YouTube has spent years trying to figure out how to monetize its mostly amateur-quality, user-created content.
Perhaps Google is looking to the wrong inventors.
Traditional "Madison Avenue" advertising has failed YouTube. I agree with the sentiment expressed recently on the Marcom Professional blog:
In my opinion, one of the reasons that videos spread is the homemade quality....People are advertised to thousands of times a day. We see countless commercial messages all the time. We crave authenticity.
So why not user-generated commercials? Yes, I know there are all sorts of trademark and other concerns, but let's face it: I'd rather watch an amateur video for Heinz Ketchup than just about anything Heinz could develop. (In fact, someone just sent me this homemade video for "Ketchup Boy," pitching Heinz Ketchup.) I bet user-generated commercials would actually become a destination in and of themselves.
How about it, Google?