Find Viral Videos Before They’re Viral

If you're just finding out about the "exploding whale" or "Friday, Friday" you may need this post.
If you're just finding out about the "exploding whale" or "Friday, Friday" you may need this post.

Remember that video curation was supposed to be all the rage last year and 2011? I’m still not seeing it get enough attention, but that will change as online-video consumption moves from desktop to simpler devices: mobile and remote controls. Why? Sans keyboard, it’s just not as easy to self-select videos, so we’ll need simpler controls (more Roku/AppleTV, less Sony’s 400-button, 2-dial TV remote control) … and better aggregators.

The answer lies in a careful mix of three (3) important variables:

  • crowdsourced (liked people like me),
  • editorial (someone whose taste I share) and
  • personalized recommendations based on my history/preferences.

In the meantime, I’ll offer a few favorite places that are directionally close, and invite you to add yours in comments (it’s participation time). Together we can perhaps create an aggregation of aggregators. A curation of curators. Then we’ll create a big ass website that collects them all, and we’ll sell $1 CPM banners on them and become hundredairs.

  • Reddit Videos: The kids at Reddit have good taste. Period. I want to be a Reddit influencer when I grow up.
  • There's no contextual purpose of this photo. I just wanted to get your attention and remind you to list any good places where you discover videos before they're cliches.

    Viral Video Chart is a good way to ensure you aren’t missing anything as vital as the “si, si, si, aquí” kid.

  • ReelSEO’s Jeremy Scott found some good pre-viral sources months ago, so check his list too. It includes:
    • Buzzfeed (see the “going viral” page),  the hiccupporcupine is going viral),
    • Devour (I wasn’t captivated on that one) and
    • Popscreen (which is kinda cool because you can search “now,” 7 days” and “30 days”).
  • eGuiders is a curated site, and I think I am/was an editor. But I forgot.
  • Martin Michalik pulls together the most viral videos on Viral Blog’s “Viral Friday.” At least you’ll know what to talk about on the weekend.
  • Zocial charts videos that are trending in social tweets/posts (Twitter, Facebook). Unfortunately I’d already seen most of what surfaced here.
  • YouTube Charts is a hidden gem on the website. It’s getting harder not easier to find recently popular videos, and instead becoming more “channel and theme” focused. But here’s YouTube “live” and here’s the page that should be more obvious on the website: the “chart” page which allows you to custom rank videos by category (humor, music), by period (day, week, month, all time) and finally by feature (most-viewed, highest rated, most liked).
One of the most valuable functions on YouTube ("charts") is hard to find

And don’t forget that if you’re a bit behind on your memes (viral ideas, behaviors, images, styles), there’s always “Know Your Meme” to catch up. It might not help you understand Jessica Black’s “Friday,” but at least provides some analysis.

If this is the last viral video you remember, then you're on the wrong blog.

P.S. If all else fails, you can check out my crap, watch “webcam girl fail,” or just piss off a few hours watching the stuff too “blue” for America’s Funniest Videos at Failblog.

Google Chrome Engineers: Step Away from the Camera

This is a real Google Chrome operating system promotion created by engineers and posted on YouTube. The good news? They set a low bar for consumers to create their own YouTube commercials. And maybe that thankless job of being a Google marketer will improve, as the product and engineer-driven company may finally recognize marketing as a non-trivial function. Sadly Google’s high GPA requirement means no great marketer or sales person can ever work for the software company.

As of this writing, Steve Hall (AdRants) has not yet attacked this video.

How Much Money Do They Make on YouTube: Exposed

Renetto: The roundest face since Karl Pilkington

Renetto. Paul Robinette. Remember him? He makes about $55 a day from YouTube, and I once stalked him and shaved my head to assume his persona. He’s one of the guys behind one of the most interesting video website stats and mobile applications you’re bound to love and forget. It’s called MyU2B. See– I had to look at the website just to get that stupid name right.

The good news? If you’re an OCD creator or media buyer, than this is (and you can quote the guy who wrote the book on YouTube) “the crack cocaine of video statistics.” The bad news? The name is so damned forgettable I want to punch Paul Robinett in his branding boob. Half the reason I’m writing this post is so I can find his website searching the many alternative names my brain has given MyU2B: u2be, myu2be, ub40, u2b4, my2be u2be u2bme, and finally “renetto, youtube, stats, website, with, stupid, name.”

MyU2B iPhone App kicks the ass of YouTube's default mobile viewer.

MyU2B is my indispensable iPhone YouTube viewing app because it’s incredibly easy to sort by my favorite creator’s (people, channels, accounts, profiles) most recent videos. This is a common but impossible task via the caveman-like primitive search functions on YouTube’s own mobile app, and I call that a “deal breaker” or “functional obsolescence” for any regular viewer. MyU2B tells me exactly how many videos my favorite person or channel has posted since I last checked them. It solved a problem most don’t yet know we have.

The app (free and $1.99) also allows me to “super subscribe” to select people (although I haven’t figured out how to delete people like the incorrect jaaaaaa). There are about 2-3 dozen people I don’t want to ever miss, and for that I prefer this app to using YouTube on a computer. On YouTube I’ve “oversubscribed” like many people, so I miss some fresh videos by my favorite peeps. It really sucks to not be current on some of my favorite creators or friends.

The MyU2B stats site, although new and somewhat buggy, is entirely different (yet shares the horrible name). It gives you some pretty decent estimates of how much money each channel/person makes on could make (per comments below) on YouTube, and even sorts estimated revenue by individual video. That’s badass, even if it’s assuming CPMs (revenue per view) that are impossibly inconsistent and volatile. It’s a cool tool just to track who’s getting views and comments… instead of the somewhat archaic method of tracking subscribers… like on VidStatsx. Vidstatsx is an equally crappy named but remarkably useful website, though the latter is a bit too focused on subscriptions (which is not nearly driver of daily views it once was). And tip from Zipster08, who I never miss (despite the mocked screen shot): allow MyU2B to load completely before searching for someone. (Zipster checks hourly). MyU2B doesn’t yet allow you to bookmark or link to a specific search string, but it does index more than 11,000 individual channels.

See below for an example… are they the potential estimates accurate? I don’t know. YouTube doesn’t give me reporting this precise, but I know for a fact that CPMs by individual videos for the same creator can vary from pennies to dollars — by individual video.

Since we YouTube Partners are all contractually obliged to conceal our revenue, it’s hard to know if it’s over or understating revenue/earnings. But feel free to comment (anonymously) if you want to share feedback on its precision! I’m glad it’s not accurate, because I don’t want people thinking about the money I earn from YouTube (it’s equally embarrassing whether it’s high, low or accurate).

MyU2Be (or whatever it's called) can easily track estimated earnings by creator and by video

Finally, let’s help these useful resources with their branding. Anything, including the word “pizzle,” would be better.

I Wuv You (pig video)

I love you. No I WUV you. It’s a rainy Friday morning. What else are you going to do? Make a hypnotic and overly cute pig video with your wife’s sqeeked voice. Duh.

Here’s the song “i wuv you” and you have complete rights to use it anyway you wish. Download it, and let me know what you do with it!

Now kids pay attention. This is a desperate attempt to manufacture viral, and comes with great risks. The goal was to squeeze as much cute into 52 seconds, but ensure I spent no more than 1 hour between concept and upload (and that’s counting the custom score). You know my rule… time spent on a video is inversely related to views (my Scary Maze, shot in 25 minutes, is at 23 million). At least I’m transparent.

The Future of Book Publishing (or “what I found while procrastinating writing my book”)

Holy crap. Check out this former editor who’s gone all foaming-mouth, Huffington-like crazy about the digital impact on traditional media and publishing. Now sit down and read this, because you might just learn something important. Sit. Sittttt. Good boy.

Richard Nash is the kind of guy that would either enthrall you over a 2nd martini or bore you to terminal, self-induced intoxication. There can be no middle ground. I suppose for me, I’d be leaning over listening with violent interest until the third martini, at which point I’d use the gesture my kids adopted from a recent Warner Brothers classic: Bugs Bunny is confronted by a poor sap that says, “pardon me, can you help out a fellow American who’s down on his luck?” Bugs reaches into his pocket, pulls out his thumb, and shouts “hitt daaaa rooooadddd.”

Some excerpts from his “Book Publishing 10 Years in the Future” are so profound I need another cup of coffee to understand them. I added some quotes because otherwise it’s as hard to understand as a Dennis Miller rant, boasting obscure references that make you feel smart if you bat 20% (which is not how the sporting kids are scoring these days).

  • In 2020 we will look back on the last days of publishing and realize that it was not a surfeit of capitalism that killed it, but rather an addiction-to-a-mishmash of Industrial Revolution practices that killed it, including a Fordist “any color so long as it is black” attitude to packaging the product, a Sloanist “hierarchical management approach to decision making,” and a GM-esque “continual rearranging of divisions like deck chairs on the Titanic based on internal management preferences rather than consumer preferences.”
  • In 2020 some people will still look back on recent decades as a Golden Age, just as some now look back on the 1950’s as a Golden Age, notwithstanding that the Age was golden largely for white men in tweed jackets who got to edit and review one another and congratulate one another for permitting a few women and the occasional Black man into the club.
  • In 2020 the disaffected twentysomethings of the burgeoning middle classes of India, China, Brazil, Indonesia will be producing novels faster than any of us can possibly imagine.

So there’s Nash’s Dystopian third phase of publishing evolution (the first two I lift from “The Last Lecture“):

  1. Buy an Encyclopedia, written by invite-only guests and largely unedited.
  2. Democracy takes over with Wikipedia. Turns out it’s more accurate and self-healing than Britannica.
  3. Whoops. Wikipedia forgot that profit thing, but the pleas from the founder are charming. Along come the $5 per hour researchers that mass produce content, QA it on the cheap, and dollar-store dispense it (or fund it with porn ads).

I almost feel like it’s treason for me to reference his power puke on publishing since I’m working on a book with a major publisher. But what else am I going to do to entertain myself while I procrastinate? Geez I hope they don’t read this.

So here’s the thing, though. Any sap could write “Beyond Viral Video” like I am, but don’t we factor in the author when we buy content? Would I have purchased Randy Pausch’s book-on-tape without the story behind him, his death, his hope, his dreams and his family?

Damnit, Nash. I’m not going to buy a self-help book written by a guy that used to answer the phones for Dell am I?

Maybe he’d encourage me to find my inner Buddha, which conflicts with my religion-du-jour: “listen to the voice of your inner African American grandmother.”