Crave Talk: Has YouTube sold its soul?

Now you can make money by uploading your videos to YouTube, paid for by ads -- but is this a good thing or will it destroy the very fabric of the Internet?

I love YouTube. What sane human being wouldn't? It has an almost inexhaustible supply of videos of people getting Tazered, and more gut-busting skateboard accidents than we know what to do with.

But we're worried for the site's future. Since it was bought by Google we've had the distinct fear it'll lose its core values -- it's happening already. We've already heard talk of a YouTube TV station (a huge step backwards, or what?) and last week it was announced that people who upload their films to YouTube will get a share of advertising revenue.

"Wow!" the Internet cried in unison. "Now I can get paid every time somebody watches me breaking a rib!" But we're all missing the point slightly -- YouTube (drumroll...) will be flooded with adverts. The company has said that advertisers will have the choice of whether their commercial appears before or after a video. What's up with that?

It'll be like watching normal TV, but instead of seeing celebrities bullying each other after a commercial, there's the distinct probability that all you'll get is a video of someone's cat sneezing, or some guy ranting for ten minutes about how hot it is in his apartment, or the soul-destroyingly idiotic responses.

We don't mind good videos making money -- the Diet Coke and Mentos video earned around $30,000 on Revver, a video site that pays content creators for their submissions. But it's a sad day when the saner portion of the Internet population has to wait x-number of seconds to watch some loser picking his nose. And give him money in the process!

What of the advertisers themselves? Will they want to associate their brands with the generic moron, or someone worse? I can't see Pepsi wanting their cola appearing just before Seinfeld's Kramer goes off on a racist tirade. Or Huggies doing a piece before someone's pro-abortion rant. So YouTube will have to screen the videos, which hikes up costs and slows the experience down.

This whole advert thing could be an enormous recipe for disaster -- let's watch how it plays out. -Rory Reid

 

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