Naked Cheese (updated!)

Naked cheese video. See explanation below. This explanation will be deleted in 24 hours.

A PROFOUND apology to WillVideoForFood readers. The idea of a pure cheese video was spawned from this post about 3 rules of viral video. I got a “dare you to make a video about cheese” note from a regular WVFF contributor who wasn’t aware of the full thread (see it here)… which called for a coordinated cheese-only video campaign.

I was tickled by the simple challenge of posting a vide simply showing a piece of cheese being opened. But if there’s one thing funnier than a random video about cheese… it’s a bunch of them.

So although I’ve inadvertently jumped the gun on the campaign, we must continue this cause. It’s our duty. I could easily take this video down if people need more time. But it will only take a minute for you to upload your cheese video, and 99% of people won’t know about the time lag.

PLEASE? And post it below. This text will be deleted shortly.

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.

Selling Out? Cashing In? The Canadian Perpective…

Canadian publication “Globe and Mail” did a story about viral video: cashing in or cashing out. I’m mentioned a few times in the piece, and it’s an interesting exposition… Jennifer Hollett takes on a variety of views about the appropriateness of sponsored ads. I was tickled to see Hollett digging up this old piece in which I pretend to be a viral video broker (desperately trying to get fake YouTube celebs to sell out).

Blame Canada

Yes, Jenna. There is a YouTube.

Jenna from YouTube asks the questions (in the comments from a recent post). The humble viral video genius gives the answers…

Hey Nalts, I have some questions about the history of video blogging and the history of Nalts (you).

  1. Did the guys who made YouTube intend for it to be used as a video blogging site? Chad and Stephen created YouTube in the requisite “Internet startup garage” because they saw a need for simple sharing of videos (instead of e-mailing large attachments). Vlogging came later. Those two don’t even vlog, at least publicly.
  2. Have you ever been to a YouTube gathering? Are you kidding, Jenna? Those are like Star Trek conferences. Never.
  3. What do you think are the genre antecedents to video blogging? Do you think it came out of reality TV? Actually I think it’s “anti reality TV.” People were sick of manufactured reality, and entranced by the notion of real people interacting with audiences in an almost real-time setting. The early vloggers were stars who weren’t.
  4. Can you write a post where you watch your first two videos and then your last two videos and reflect on how your style has changed and why? Wow. First time I’ve thought about that. Initially I was just posting goofy stuff with the kids like “Scary Santa.” The kinda thing that might end up on America’s Funniest Video. The second was “Gum Tree,” which was more carefully edited and still makes me smile. A bit later came “Speed Racer,” which might be worth a sequel now that the movie is coming out! My most recent video, “Rusty’s Song” was more crafted for spreading (nostalgia, cultural references, cute dog, annoying song). The most recent popular video I’ve done was a parody on Mac Air’s commercial, and it did fairly well (about 400K views on YouTube alone) for a video that was never featured. Maybe I’m trying to hard now.
  5. Where do you live? Between NYC and Philadelphia. But I’m from New Orleans and we still have a family place in Sweet Alabama.
  6. Do you use StickAm? I tried to use it but I don’t understand how to do it. I have used it, but I can’t take it except in short doses and usually when I’ve had a few drinks. It’s hard to get used to… check out my “Stickam is Crack” video and the responses for some thoughts.

P.S. In business school (Babson) we studied in Prague with some people from Millsaps College in Mississippi, where your profile says you attend. That made me laugh because there was a guy from Millsaps that used to say the name of his school with the funniest Southern accent. And one of my classmates (who died a few years later of cystic fibrosis) did a belly aching impersonation of him… “I’m doin’ some indeeepdendent reeesurch for meeeel ssshaaapps” he’d say. You hadda be there.

Buy “Best of Nalts” Video Shorts on High Definition DVD

Best of Nalts DVD SleevePer my post in December, I finally received and approved my proof of the “Best of Nalts: Volume 1” DVD. So now you can buy 71 minutes of Nalts videos (with 29 videos) on by clicking here.

I have nearly “comedic” 600 videos online for free, but I think these are the best ones (although a few of you pointed out a few that need to be high on the list for volume two). I avoided videos that were too YouTube centric like Renetto shaving my head, or other inside jokes. So most of these are family-friendly and don’t require any context to appreciate.

So buy your copy now for the low, low price of $19.94. Yey. My kids and their friends just gathered around to watch the proof DVD tonight, and it’s frightening how clear the quality is since most of them are high definition… especially when you’re used to seeing them in horribly compressed format on YouTube. You can actually read little things in the background, so I’m sure I’ve inadvertently left a credit card number visible. But unless I sell about 30,000 of these DVDs (and something tells me I’m lucky if I sell 50), those credit card numbers won’t be much worth to you.

To see the full list of videos, click “more” below. To see the sleeve in higher resolution, click the image on the right.

Click here to buy one for $19.94. Click here to watch ’em for free in low resolution and with annoying ads. 🙂

P.S. I priced mine exactly one penny below HappySlip‘s, and I make big $6.02 per copy sold.

Continue reading “Buy “Best of Nalts” Video Shorts on High Definition DVD”

The Power of Blogs for Video Viralization (MacBook Air Parody Case Study)

gizmodo1.pngAs I mentioned in my recent eBook (“How to Become Popular on YouTube Without Any Talent“), Obama-Girl creator Ben Relles taught me about the power of blogs to get a viral video to a tipping point. Candidly, I’m usually too lazy to go searching for blogs that might like a video, and kinda hope they’ll find it on their own. But Gizmodo (a very popular blog) recently posted about my “MacBook Air Obsessed With Thin.”

Back story: this short parody of a Mac ad (see original post) took about 20 minutes — from idea to upload. So I decided to invest another 5 Googling a few Mac blogs, and sending them the video’s URL. I had to move quick because the Ambien, at this point, was bringing me down like a tranquilized elephant with a dart hanging from his neck.

This paid off. I would have forgotten about my little self-promotion binge (I’m prone to “black outs” after my post-Ambien activities). But this morning I noticed the Mac parody had 40K views already, which far exceed my YouTube inbound linknumber of subscribers (27K) and what I’d normally get by being the 3rd-highest rated comedy of the day. Paranthetically, my antecdotal feebdack suggests the video has some innate viral elements because a) my wife liked it (rare), b) I got a call from my advertising agency about it, and c) the CEO from Xlntads sent me an e-mail about it.

Still, a little “blog gasoline” on the “viral spark” is well worth its time.

Is it working? Google your video’s unique title to see if there’s uptake. Also, 0n YouTube, you can select “links” under a video (it’s easy to miss), and see if any individual site is tossing a lot of traffic your way. I don’t usually notice a lot of activity here, but I do recall finding an Asian porn site throwing my “HappySlip on eBay” video a lot of views).

Today it shows that 12K of the 39k views were coming from Gizmodo. I couldn’t recall sending them the URL, but it appears they posted about the video and credited Cult of Mac (I suppose I had sent the video to Cult of Mac before Ambien shut me down completely). Oddly, Gizmodo reports 6000 people reading that post, but I’m seeing 12,000 coming to my video via Gizmodo. Huh? YouTube usually drastically under reports the inbound links.

Are you paying attention or glazing over this in an ADHD fog? Let me summarize with the “least you need to know”: if you do a video that has viral potential, find some bloggers who might be interested in the story.

Don’t spam bloggers, but send them a personalized, relevant note and connect the video to their readership so it doesn’t look too self pimpin’. And I wouldn’t advise this tactic unless you’re fairly confident they’ll get a chuckle over the clip. It also makes a big difference if you’re a regular reader of their blog and can demonstrate that. I’ll confess I wasn’t a regular reader of Cult of Mac, but now I’m hooked.

Sales of My Free eBook Skyrocket Due to TechCrunch Coverage

Nalts on TechCrunchWell, you loyal readers, please reserve your front row seats, because the auditorium may be filling with some TechCrunch visitors. They actually crunched about my eBook. Here’s my original post about the book, titled “How to Become Popular on YouTube (Without Any Talent).” Here’s my video reaction to the coverage.

Or maybe TechCrunch didn’t write about me, and it’s a weird dream. I’m kinda sleep deprived. But if it’s a dream, then so is this post. So at least I’m not at risk of embarrassing myself by claiming something that… never mind.

Sales of my free eBook have tripled almost instantly. Naturally I promised TechCrunch a return link, because you know how desperate they are for inbound links. Mike Arrington’s always e-mailing me with this “can’t pass reciprocal link deal,” and I’m like… “find your own audience, dude.”

So if you have popped by for the standard 8-second “do I care about this site?” determination, take off your shoes, subscribe and stay a while. I’m Nalts. These are the other people reading this blog. They’re a little more quiet than me, but they’re here alright.

We cover online video trends, personalities and websites. We tracks interesting “viral video” case studies. And we reviews how marketers and agencies can leverage this visceral new online-video medium to engage people relevantly and promote their brands. Oh, and we occasionally self promote ourself. But at least we’re transparent, right? We don’t usually use the “royal” we, but we’re sleep deprived, remember?

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New Weekly Show Featuring 50 Interesting Online-Video Personalities in 2008: The Bubblegum Tree Show. Yey!

Bubblegum Tree Show logoHad enough of horrible big-media interviews of your favorite online-video “weblebrities”? The same questions over and over? The 7 hours you spend, as a video creator, meeting with a television network, only to find your interview has been reduced to a 12-second soundbite?

Well it’s time for The Bubblegum Tree Show! Yey! (See trailer).

It’s my new weekly show that will feature 50 of the most interesting (not necessarily the most popular) online video personalities in 2008. There is, of course, no shortage of shows that feature online-video creators. In fact I also do one for Metacafe called Metacafe Unfiltered. And then there’s Veoh’s Viral.

But this one’s different. You see, there’s bubblegum. The interviewed guest will be chewing gum, and send it to me at the end. Next, the gum will be affixed to the official “Bubblegum Tree,” which eventually will be populated by dozens of pieces of chewed gum (each beside the name of its weblebrity chewer). The show is designed to be fast, quirky, informal and interesting. The balance I’m trying to establish is making it cheeky, but giving people a real glimpse of the creator’s personality.

Subscribe now (only 25 elite subscribers as of this post), and be the first to catch the premier. Who will be first? CharlesTrippy? MarkDay? LisaNova? We’re after all of them. And if you’re an interesting online-video personality with a fat talent agent, send them our way via “bubblegumtreeshow dot com at g mail.” Because before long getting booked on The Bubblegum Tree Show will be like trying to get your book on Oprah (a woman who has a television show).

Coming Soon: Best of Nalts DVD

Best of Nalts DVD sleeve

HappySlip is selling “best of” DVDs, so I had to do it too. I may not be as hot, but at least I’m not as funny.

I’m using CreateSpace because it looks easy, and a couple others have used it. Anyone use ’em? I didn’t realize, until I’d started my account this morning, that it’s an Amazon company. Of course, you give away about 40% of your profits (after the fixed cost per DVD) when it’s sold through Amazon, so I’m kinda hoping people buy it at I get proceeds beyond the fixed cost of production and their cut of the sale.

It’s not live yet because I’m mailing the master to CreateSpace, and then they send me a proof. I’ve listed the videos below. I’m sure I unintentionally missed some good ones, but it took most of yesterday just to locate the best versions of these (and some were destroyed by a dead Seagate external hard drive).

Will I sell a lot? Nope. There’s not a huge market to purchase amateur video content — especially when you can see it free online. Maybe some people will be compelled by the notion of seeing the videos in high resolution and without ads.

I was impressed with how good some of them look on an HDTV (after I’ve been used to seeing them on YouTube all grainy and compressed). You notice little things- like the name of a book on a bookshelf that was otherwise obscure. And you can why my face was made for low-resolution video.

Price point is $19.99, but most of the revenue goes to CreateSpace and Amazon. Well- if I make $100 on total sales, it’s worth being called a sellout.

The videos:
Farting in Public
Airport Crawling
Computer Falls
Cash to Buzz
Drunk Interviews
America’s Bloopers
Fast Food Outsourcing
Candy Swiper
Google Head
Google Earth
GPS with PMS
Mall Pranks
Killer Weed
Gum Tree
Coffee Baby
Banana Man
Garage Sale
Kids Steal Van
Lay Me Off
Mad Turkey
Viral Video Genius
Chicken Prank
Stupid Computer
HappySlip’s Pad