3 Sept 2007

The beginning of the end

This week, for the first time in their history, Google’s YouTube began including advertisements on selected video clips. Considering the 1.65 billion dollars that the company shelled out for the video sharing service it’s no surprise that the company is looking for a little return on their investment. However, I have to wonder if this doesn’t mark turning point in the reign of YouTube in the user-generated world.

Back in 1995, when I got my first taste of the world wide web, I remember all the weird wacky stuff that was popular and easy to find on the internet – a Connecticut guy’s page dedicated to Stairway to Heaven, a German student’s site with nothing but pictures of her cat. All of this content continued to exist but it got pushed to the fray when domain names started selling for millions of dollars and corporations paid to Googlize their sites for easier searchablility.

As advertisers gain more influence over content on sites like YouTube, the result could be a sort of internet Prime Time where professionally produced content (with advertisements) is given priority over videos of dogs wearing funny wigs and sunglasses.

Neutrality on the web has always been the internet’s and YouTube’s greatest asset not to mention fuelling the user-generated revolution. When that neutrality starts being purchased by big-budget advertisers, the users that helped take YouTube to the top might start looking for another home.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good point. Yet, maybe New Yorkers can idendify better with these paradoxical icons then with a "Betty Boop"