YouTube Community Receives “Foundation Award” from IRTS

The YouTube Community received a “Foundation Award” from the International Radio and Television Society Foundation. This is a prestigious award that has been given to such accomplished broadcasters as David Letterman, Donald Trump and Katie Couric (who attended the Nov. 16 awards breakfast in NYC to present an award to CBS Correspondent Kimberly Dozier).

I’m honored to have received this award on behalf of the YouTube Community. Here’s a video announcing the award, and showing some of the highlights of the event. I’m humbled, and grateful that YouTube passed the award to us. I’ll be sending the glass trophy (once I super glue it back together) to other YouTubers, and hopefully it will circulate the globe in videos.


Top 7 Theories: Why YouTube Decided to Pay Creators… Finally

stand3.jpgOkay. I’ve been urging YouTube to share advertising revenue since before I started this blog a year ago. They finally decided to do so today.

This was one of WillVideoforFood’s top 10 predictions for 2007. Needless to say, we’re very excited (see our video reaction). But why now? Top 7 theories.

  1. YouTube sensed the defection to LiveVideo, and is using ad sharing to hold on to creators (which will, in turn, keep viewers).
  2. Major media companies are demanding it, and YouTube knows it would be risky to pay some creators and not all.
  3. Chad Hurley, YouTube cofounder, had too much wine at the economic summit and decided to show he has a heart. Forgot to tell Google.
  4. Revver was starting to overtake YouTube’s traffic. Kidding.
  5. It’s the only way to ensure the site’s viability now that almost anyone can replicate community.
  6. It’s the right thing to do. Current contributors are attracting eyeballs and creating advertising revenue. Take Judson Laipply (Evolution of Dance creator- as seen in image). He’s approaching 40 million views. Do you realize how much advertising revenue that represents for YouTube? Even a couple pennies a view would have made him a millionaire.
  7. Google supported it — similar to the way they handle Adwords/Adsense.

Google is “Friend Not a Foe”

gootube.jpgMartin Sorrell, chairman and chief executive of advertising giant WPP Group, recently used the term “Frenemy” to describe Google.

But David Eun, Google’s vice president of content partnerships, is fostering a “friend not foe” approach, according to the LaTimes. Eun, the former NBC and Time Warner Inc. executive, is Google’s ambassador to the television, movie, publishing and local-media industries.

Trust him, folks. This GooTube Conspiracy thing is all in your head.

Oh- here’s the season opener if you’re following it. Subscribe here.

YouTube Ends 2006 With Technical, Customer Support Fiasco

problems.jpgYouTube is ending 2006 with dozens of technical support problems, and customer service that is reminiscent of AOL when it had a virtual monopoly. In fact, YouTubers have organized a “Bed In” to bring the company’s attention to problems. Ironically many can’t participate because the site, for days, hasn’t accepting videos in a timely manner. My videos in the past 24 hours have been held in a cue despite confirmation messages. And YouTube’s “recent” section shows that there are gaps of time where very few videos made it live (relative to the massive amounts that are uploaded typically).

Technical problems in the past weeks have included:

  • Severe problems with messages and comments
  • Videos are encrypted beyond recognition. Look at this one.
  • Loads of spam in YouTube mail
  • Errors reporting the quantity of mail
  • Several days of chronic bugs related to uploading videos
  • And now, in the past 24 hours, the site confirms uploads but doesn’t post them. Most of mine have vanished, and others have appeared 10-14 hours later.

In recent months I’ve come to appreciate YouTube and the powerful community it has fostered. I’ve met people via YouTube and have collaborated with fellow YouTubers on The GooTube Conspiracy (which mocks the power accumulated by Google and YouTube).

But it’s perplexing how indifferent YouTube has appeared despite this technical fiasco. The response is less excusable than the technical snags:

  • I’ve never received a response from a message sent to customer service or technical support. Not once.
  • There have not been messages on YouTube that alert people to the problem, or plan to fix it. At best we’ll see occasional red error messages when certain functionality (like uploading) is down.
  • YouTube’s technical support fails to alert YouTubers through their YouTube mail (or e-mail) when problems arise.
  • There’s virtually no way to reach YouTube via phone

phone.jpgThis is a stark contrast from the way other video sites handle problems. Revver has been one of the less stable sites, but uses its blogs and forums to update users.’s founders answer problems via their cell phones at dinner.

YouTube has obviously been swarmed with users, videos and customer-support and technical inquiries. And there’s a certain amount of this that can be explained by rapid growth. But some of these issues can be addressed simply by communicating. But YouTube appears to be sweeping the issues under the carpet.

Here’s hoping the site has a New Year’s Resolution to stabilize its technology and improve its communication with users. The community is tight, but if there was a viable alternative I’d suspect an exile of many users in 2007. Especially since many of the traditional portal sites are beginning to recognize the power of community, and rapidly developing tools to foster it.

Top 10 Online-Video Predictions for 2007

sit.jpgI pulled out my crystal ball this morning, and I’m predicting the most significant online-video highlights of 2007.

I’ll be citing these selectively at the end of 2007 (only those in which I was right).

Okay I didn’t use a crystal ball. This video tells a better story about the process I used to arrive at these today.

  1. Online video and television collide then converge. We’ve seen small steps toward this, but they’re trivial relative to what will happen in 2007. We’re first going to see some territorializing between online-video players and larger networks and media distributors. Then we’ll start to see great partnerships between major networks and online video sites, as well as deals with Verizon, Comcast and TiVo that give online video creators much broader exposure.
  2. Consolidation of online video sites will increase exponentially. Eventually there will be only a small hand-full of sites (GooTube, AOL, Yahoo) where people upload videos, because those sites will gain critical mass and cut exclusive deals upstream. Almost every industry starts with hundreds of players, consolidates to a dozen, and finally matures with 2-3 major entities. Small sites will get acquired or fade. There will still be niche sites like and special-interest sites.
  3. amanda.jpgViral video creators will “cross over” to television. We saw Amandon Congdon make the leap from Rocketboom to ABC recently. People with talent, like ZeFrank, will land a short segment on The Daily Show or some other television show. Ultimately this will make ZeFrank’s bloated ego explode — something we hope occurs live on Good Morning America. A few name-brand stars will decide they can move online without the hassle of networks. I don’t see any of these succeeding initially, but as the audience for “online video” surpasses (in some areas) television viewers, it will be hard for them to resist.
  4. Many television shows will develop online manifestations. This will include “behind the scenes” shots, extended storylines, and interactions with the show. Some shows will invite submissions by amateurs and even cast amateurs to participate.
  5. Consortiums will form for economies of scale. Viacom/Fox/NBC/CBS are already toying with an anti-YouTube play. This is as impossible to resist as it is to achieve airlift. Other consortiums will succeed. I see groups of independent online video amateurs forming copperatives to market their content to networks, or networks organizing the coops. Shows like RabbitBites will have higher odds of moving to mainstream when connected with similar content.
  6. Select amateur video creators will begin to make a full-time living without “crossing over” to television. Metacafe‘s CEO Arik Czerniak recently told me he anticipates his top amatuer creators will make six-figure incomes in 2007. I think he’s right. I’d also watch for people earning high revenue via Revver if the company rapidly expands its viewer base through affiliate/syndicate partnerships.
  7. crystal_ball_juggling.jpgA major news story will break via live (or close to live) footage by “citizen journalists” holding cameras. Remember the impact of the Rodney King footage? Consider how more of these we’ll see now that so many of us are equipped with cell phones that record video. And eventually we’ll see live footage from a cell phone in a major news story — a robbery, hostage situation or natural disaster. If the reporters can address the nation live via satellite, why can’t the amateur videographer via a video-enabled cell phone? It will look like garbage, but it will be horrifically real.
  8. Marketers will get smarter about how they gain consumer mindshare through online video. The self-created viral videos will give way to more creative partnerships between brands and top video creators. These deals will be efficient for marketers, and highly profitable for video creators with low budgets. We’ll see increasingly fewer $250K viral video series created by agencies, and more low-budget, fun videos that were inspired by amateurs but get the media support of advertising budgets.
  9. lonelygirl15.jpgReal vs. fake will be a major 2007 theme. People don’t understand that some videos are designed to be “story telling,” and others are real footage. LonelyGirl15 was an example of a deliberate ruse, but many other “are they real or not” videos are endlessly dissected by comments. This will catch media’s attention, since they’ll enjoy raising viewer concerns about the integrity and validity of this threatening medium.
  10. The “big boy” sites are going to start sharing advertising revenue with select creators like some smaller sites (Revver, Metacafe, Blip, Brightcove, Lulu). That means Google, YouTube, Yahoo and AOL will finally realize that good content means eyeballs. And eyeballs means more revenue.

12 Days of Web 2.0 Christmas

12days.jpgHere’s my new holiday song. I think it’s going to be a life-long classic. The 12 Days of Web 2.0 Christmas. Feel free to sing along. I’ve provided the lyrics. I spared you from the full, repetitive version.

GooTube Conspiracy Needs Script Blueprint

gootube.jpgWe’ve issued a press release on the GooTube Conspiracy, and the “participative storytelling” has taken some interesting directions even since we wrote the release.

Here’s the creative challenge. The various plot branches are missing a trunk, as one of the videographers mentioned last night. Some of the characters — who submitted videos unsolicited — are asking for direction because they want to ensure their videos are relevant. So now it seems to want to shift from an organic to a more prescriptive storyline.

With that, we’re assembling some of the core players to develop the motive, prime plot and roles of individual characters. We’re using Stickam to brainstorm, and it’s probably one of the wildest projects on which I’ve ever worked. Most of us don’t know each other and are on totally different timelines… a woman in Paris who stays up to 6 a.m., a waiter in NYC that works the night shift, a PR professional that has a day job, and a high school teacher. Basic practicalities set in. Today I needed to update the storyline without being in the same location as one character. So he recorded his part and e-mailed me the audio file. We’re not really together in this clip called “Sleepless & Confused.”

matrix.jpgThis will eventually reach a peak, and we want to end it before it gets old. As Highlander says: “Better to burn out than to fade away.” In the meantime, we’re trying to focus the various contributors so that there’s a progressive storyline. It needs to build to something interesting and then have conflict and resolution. Dang- maybe I should have gone to film school instead of getting this stupid MBA.

If any of you have ideas, or know someone that’s interested in helping develop a “blueprint” of a plot… we’re all ears! Naturally we can’t pay because none of us have figured out how to make a dime on this. Maybe a sponsor will surface?

I’ve embedded my favorite video of the series. Here’s a guy that I would never have met, and we spoke at lunch yesterday for the first time.

GooTube Conspiracy

gootube-conspiracy.jpgThe GooTube Conspiracy is becoming interactive. If you’re new to this, here’s the story. Steven Chen and Chad Hurley kidnapped me for reasons I can’t explain. My theory is that I did some anti-YouTube rants back in the 1970s and someone told them. Now I’ve been “on the run” from them. On the advice of some viewers I’ve now abandoned my car and I’m on foot.

I’ve gotten some video responses to help me get to the bottom of this. To catch up on the series, here’s the collection so far.

These are not shot in advance- I’m in as much suspense about the next video as the subscribers.

I just parked the domain in case YouTube takes away my account.

The YouTube Guide Promotes “Lesser Known” Tubers

youtubeguide.jpgI’ve only recently discovered The YouTube Guide (YTGuide). Each episode is hosted by a YouTube person who identifies some of their favorite video posters. The channel was started by Jim (SuicidalPassion) and is currently edited by Vicky (LestyoubeJudged). YouTube Guide, says Vicky, is “owned by all and the intent to feature lesser known people on YouTube.”

Recent guest host, Holly Haynes, featured my “Bawling is Beautiful” in her recent episode. For reasons I can’t explain, this was more exciting to me than appearing on a television network. There’s something so simple about Holly’s videos. She’s a mother of two and an ovarian cancer surviver. See her other YouTube profile, Haynes1994, (which I first thought was another LonelyGirl15 sponsored by Haynes) and her Xanga page by clicking here.
It’s the “TV Guide” of YouTube, and the gang is entertaining us while helping us find other video creators.