by Carlo Longino

No, YouTube Isn't Exploiting Vloggers

from the get-what-you-pay-for dept

An article in BusinessWeek goes over how hard it is for people to make money using YouTube and other video-sharing sites. It's got a weird tone, as if it's some great tragedy that vloggers have a hard time earning a living from making web videos, and even carries a whiff of the implication that YouTube and its ilk are exploiting these hard-working digerati. The piece goes through some of the revenue-sharing plans from YouTube, Revver and other sites, and says that many vloggers and video producers would rather run everything through their own site so they can grab all the revenues. But this exploitation angle largely ignores the benefits that using a video-sharing site brings. It notes the aggregation aspect, as well as their ability to get large ad deals, but it ignores the most obvious benefit: they pay the bandwidth bill. By using something like YouTube, producers don't have to pay to host and serve their videos, while the various platforms also allow videos to be more easily shared and embedded in web pages, something that helps them become more popular. While the biggest video producers might be able to make more money by trying to hang on to their own traffic, directly selling their own ads and paying for their own bandwidth, it's rather unlikely that most of them will be able to thrive on their own. Furthermore, perhaps they're missing the point by focusing so much on ads, rather than by viewing their videos as promotional materials (with the ability to generate some ad revenues on the side) for other paid products or services.

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  • identicon
    sam, 9 May 2007 @ 3:17pm

    umm... carlo.

    hate to tell you.. but it appears that a good deal of the videos on youtube, aren't from people who are selling something via the videos. it appears that people are making videos, and maybe hoping to get something from ad revs around the videos.

    in this case, the owner wouldn't have the ability to freely show the videos in order to promote something else!!!

    so, once again.. you say give the content for free.. and i say, in exchange for what??? what's the service they're supposed to then sell!

    i know... you're going to say that's not your issue, the guy with the video should just change his "business"!!

    yeah.. ok!


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Parker, 9 May 2007 @ 8:06pm



      The choice to use YouTube is voluntary.

      In your "business" giving away the content = building a viewer base, which can lead to having something to offer advertisers so you can go independent. But be prepared to have to constantly increase, improve, and adapt your content to keep viewers interested or goodbye ad money.

      Having a "business" or creating content does not entitle you to make a buck. If there is no market for your "business" or like most entrepreneurs you don't get to define your market and your "business" plan doesn't account for this then you get nada.

      No one is saying all content should be free. However, if someone else is giving away similar content to that which you are trying to charge for and ties it in to another service which is their real money maker, then why would you think anyone is going pay you to give them less?

      The ultimate point that keeps being missed about so many of the criticisms made by the Techdirt bloggers is that just because you want to make money for doing something a certain way does not mean anyone has to pay you for it. And no amount of lawsuits or copyright entitlements (aka alienation your market by abusing them) makes that any less true in a free market. There are other options for the consumer, and that is solely the problem of the business or individual whom fails to see it as such.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eBusiness, 9 May 2007 @ 3:28pm

    This Issue Is Not Going Away

    I must concur with the BusinessWeek article I do believe that YouTube is feeding off these video makers, and I gurantee with the introduction of payment into the equation this issue is going to grow larger not smaller. http://www.ebizmba.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bob Jones, 9 May 2007 @ 3:59pm

    Boo Freakin Hoo

    YouTube is exploiting vloggers as much as vloggers are exploiting YouTube's free bandwidth/hosting and player, not to mention audience.

    Its a free world, put it on your own site if you want, but the bandwidth might get you.


    YouTube will share profits, good, it has to as other video sites do so, but nobody is exploiting anybody - its a relationship of choice, hate YouTube, keeps your clips off it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RandomThoughts, 9 May 2007 @ 6:21pm

    No one is taking advantage of anyone. This is just the long tail in action. Only aggregators make money off of the long tail, individual content creators don't.

    Is this a surprise? YouTube can make a little off of each video (via advertising) and make quite a bit of money. The individual content owners make a little bit off of their small library of content, which brings in very little.

    Its really not that hard to understand.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tashi, 9 May 2007 @ 8:29pm

    While I could yank my videos off youtube and host them myself, I couldn't afford the bandwidth, (not counting those linking to it) yet alone the free marketing equivalent. If I hosted them myself I'd have to bust my butt that much harder.

    There are plenty of people that have hit upon a million (sometimes billion) dollar jackpot, and plenty more that haven't. That's no reason for me to get mad at youtube 'cause I haven't made my million yet. That's just stupid. Maybe one day I 'll get big enough where I can actually complain about my content being on youtube. Until then I'm happy someone else is willing to eat that bandwidth bill.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason Jenkins, 9 May 2007 @ 9:58pm

    That Model Already in Place

    Abstract10.com has put that exact model in place with video and images. Its all about syndication. We create our own content and distribute to youtube, revver and everybody else.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Chris Ainsworth, 11 May 2007 @ 11:23am


    Don't companies like Libsyn make the bandwidth issue for independent podcasters a little less of an issue?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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