Saving YouTube

you.jpgDo a Google on "YouTube Sucks" and you'll find some interesting comments. But it's not fair- YouTube is a market leader and pioneer. YouTube began last year inviting anyone to easily share videos regardless of copyrights. It quickly became the most popular video site on the web. If you want to be seen as an amateur, your quickest route to fame is still YouTube. But now free video hosting is a commodity. You can get it anywhere- including on Google Video.

With some lawsuits and the enforcement of DMCA, YouTube has started to pull videos…. even SNL skits and movie trailers. This is a tough task when you're hosting the majority of the online videos in the world. So how does YouTube NOT get Napsterized? Three steps:

1) Clean It Up: YouTube can't survive with material that is submitted by people that don't own the content. It's not sustainable. YouTube has a giant task ahead and hopefully there's a technology that can help.

2) Share the Ad Revenue: The best content creators won't give up their stuff for free. Not when there are models that allow them to profit from their creations. And eventually the eyeballs will follow the content to where it's legitimately living (especially since most of it will likely be free and ad supported). Look what happened when iTunes arrived post Napster.

3) Share Affiliate Revenue: Currently, YouTube is mostly all about YouTube. It does allow other people to grab YouTube videos, and there are plenty of sites that sustain themselves on stuff living on YouTube. But there's no affiliate revenue for these folks. As a site owner, you're eventually going to select content from Revver because you make 20% of the ad clicks.

This is a tough time for YouTube because the changes I just outlined are extremely difficult to make. It's not easy to scrub the videos clean of non copyrighted stuff. And how can you start sharing ad revenue when you haven't been to date? It's a tough proposition. And you don't want to alienate your audience by overpopulating the site with ads.

My two cents…