my bet is that most of the bloggers who embed YT video pick stuff that is IP and is subject to eventual takedown.
Which raises the question — how long before the viral value of YT’s content model is stymied? Sharing won’t stop, and some original YT content is going to have a, “hey, Martha, take a look at this” appeal, but not a lot of it.
Where I’m going with this is: YouTube is changing. Competitors are lining up to try and kill it, IP owners are getting aggressive, and its core competitive advantages are easy to replicate. YouTube is a great brand, but brand may not be enough to protect Google’s $1.6 billion investment.
As users become more disenchanted with YouTube (through no real fault of YT), the more dispersed and distributed (less aggregated) video model I see emerging will become more powerful.