As Google continues its efforts to do something useful with YouTube, it's apparently decided to try leveraging its AdSense publisher partners as a distribution channel
for select YouTube videos. The whole thing sounds quite a bit forced. AdSense partners (basically, any 3rd party site that put up Google ads), and now also select from a very, very, very small selection of videos that will apparently be automatically rotated through a playlist of relevant videos. The videos will show up with ads surrounding the player -- apparently totally unrelated to video overlay
ads Google launched a couple months ago (though, there are some conflicting reports on whether the overlay ads will be included). To be honest, this doesn't sound particularly compelling for a variety of reasons. First of all, if content sites wanted to add video content, there is already the ability to use the ever-popular "embed" options found on most videos on YouTube and many other services. Second, not having much real control over what videos will be appearing pretty much guarantees that the videos probably won't be all that interesting. Third, it's not clear how useful
this is to either content sites or users of those content sites. In other words... what's the real benefit here?
What may be a lot more interesting, however, is the idea that Google is recognizing it has a huge network of partner sites, who are potentially content distribution
partners, rather than simply ad inventory. As Google tries to morph itself away from being the one-trick (search ads) pony, that huge network of content sites both big and small (including us at Techdirt) starts to look like an impressive asset. The real question, though, is whether or not Google can either come up with the content or a platform for producing content that would build value by being distributing across this network. It's not clear if Google has fully realized this yet, or is simply (as may be the case) looking for more ad inventory. But there's something potentially much bigger if Google can also start providing useful related content to many publishers out there.