What’s the Best YouTube Prank Channel?

Where are the best pranks on YouTube? I’m partial to amateurs, so I’d say my favorite YouTube Partner pranksters are Edbassmaster (just look at this) and Jack Vale. I also spent much of the weekend binging on the epic battle between girlfriend and boyfriend on PrankvsPrank (the modern Spy vs. Spy). Prank vs Prank’s “Wet T-Shirt Prank Gone Wrong” is my favorite, and it makes me squeal with laughter.

If you like more commercially produced content, however, here’s one you might not have discovered. JustForLaughsTV are short and mostly physical-comedy pranks (read: international potential). The apparently French Canadian show has been posting a few new pranks each morning lately, and its YouTube channel is at under 70K subscribers… I’d predict that to be at 300K plus in months. A nice player on the hahaha.com website displays many of the micro pranks.

They’re far from subtle, mind you. They each feature dangerously campy music, a laugh track and almost insulting pantomime explanation of the prank to viewers (which to me steals some thunder). But the tight editing and great tight shots of the “victims” is rewarding. And even if you don’t like the old goatee man’s “theater like” acting, you’ll dig the brunette who pops up occasionally wearing yellow.

What the channel reminds me is the criticality of explaining a prank (like we did in “Farting in Public” but failed to do in “Itchy Butt Prank“). I like to plunge people into an awkward scene, but the viewers generally want to be “in” on the prank… and what might seem obvious to the creator is not to the viewer.

Laughing is a cue that works even if it’s a laugh track. The off-camera muffled giggles in “Farting” make an audience feel more like a participant than a distant viewer (this was quite an accidental discovery and I’m reluctant to “force” it). You’ll notice EdBassmaster has a giggler in the car for his “Just Look At It Prank,” and her laughter makes it genuinely funnier. The best part of “Prank vs Prank” is the maniacal laugh of the couple when they’ve powned the other. Watch this “Girlfriend Wears Mario Pube Prank” and listen at 1:28 to Jesse and 1:46. The breathless spasms of laughter contrasted with his girlfriend’s scream is hysterical.

Prankster be warned, however… a forced laugh is very detectible and toxic.

Pranks follow predictable format and require no language skills (or brain)

Grassroots Charity Effort Goes LIVE on YouTube

YouTube broadcast live yesterday with the “Project for Awesome,” a grassroots charity event spawned by John and Hank Green (see website).

Several hundred videos and millions of comments supported a collection of charities, and reminded viewers that the YouTube community remains alive. Check out the YouTube channel and Nice Peter’s Spanglish love song (the top-rated of dozens of videos). As of yesterday the raffles alone raised more than $90,000! Kittens are awesome.

Here’s my video, which explains the initiative a bit… and auctions off my “Beyond Viral In My Pants” book.

John and Hank Green with YouTube stars and "Nerdfighters"

“Bed Intruder” Song Performed by Liberty University Choir

Hide your kids. Hide your wife. News clip > autotune > choir > news

Liberty University’s Vision Ministries’ parodied the Gregory Brothers (shmoyoho) auto-tune spoof, “Bed Intruder,” last week (source: Liberty.edu). The performance were soon posted to YouTube by students, but after comments about poor audio, Liberty officials decided to post the university-filmed version of the song to Liberty’s YouTube channel.

The “Bed Intruder” was inspired by an interview with Antoine Dodson (see interview here) and the auto-tuned musical parody followed soon after (see here). Vision’s version is below and here.)

At 2:17 (two minutes and 17 seconds) in, the tempo picks up and the snapping and cheering commences.

Care to sing along? Lyrics below:

He’s climbin in your windows
He’s snatchin your people up
Tryna rape em so y’all need to
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
and hide your husband
Cuz they’re rapin errbody out here
You don’t have to come and confess
We’re lookin for you
We gon find you
We gon find you
So you can run and tell that,
Run and tell that
Run and tell that, homeboy
Home, home, homeboy
We got your t-shirt
You done left fingerprints and all
You are so dumb
Rou are really dumb–for real
The man got away leaving behind evidence
I was attacked by some idiot in the projects
So dumb, So dumb, So dumb, So
He’s climbin in your windows
He’s snatchin your people up
Tryna rape em so y’all need to
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
Hide your kids, Hide your wife
and hide your husband
Cuz they’re rapin errbody out here
You don’t have to come and confess
We’re lookin for you
We gon find you
We gon find you
So you can run and tell that,
Run and tell that
Run and tell that, homeboy
Home, home, homeboy

Dramatic “Royalty Free” Music Sites

If you’ve worn out Kevin MacLeod’s Incompetech, but looking for free, royalty-free music here’s a new alternative… some dark, intense, orchestral and dramatic options. Check ’em out: http://www.jewelbeat.com/

Also a bunch more courtesy of YouTube’s BattlefieldDoktor via JourneysofLifeBooks:

http://ccmixter.org (click here to search royalty-free for commercial use tunes)

A Blog Post That Doesn’t Mention iPad (Video SEO)

Via Larry Kless, here’s Mark Robertson, the King of Video SEO, sharing some tips about video codecs, encoding, and other things we don’t quite understand… but know are important.

Until you or your agency are doing all these things as prescribed by Dr. Robertson, we recommend getting all of your content on YouTube. Turns out Google indexes YouTube videos, um, pretty darned well.

What You Don’t Know About Videos & Search Engines Can…

… be hurting you. Why do keep writing about video search-engine optimization?

  • Your viewers or customers are increasingly using specific terms in their search, and including the word “video” into searches more than the word “sex.” In the past 5 years the term “how to” has grown steadily as a search phrase (Google analytics).
  • Eye charts show that when a thumbnail image (representing a video) appears among a search-page results it gets an early glance before people read.
  • Approximately a third of the views of a video are driven by search. It may surprise you that search engines overtook social media as a driver to videos back in early 2008 (Hitwise, 2009 via ReelSEO).
  • Google, by far the leading search engine, incorporates many forms of media in its results. Since it currently indexes far more text than video, you have a distinct advantage with video content.

There are two solutions: the hard way and the easy way. The hard way: you can ensure you or your agency is current on video SEO techniques. The second is that you post content on YouTube (which Google crawls quite well) and ensure that your title, description and keywords are aligned and words are ranked by priority. Don’t try to optimize against impossible phrases with lots of competition. Be specific and add words people are increasingly adding to search queries (video, how to, etc).

Larry Kless did  a nice summary of the Online Video Platform Summit (sounds saucy, huh), and quotes SEO Video Guru Mark Robertson. Nico McLane discussed her article from StreamingMedia that is subtitled “The secret’s in the sauce, but nobody’s sharing their recipes.”

Robertson puts it simply, “video SEO is purely an extension of SEO.” The more I research it, the more I realize it’s true. The tips for optimizing video content, with some exceptions, are typical of a good search-engine optimization plan.

Small Businesses May Soon Place YouTube InVideo Ads

Thanks to Tim Street and the good folks at NewTeeVee for this gossip alert via GoRumors. Soon, according to a patent filing, you may not need a big budget and advertising agency to place Google/YouTube “InVideo” ads (the ones that pop-up over the bottom 1/5 of the video). Today small folks can buy text ads, but InVideo ads are more captivating obviously.

Self-serve InVideo ads. Better than text overlays or search-result ads, but a bit more expensive and less targeted than paid search. Still, a nice way to reach the tech savvy voracious video consumers without breaking the bank (presumably far less than the $25 CPM that YouTube launched with).

From the patent entry, I’d call it “Powerpoint meets text ads.” You’ll have some color and image options, but no eye-popping flash you might get from an agency.

Try some out. Start with the Nalts inventory.

YouTube’s New Blog & Video Site for Video Creators

YouTube began in 2005 with a focus on community, but in recent years has logically put most of its energy into luring more viewers with frequency, becoming profitable, and attracting professional content and ads. So it’s refreshing to see the birth of “Creators’ Corner,” with has both a blog and a spot on YouTube.

WillVideoForFood was, as the name implies, designed to help starving video creators improve and commercialize their work. But it’s written by a marketer (me), so it leans to the business and marketing side of the equation… leaving production and creative tips to more inspired websites and people. I consider myself creative, but not inspired enough to help others enrich their own creativity.

So along comes this blog and website by YouTube. I like the weekend challenge notion, which was something Revver did in its heyday. You can learn to do a product review or be inspired to make one of 9 easy video projects (some serious points for excerpting Julia Nunes to encourage you to sing).

I’m adding it to my malnourished blogroll, and hope they’ll point back.

Beyond the cat videos, viral hits, and popularity contests, there are throngs of isolated people with wonderful talent that deserves to be shared. And YouTube is now not just the amateur’s platform, but an onramp to the stage.

Today is “Project for Awesome,” so Watch for Nerfighters Reducing “World Suck”

Today, December 17, is the third-annual “Project for Awesome,” where thousands of Nerdfighters will be using online-video to “reduce world suck.”

Even if you understood nothing in the headline or lead, I encourage you to keep reading because you’ll learn a lot about online-video through this story.

Project for awesome 2009 logo

John and Hank Green were brothers who lost contact over the years, and decided to change that through daily vlogs to each other (which they posted for the rest of the world as Vlogbrothers). I find myself increasingly frustrated with people in online video that don’t know their name… and give them the look of disgust you get from a sports enthusiast when you say “I hope Tiger Ruth helps the New Orleans Rangers make it to the Superbowl.”

Unlike other popular online video creators, the vlogbrothers put their loyal viewers, ideals, intellect and charity above themselves. This has created a genuine fan base of people (we call ourselves Nerdfighters), who would pretty much do whatever the Green brothers asked unless it involved hurting small animals. We’re bonded on the pursuit of increasing awesome and decreasing suck. After all a good planet is equal to awesome less suck (put mathematically, that’s GP=A-S). In my opinion, increasing awesome is easier that decreasing suck. It’s easier to bond around a cause than a complaint.

Today, like the two prior years, hundreds of video creators will make “Project for Awesome” videos to promote good causes (here’s mine, which is to promote awareness of autism). “We want to make the world a better place, and so we’re thanking people who have dedicated their lives to do that, and promoting their cause with our time and our money,” the brothers write on their website.

So here’s what to watch for today:

  • Hundreds of videos will be posted to YouTube with a specific thumbnail (icon).
  • Via Twitter (using hashtag #p4a), hundreds or thousands of people will be giving these videos “5 star” ratings, and commenting aggressively on them (to push them to most-discussed and most-viewed pages, which are as important as the homepage itself.
  • The team will be using a ProjectforAwesome Livestream to communicate as well.
  • As a result of this, many newer YouTube users will be perplexed, but then find themselves amused and perhaps compelled to participate.

Now let’s say your heart is made of ice, and you really don’t care about community or charity. What can you learn from this as a marketer? Well to keep it real, you’d unlikely be able to replicate this, because people tend not to rally around a brand or commercial effort like this.

But it does show the influence that a few people can have on a larger group (the YouTube “community” that is still vibrant), and in turn to a much wider audience of YouTube grazers (the rest of the world). Give people something to care about that’s bigger than your brand or you, and do something selfless (to help reduce world suck). That’s a noble cause, right? And maybe we’ll see major charities or brands tossing their hats in the ring this year or next.