Bad Video News in Threes: Jumpcut is RIP. Revver Not Paying. Metacafe Cursed.

Bad news for the little guys of online video., Yahoo Video’s video and photo site, is closing. Revver has stopped paying creators. Metacafe is cursed.

Online-video tombstones

  • Today Jumpcut sent messages to its users to alert them to the demise of Jumpcut. “Very soon, we’ll be releasing a software utility that will allow you to download the movies you created on Jumpcut to your computer. We’ll send instructions to the email address on your Jumpcut account when the download utility is available,” the company said.
  • Meanwhile, as reported by, has stopped paying its creators. Former founder and the most huggable guy in online video, Steven Starr, is busy with his film, “Flow: For Love of Water.”
  • And Metacafe? Well it’s just cursed.

But don’t panic. Neilsen reports that online-video usage is up (see pdf report)… YouTube, according to Neilsen, fetched 5.5 billion views in March (and some industry analysts claim that’s under reporting). The market is “sorting itself out.” Like any industry, we’ll have two or three major options, and the rest will vanish or, better yet, go niche.

At least we still have HuluTube. And Eefoof. And the Scottish lady from “Britain’s Got Talent” that’s all the rage for her Les Mis song.


3 Things YouTube Needs ASAP

Today we have a guest contributor to the Blog the infamous Zack Scott. Noted for his dead pan humor, eclectic video work on YouTube and his love and concern for the common man. Take it away Zack!

‘My Dearest Kevin,
Here is an article for your stupid website…’

3 Things YouTube Needs ASAP
Hey, it’s me, Zack Scott. I’m not a YouTube megastar like Nalts, but I am very thankful for my decent subscriber base. I’m also thankful for YouTube. Since its introduction of the Partner’s Program, I really think that it has undeniably taken the crown as far as the best video site. YouTube’s strongest assets have always been its ease-of-use and its community. But the relatively recent Partner’s Program has really made it an invaluable platform for video producers like myself. With that said, I think there are three things YouTube desperately needs to fully outmatch any video site out there. These suggestions will not only help Partners but YouTube as well.

1. Earnings Reports Per Video

As a Partner, I get earnings based off YouTube’s ad revenue. But I think creators need more insight. I’m not asking for a look at their formulas. All I’m asking for is to have an earnings report that specifies how much money each video receives on a per-month or per-day basis. YouTube has done a fantastic job with their branding options and their demographics reports. Why can’t a Partner have an earnings report? Metacafe has had something similar for about two years.

An earnings report will solve two issues. One, I will be able to enable ads on videos that feature my friends. I will then be able to easily know how much I can distribute to them. I already have apprehension on including anyone else in my videos because I really have no ideas which videos make money. I have a lot of ideas that will require more than just myself, but I really don’t want to underpay or overpay a co-creator. Two, it will give me a look into which of my videos do better in terms of ad revenue. For all I know, my most popular pet videos could be netting me less revenue than my less popular comedy videos. This would also be beneficial for YouTube because it will make me make videos that bring me (and by virtue YouTube) more ad revenue.

2. Thumbnail Selection
With tons of video sites letting creators pick from a vast array of thumbnails to represent their videos, I’m surprised that YouTube only allows you to pick from three. This means I still have to be very careful when editing my videos to make sure the quarter mark, halfway mark, or the three-quarters mark has a decent still shot. YouTube makes everything else easy when it comes to properly categorizing, tagging, and marketing your video. What is up with their limited thumbnail capabilities?

YouTube’s current model gives Partners incentive to inject a nice-looking scene or image into the middle of their video. Sometimes this completely ruins the flow of the videos, and it often breaks the fourth wall. I believe YouTube would benefit from better thumbnail selection because people’s videos would be better, people can edit videos faster, and people wouldn’t have to upload the same video multiple times. This will save YouTube some bandwidth. I hate it when I upload a video only to find out my thumbnails look horrible or blurry!

3. Direct Linking to a Specific Time within Annotations.
YouTube has done wonders with annotations and allowing people to link to other YouTube videos within their own videos. For better or worse, this has led to the creation of a lot of interactive videos. They’ve also recently added a cool feature where you can link to a specific time in any video. Now YouTube just needs to combine the two ideas. I would love to link to a specific time in any video within an annotation!

This would allow me to make an interactive video that is one video in size. I sort of like the concept of interactive videos, but I really hate how Partners have to upload twenty different videos. Maybe this is good for them because they get more views and ad revenue that way. But, at least allow me the option so I can have just one video. This should be a very easy fix. I think it will make the viewer experience much better.

Well, those are my ideas. I’ve already e-mailed YouTube a few times about them, but these changes haven’t been implemented yet. I think the first one is crucial, whereas the others are just fluff. But YouTube has been adding a lot more fluff lately, so maybe they will add these. Feel free to e-mail them as well and let them know if you’d like to see these ideas come to fruition. Also ask them to include a wide screen video player. Thanks for reading. I love you all.

See all and more of Zack’s works @ –  BreakFacebookInstructables Metacafe PoptentRevver – Twitter –  You Tube

Kevin is a poopie head



Special WVFF Forum for Cheese Videos!

It was too hard to surf the comment threads of old WVFF posts regarding such an important topic as the Cheese Videos, so we at have created a special forum thread.

Visit the Official Will Video For Food Cheese Forum Thread now, and vote on the creator(s) who most assaulted the dignity of cheese.

If you haven’t posted a cheese video yet, it’s never too late. Just be sure to tag it with the following words:

naked cheese video american zardoz short film airplane pizzle sore feltch

Also, it’s important to add the word “VIDEO” to your title. That way it will rank high when people search Google for “CHEESE VIDEO(s).”

Hey- thanks to the Revver Editors for featuring Naked Cheese! I respect your taste.

Revver recognizes brilliance of Naked Cheese by Nalts

Vital links:


Video Sponsorship Trends: “Cashing In” or “Selling Out”

I like this “Viral Video: Cashing In or Selling Out” by Jennifer Hollett (Canadian Globe & Mail), and not just because I’m featured in it. It’s actually a well-balanced view of the issues surrounding paid sponsorship and product placement.

dixie chicks sellout like charles trippyAs you may know, there are two different ways to make money via online video. You can share in the percent of ad proceeds based on the publisher (Revver, Metacafe, and now YouTube’s Partner Program). This is easier, but low margin. And you’re at the mercy of the publisher. Currently it would appear YouTube is selling fewer InVideo ads associated with amateur content, and I’m seeing more Google Adsense copy ads or display only. InVideo ads are far, far more profitable to YouTube and creators — selling at about $20 per thousand impressions. Advertisers get much more exposure, since the ads peek up at the bottom and are interactive (a far cry better than banners that we tend to tune out). The second way a creator can profit is by working directly with brands to feature products and services for a fair fee.

If you read this blog regularly, you’ll recognize my POV on this article (worth a scan). I satirize “selling out,” but I actually think you can find a balance between helping an advertiser and entertaining. I even contend that promotion need not come at the expense of the entertainment and vice versa. That said, I do respect the opinion of Kalle Lasn, editor in chief of Adbusters magazine and author of Culture Jam. Kalle, according to the piece, feels product placement on YouTube is a sad development. Lasn says there are already between 3,000 – 5,000 marketing messages coming into the average North American brain everyday. “I don’t think we really need 5001,” he says.

The article highlights (oh I hate that word) Brandfame, which helps facilitate the interaction between creators and sponsors. I’ve also met with Placevine, which represents a number of different brands interested in tapping creators. This article references a video I made called “Viral Video Broker,” where I spoofed this industry almost two years ago exactly. (Another one of those videos I wish I had shot with a better camera, but at least I was somewhat ahead of my time… the voices were, of course, people in my offices at J&J not real weblebrities).

fortune teller

Watch for five trends in this area in 2008:

  1. Creators are going to cross the line by pushing the advertising too hard, and alienating their viewers. It will feel right for them and their sponsors, but ultimately make for a jaded bunch of viewers.
  2. Brandfame and Placevine are the signs of an emerging cottage industry that will become more vital than the labor intensive machines helping broker product placement in television and films. Online video will give brands more inventory (it’s not called the “short tail” folks), access to niche audiences, and — here’s why the legacy firms will struggle — easier scalability. You’d better make it easy for brands and creators, and take a fair portion but not excessive. Product sponsorship is the only way many brands will penetrate the vital medium of online video, because it’s a fairly ad resistant one. In the “lean forward” generation of online-video, we’ll only watch your advertising if it’s interesting or if you force us. I’d content the sustainability of the latter is weak, and you’d have trouble arguing otherwise. Enter TiVo bloink sound, or the sick delight we take shutting a browser window that “serves” a pre-roll advertising with all the tact of a bad-breathed vacuum cleaner salesman. As David Spade said as a flight attendant on SNL, “Buh bye. “
  3. The online-video sites will struggle in this area. Currently mama Google doesn’t profit if I cut my own deals with Mentos (except when Mentos flighted my video as a 30-second ad). But it’s not an area of high concern since YouTube needs to focus on scalable revenue. What happens, however, if creators join forces and agree to sell prerolls embedded in the video file… a Toyota ad pops up gently in the intros or before the “Next New Network” bumper at the end of a clip? Does YouTube take issue with this advertising that they facilitate but don’t profit on? Or is it analogous to a producer selling his show, but retaining rights to a fixed amount of the ad space (I’ve heard Ryan Seacrest does this with his show).
  4. There will be no trend four. Trend four is often wrong, which itself is a growing trend.
  5. The backlash associated with hidden sponsorship is far from over. I wish there was a law that required film makers to disclose any paid advertisers, even though I know much of the “product placement” is offered free by directors. Federal Express, for instance, does not often pay to have its boxes appear in a film. The directors want the film to feel authentic, and seek permission not pay from FedEx to avoid needing to distract viewers with a Garbagepatch Kids-like bastardization of FedEx (FoodEx). In the end, however, I feel like the video creator owes me, as the viewer, disclosure. If you’re getting paid to hold a Mountain Dew, more power to you. Just let me know, so I don’t feel like you’re being sneaky every time your camera pans a mall and I see logos.

The Attack of the Killer How-To Video Sites

Lately it’s “The Attack of the Killer How-To Videos Sites.” We’ve already seen ExpertVillage, Instructables, AOL’s How To, VideoJug, and of course YouTube’s How-To section.

While uploading on this morning, I noticed three more sites that have surfaced. Most of these models depend exclusively on advertising revenue. While that’s a nice interim model for targeted buys, I do see the potential for sites and creators to post modest fees for instructional videos.

If it was “iTunes” easy to buy a “how to” video, you’d probably pay a modest fee for “just-in-time” learning. Anything to avoid the instructional manual, attending a class or hiring a pro. Here are some examples:

  1. Although it’s got a laughable web 2.0 name and brand, Slipo is somewhat unique. It’s more fo a social learning network for teaching through video & webcam. People can meet others of common interests, and engage in live, personalized webcam classes (members can schedule appointments, charge fees, and re-watch their live classes later for additional practice).
  2. HowCast is probably “the one to watch,” since it has recently signed distribution agreements with, Metacafe and Bebo. Those join a collection of distribution agreements with Myspace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO. It doesn’t hurt that it’s founded by veterans from YouTube and 3 from Google. Howcast provides advertising revenue-sharing income for user-generated content and professional video.
  3. 5 Minute is a place to find “short video solutions for practical questions,” and a place for people to share their knowledge. The idea behind 5min, of course, is to focus solutions that can be visually explained in no more than 5 minutes.

And if you don’t like what you see, find a free Web 2.0 platform and aggregate your own “how to” videos around some ridiculously niche topic. Or just create your very own revenue-producing “How To” video using Revver (see a video I made back in Sept. 2006). Better buy one of these coin counters (see video) to help sort your pennies.

While you’re at it, please create a “how to” video on attracting weary advertisers.

Pete Cashmore reviews some of the best “how to” video sites at, including (a site that aggregates them but isn’t working as of this writing).

Top Secret YouTube Tricks & Hacks

Okay maybe “top secret” is an over statement, but most readers of this post will find a few surprises here. I give you some of the lesser known tricks on YouTube to optimize your experience as a viewer or creator…

  1. Find Best Videos on YouTube
    Don’t surf the homepage or most-recently uploaded section if you want to find the best videos. There are two places to go… the “top rated” section and the “most viewed.” I prefer the latter, because the community decides what’s lands there. Note that some creators live on this page because their fans rate them 5 stars without fail, so it’s not all good. There are also a few people that are “gaming the system” by artificially rating themselves 5 stars with sock accounts or autobots (boo, hiss). If you like vloggers, check the “most discussed” section of “People and Blogs.” You can also surf the “most subscribed” creators (by category) and when you find someone good (say, for example, Nalts) be sure to subscribe. Then visit your subscription page first, which is like an RSS for new videos by your favorite creators.
  2. Watch Blocked Videos.
    See previous post on this blog to see how to hack YouTube if a video’s URL is blocked by your ISP.
  3. See “Recently Deleted” Videos.
    Delutube and ReviveTube allow you to find deleted videos if you know the 11-digit URL. Source: ReelPopBlog.
  4. Make Your Videos Upoad Faster.
    Apparently SpeedBit Video VideoAccelorator makes YouTube videos load more quickly. It works for other sites as well (see site details at
  5. Upload to YouTube and a Bunch of Other Sites at Once.
    I use TubeMogul whenever I want to upload beyond YouTube on a mess ofwebsites including, currently, Yahoo!, MySpace, Metacafe, Google, Revver, DailyMotion,, Veoh, Crackle & StupidVideos.
  6. Reference a Video in Comments Section.
    You can post a URL in the comment section of videos, but you can provide the 11-digit alphanumeric code, and then people can post this before it:
  7. Get More Views on YouTube
    I’ve written a free eBook about how to promote yourself on YouTube (“How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent“), and there are other books including this 25-pager I haven’t read.
  8. Download YouTube Videos
    This is a post with some tips, but I like VideoBox from (but it’s Mac only). KeepVid can download videos as FLV files pretty quickly. I’m also using Snapz Pro or Snagit to grab short sections of videos very quickly.
  9. Upload Videos for Best YouTube Quality
    For starters, you gotta export your videos in the best resolution possible — that means making them larger files (mine are 100 megs or more) and ensuring all the specifications are YouTube friendly. Trippy’s blog covers these specs well. Some argue that it’s best to convert it to an FLV per YouTube specifications before uploading, but I don’t like the idea of sending YouTube anything compressed so tightly.
  10. Subscribe to Someone When You Can’t.
    YouTube accounts without videos don’t have a “subscribe” option. To get around this (or to make it easy for people to subscribe to you), use this code, substituting the profile name where I have “Nalts.”

What did I miss? I’m updating this!

The Secret to Happiness (3-minute video)

the secre tto hapinessFree 3-minute video that’s guaranteed (or your money back) to bring you to deep inner happiness.

It’s all based on music therapy, and it’s been proven in clinical trials by the 11 people that have watched this on Revver. I can’t post it to YouTube because the Partners are on strike. And ChristopherMast is leaving YouTube forever. And Chris Crocker is getting his own E! Show.

Folks, I give you “The Secret to Happiness.” I know I spelled it wrong (hapiness). That was, um, a search-engine trick.

Secrets of The YouTube Homepage

ZackScott. I’m not sure when I started watching his stuff, but it was on Then I drifted off to YouTube. He cracked intoMetacafe, where he’s earned more than $17K with his pathetically unfunny pet videos. But for every video of his cat, Otto, there’s another that puts mine to shame. Can anyone top The Bird and the Egg? Or Carwash? These are insta-classics.

This is a guest post from Zack, since he was recently featured on YouTube’s homepage and now is officially on his way to viralness. This Tom Green Flyers video shows you he’s able to mute his social anxiety with an admirable ease.

ZackScott Mario Homepage YouTube

Hello, I’m Zack Scott, and my recent video “Amazing Nintendo Facts” was recently featured on YouTube’s front page. Since then the video has been viewed over 1.5 million times. It is currently the most-viewed comedy video this week and the second most viewed video overall this week on YouTube. I wish it were #1 on both lists, but you don’t expect me to overcome Barack Obama’s “A More Perfect Union” speech do you?

Sorry if it sounds like I’m bragging. Honestly, I feel both proud and lucky right now. Frankly, I’m ecstatic! So, I decided to payback the community in the form of advice based on my recent experience. Hopefully this will be short and digestible. But first, I can’t take absolute credit for the number of views. After all, I don’t have the power to put videos on the front page. So I would like to thank YouTube’s staff. But here are some things that I think helped:

  1. Thumbnail: A YouTube front-page feature can’t get you over a million views on its own. Just look at the current lineup. You have to have a clean presentation. The most important aspect of this is an interesting thumbnail. For my thumbnail, you’ll see that there’s a nice, clean, close-up shot of me dressed as Mario. That should be enough to peak any casual viewer’s interest. The video below mine has over 2 million views mainly because of the half-naked girl for a thumbnail.

  2. Be Precise: It is important to tell the audience what your video is about before they even view it. If the thumbnail isn’t enough to do it, then the title and description should be. From the title, viewers can tell my video contains facts about Nintendo. The description further lays out what kind of facts they’ll be watching and how many.

  3. Topicality/Nostalgia: It won’t be possible for all of your videos to include topicality and/or nostalgia, but it just so happened my video embraced both. Nintendo currently has the top selling console out, plus many YouTubers and Internet users grew up with Nintendo and video games in general. Seeing Nintendo in the title probably made them want to click.

  4. Be Memorable: Breaking a million views requires your video to go viral. A video cannot go viral unless it is memorable. I couldn’t rely on the easy-to-digest facts about Nintendo to carry the video alone, so I included some bizarre humor as well. Half of the comments I got was about Nintendo. The other half was about my cats and how gay I looked in a bathrobe (Editor’s note from KN: Zack does look gay in a bathrobe, so I stand by that comment).

  5. Spread It Yourself: I upload to many sites in hopes that my videos will pick up steam wherever they can. I will also email relevant blogs about my videos. Simply put, the more places your video resides, the more likely it is to go viral. In fact, my video was on the front page of some Nintendo blogs and eBaum’s World before it was featured on YouTube’s front page. This helped the video get on search engines and go viral beforehand.

  6. The Snowball Effect: Subscribers are your lifeblood on sites like YouTube. Unfortunately, they are the hardest part to acquire, and they only come with time and dedication. “Amazing Nintendo Facts” got a strong initial boost due to my subscribers rating and commenting on it. I can’t thank them enough. Their actions helped the video climb the list of most viewed and highest ranked comedy videos, which in turn helped the video get more views. It’s basically a snowball effect. To get more subscribers it is important to network, collaborate on videos, address your fans, and make frequent good-quality videos. The more you do, the more you’ll receive. For example, a large portion of my subscribers was gained when Christopher Mast featured “Amazing President Facts” on YouTube’s front page last year. But that wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t got acquainted with Mast through Nalts. Again, it’s the snowball effect. One day I hope to pay him back! Check out his song “No One to Blame.” –

Well I hope this advice comes in handy. It may not guarantee a successful video, but these are good rules to follow for general use. I hope it doesn’t make me sound arrogant or pretentious. Any success I have gained is mainly because of my subscribers and people like you. All of the views in the world would be worthless without the community and feedback I receive. So, thank you for reading and thanks to those out there who watch my videos. -Zack

What Does Google’s Acquisition of DoubleClick Mean to Online Video?

Google closed on the acquisition of DoubleClick today, and issued this statement to address concerns (continued Dart service, as well as privacy provisions).

As a buyer of interactive media (primarily paid search but also targeted display), I like this deal. Google’s muscle, innovation and discipline from the paid search origins means this could enhance the metrics around otherwise cute but unaccountable display ads. I’m tired of the “let’s do another bloated consumer survey to find out what display does to awareness, recall and intent.” There’s got to be a way to get conversion rates tied better to display, and if anyone can now prove the “one-two-punch” theory of paid ‘n display (think chocolate and peanut butter yummy), Google now can. And should.

marketing text booksOh, I almost forgot. Here’s my “Enlightened Stupid Marketers” video I posted this morning to spoof my profession, and it touches on the impact of friggin’ newspaper ads versus paid search.  Did you know that stupid marketers have two choices: to remain stupid, or pretend not to be? The core YouTube audience really doesn’t care much for these niche videos, but readers of WVFF might.

Where was I? Oh. Now here’s the challenge. This deal kinda makes some online media buyers a little twitchy, as some get threatened by consolidation downstream. Some of those flickering-bulb types (you know- the pretty ones that talk too much if they talk at all) will feel they’re one step closer to being as obsolete as their moms or older sisters who were, naturally, travel agents. Maybe they should be doing PR afterall?

candy cornIn reality, the online media mix is dynamic and will always require smart, strategic buyers. It’s just that they’re only about 10 of them in the world, and 7 of them lose their charm exactly 6.5 days after they win the new account. Like Candycorn, the first few handfuls are delicious, and then suddenly you feel like you’re eating sweetened candles and can’t stand the site of them. You loved the little puppies in the litter, and now they’re just pissing on the furniture, biting the couch and barking all night.

So get to the damned point, Nalts. What does this acquisition mean to video? Well, probably nothing initially. But long term it’s good news for two reasons:

  1. Text ads are currently more relevant than display ads around videos. Since Revver hasn’t been selling many single-frame display ads these days, we’re seeing the Google-run text ads (Adsense) served “InVid” style. Guess what? They’re actually relevant and capture my attention more than current display ads. I watch a lot of videos, and have developed ad anethesia for the limited number of CPG companies doing “run of site” ads across YouTube. Don’t stop, guys. I owe my YouTube partner income to you.
  2. Since it’s Google buying Doubleclick (and not the other way around), we’ll see display develop some of the maturity of paid search. Harnass the visceral medium of InVid (quarter frame ads) with their sister display ads, then add the relevance of text relevancy. And if the databases can be merged in ways that don’t freak out the privacy people, then ads become even more relevant albiet sometimes creepy.

Now Google has two more challenges to make video advertising really interesting.

  1. The Google account teams have to grow beyond paid search. This is not an easy transition. SEM (search engine marketing) buyers have a very hard time with CPM (cost per million- a term for buying for an ad based on impressions not performance). Meanwhile SEM sellers need to be trained to talk to CPM junkies. It’s kinda like being bilingual. You need a translator around for a period. Currently, it’s a buyer’s market for video advertising. I am convinced that the “marketers are afraid of buying ads around CGM (consumer generated media)” hype is a big, fat, stinkin’ red herring. It’s just that nobody is showing marketers how online video ads and more creative sponsorships can move their business. Google plus YouTube plus DART should be able to pull that off, but it’s going to require behavior and organizational shift.
  2. Now the big challenge. If I get a CPC (cost per click) based on text ads around my videos, then I’ll tag them all with free Viagra, mortgage, loans, lawers and digital camera.  So we need that ever-evasive “text recognition” technology that turns my droaning voice into targetable text. Blinkx was supposed to be doing this years ago. Then, of course, I’ll just start saying all those tag words as part of my scripts. 🙂