TECH TALK: The Rise of YouTube: Comments (Part 3)

Don Dodge wrote that Google should have tried harder with its own product:

Frankly, I am a little surprised that Google didn’t put the time and effort into making Google Video a winner. Microsoft has come from behind many times and built a winning product starting from nothing.

Remember Netscape, Nintendo, iPod? Netscape invented the browser and dominated the market. Microsoft slowly built Internet Explorer into a leading browser. Nintendo was the leader in game boxes. Microsoft came out with the xBox and sustained losses for several years but ultimately built a very successful business. Microsoft is doing it again with Zune. iPod is the clear leader today, but Zune will change the market.

There are lots of ways to build a successful company. However, there are no guarantees with any approach. Google showed a lot of guts making this deal. Lets wait a year or two before declaring winners and losers.

Russell Shaw speculated on the YouTube-AdSense tie-in:

Ideally, this would work by means of advertisers buying AdSense adverts tied to keywords that could be a YouTube clip’s title, or even the tags within the specific content.

Say I own a travel agency specializing in trips to Italy. So I might be interested in purchasing AdSense ads on a page with Italy-themed title and tags. A page that I show you at the top of this post.

Wouldn’t have to be text-based ads either. Google could actually render the advert as a separate YouTube video-effectively using You Tube’s video play capabilities to monetize itself.

Richard MacManus summarised it thus: YouTube is in many ways the MTV of the current generation. What’s more, it has a user experience better than any other online video site OR tv channel. He quoted a recent analysis from Compete on the YouTube experience: More people visit YouTube, they come back to the site more often, and spend more time on the site each time they visit. That is a certifiable triple whammy and a knockout punch rolled into one.”

Tomi Ahonen presented an interesting angle around YouTube’s user distribution (sourced from Financial Times):

The more fascinating were the two community sites, YouTube and MySpace. MySpace has a bit more users, at about 85 to 75 million judging from the graphs. But Myspace traffic is about 92% from North America, and almost all of the remainder from Europe. YouTube is much more evenly split, with its largets usage from Asia about 38%, then Europe 32%, then North America 28% and the rest of the world splits the rest.

These are early days, obviously with the community sites (social networking sites). But MySpace is clearly an American phenomenon – which helps explain why Facebook, Cyworld, Mixi etc are able to capture local markets. It is perhaps more a culturally “limiting” space, we want people of our own language, who share in our lives and experiences. At more “content” oriented sites – such as YouTube (and perhaps this will hold true of other content in addition to video, such as Flickr for images etc?) – the site can more easily cross borders and attract a global following.

Phil Windley had a different angle:

Only a few of the faculty members [at BYU] questioned about YouTube knew what it was. For them, the phenomenon of user-generated video was something abstract. This highlights a knowledge gap between the twenty-somethings that attend the university and the 30-60 year-olds who teach there.

If community-based sites are the bread and butter of Web 2.0, then it’s mostly the people who grew up with the ‘Net who are participating. Most older folks have their communities and they’re not online. What’s that mean for business models as the ARPA crowd gets steadily bigger with the influx of baby-boomers? Are we going to settle for part of the population, or will someone break the age-barrier with online communities?

Tomorrow: Comments (continued)

TECH TALK The Rise of YouTube+T

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.