Battered User Syndrome: YouTube and Online Monopolies

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Who would have thought the market would be so beholden to YouTube’s inside-out design… half way through 2008? By now, I would have predicted that Web 2.0 would offer us endless options for customizing a video experience using someone else’s player. They can pay for the bandwidth and make ad revenue, but please allow us to customize, widgitize, and private-labelize.  You know- the open source, altruistic dream that borne Revver, and its open source API (whatever the hell that is).

Nope. Maybe that’s in the Web 3.0 upgrade. Not now. No soup for you.

Alas, market dominance means you innovate on your own terms. YouTube and Google were designed to solve a problem its founders felt, but the market didn’t quite know it needed. That works well when you’re in start-up mode or innovating, but can inadvertently spawn arrogance that hardcore users begin to resent. I’ve been an informal adviser to several smaller video-sharing sites, and found it very rewarding when those sites responded to our needs (or at least convinced us they were). Note: I disclose these relationships and they’re not paid — otherwise I’d lose my objectivity on them. And risk hating one less than another.

Now lately I’ve been confronted with some needs that are on the edge of YouTube’s functionality. So I did what any YouTube Partner would do: I went to both my dedicated YouTube technical liaison, Eric, and community representative, Brenda, to solve these issues. 
No I’m just kidding. They don’t take my calls either.

No, friends, we’ve got battered user syndrome.We don’t expect YouTube to fix itself. It’s tired after a long day of work, and we did spill its beer on the counter. So we’ll search for our own tools we can use on top of YouTube… despite it. The bad news is that we’re limited to offering this to people via channels we can control. The good news is that they solve problems that YouTube doesn’t see, doesn’t care about, or views as off strategy. The more bad news is that we don’t know what tools are safe or effective.

Suppose you had a cheese playlist and wanted to randomize it (like the Oreo contest entries) so each video gets a fair shot at being first. Or maybe you’re using the playlists as a free, copyright-violating jute box. Well you can’t do that. You’d want the Randomize YouTube Playlist script (mind you I’m not vouching for these things- I wouldn’t know what to do with them even if I could get past the porn ads and download them).

Then there’s the YouTube Search Script. I suppose that one allows you to customize search and embed videos based on parameters? Then there’s the “YouTube Script” which represents itself as a poor man’s custom YouTube (with that impossible promise, I’m guessing it’s a virus that turns your monitor into a camera and broadcasts your life 24/7 in Stickam). I am having fun playing with (which is kinda like YouTube’s overlay tools on steroids). But I may do a promotion video for… so more on that later. And don’t give me crap about promoting them because it’s like a skateboarder endorsing a skateboard brand. It’s cool. It’s why I pimp TubeMogul for free.

Anyway- share your own YouTube hacks below (not the zillion YouTube rippers, thank you). And don’t expect Eric or Brenda to call you back. Nope. Leave it to Web 2.0 to foster a monopoly where we love a website even when it beats us. We deserve the beating, though. We didn’t behave, and the website is under a lot of stress lately.

P.S. I dare someone to turn this post into a video blog and make it look like they’re not scripted. I’ll add a link here if you do. You gotta do it like Pat Condell… with articulation and enough emotion that you don’t look like you’re reading.

P.P.S. Domestic violence is not funny. Go get help, please, if you experience it. I am just using the analogy to exaggerate the learned helplessness we face with some technologies.

16 Replies to “Battered User Syndrome: YouTube and Online Monopolies”

  1. What are you babbling about? You can customize a video player using the YouTube Chromeless Player they provide. The chromeless player is a barebones player so you can fully customize the look of the controls and how it behaves. It is controllable by JavaScript. Do a search for Ext JS YouTube Player for an example. Then there is the open source Flowplayer for Flash video and the JW FLV Media Player which supports closed captions. Subtitle Horse is a tool to translate flv-videos online and get the subtitle-code in different formats, like TimedText. Microsoft offers a variety of video players and free streaming video storage to support its new Silverlight technology.

  2. All i read was the disclaimer at the bottom about domestic violence.

    I think that makes me a bad blog…reader…

  3. First of all, it’ “juke” box, not “jute” box. (And it’s one word, i.e., “jukebox”)

    Second, I actually read the whole thing. That makes be a better blog reader than BSoN or sukatra.

    Third, I don’t care.

  4. ” sore alter ass kindergarten feltch program” is the funniest string i found in mine. It would have been so muc funnier, however, if it said AFTER instead of ALTER.

  5. Wait, what are we talking about? I wasn’t really paying attention.

    Add a picture of an alligator with a chef’s hat or something wacky in this post Nalts, and then maybe I’ll read it through.

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