I Know, Let's Copy That YouTube Thing!

from the innovation-outsourced dept

MSN was already seen as something of a leader in online video, but that reputation was forged on its work of securing the rights to commercial programming, then distributing it with advertising. Instead of focusing on this area, Microsoft apparently decided it needed to devote resources to building its own YouTube-a-like, dubbed Soapbox, which it's opened to beta testers. At first glance, there doesn't seem to be anything here that would compel people to use it over YouTube, and it looks like little more than a me-too play. See, the nice thing about YouTube is that it's a fairly open system, allowing users to embed videos in their own sites, like, say, an MSN Spaces blog. So instead of wasting resources to reinvent the wheel and duplicate YouTube's efforts, why not just work on a partnership with them that would let MSN leverage YouTube's existing user base, instead of having to fight the uphill battle of building its own from scratch, while at the same time expanding the market for the ad-supported video content it already has? But why do the smart thing, when you can simply just build another copycat web service that's bound for mediocrity?

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  1. identicon
    Philip, 20 Sep 2006 @ 7:59am

    Re: 2nd mover advantage

    Not all markets can support competition. Think of it this way: when a market is about providing products to the consumer, competition helps the consumer: lowers prices, provides choices. When the market is about building a community, competition does not help the consumer, but rather splits communities and causes consumers to go against each other.

    YouTube is an example of the market that's trying to build a community. The whole model relies on the consumers and their contributions. It'll benefit the web most if major companies can work with YouTube to extend the services instead of splitting the consumers/community in efforts to build their own clone.

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