Who Are You And What Have You Done With The Real John Dvorak?

from the even-broken-clocks dept

We've been hard on John Dvorak in the past due to some of his uninsightful rants about technology. But we're not averse to giving credit where it's due. Writing about YouTube, Dvorak argues that many of the articles on it are missing the point. The YouTube phenomenon is not about its business model (or lack thereof), what it's going to sell for, how much it spends on bandwidth, or how it can prevent copyright infringement. Granted, all of those things may be interesting, but the interesting part of the story is YouTube created an extremely simple way for people to share video, which as it turned out, is something that people really like to do. Anyone in the industry focusing on something other than its appeal and ease of use is probably focusing on the wrong thing. If there's a minor reason to quibble with Dvorak's piece it's that he ascribes "pent up demand" as fueling YouTube's popularity. In reality, most people probably never thought about video sharing this way until they saw YouTube and realized how much they liked it. Obviously, YouTube has a lot of work cut out for it if it wants to be a sustainable business. But it's invisible business model isn't the lesson for other companies planning their internet strategies -- they should focus on the characteristics that have made YouTube so popular with users.

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  1. identicon
    Joel, 11 Aug 2006 @ 9:05am

    What brad said

    What brad said. There's a big difference between free and anything else, and youtube will have a very hard time gettings it's users to pay up for space or bandwidth.

    That doesn't mean there isn't the potential there to make a lot of money. They could probably institute "reasonable" limits for users (maybe not based on size but on the number of videos) and charge subscription prices for 'premium unlimited' accounts a la flikr or photobucket. There's also the option (and this seems to be where they're trying to go) of offering a service to feature promotional videos from companies, for the right price.

    The question is still- can they get enough revenue from these models to cover their costs. They may have found a service that people like, but don't value quite enough to open their wallets. In that case, good service or not, it will die.

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