Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reasons Not To Use YouTube (Part 2)

Due to the unexpected popularity of my recent post on reasons not to use YouTube based on their SLA, I've received a lot of tips and information on why using YouTube as the tool for your media strategy is a bad idea.

Let me try and summarize them here:

Commercial - if you're trying to make money from your content, then you don't have a chance: unless you're a huge player, there are no options for charging viewers and even getting income from advertising is tough (Google does make paltry payments to its most popular video contributors, but don't give up the day job).

Legal - you own your content, but Google owns the right to exploit it. Also, the YouTube service itself is of dubious legality and persistently contravenes copyright and trademark law using 'safe harbour' and 'cease and desist' as the only mitigation - compare this with the responsibilities of a proper broadcaster, either online of offline. By using YouTube you may be making yourself and your company culpable. Is it worth it ?

Clutter - skateboarding dogs and cats being tortured: do you really want to keep company with this stuff ? They say that you're judged by the company that you keep.

That Logo - yes, YouTube's paw print all over your lovely content . It says just one thing: "cheapskate".

Search - this may be the cornerstone of the Google empire, but try to generate anything predictable from search on YouTube and your viewers may be in for an unpredictable time when accessing your video.

Social - Google runs its own social network, so forget sharing your video on Facebook or Twitter.

Live - it is being rolled out apparently, but you can't do live transmission on YouTube.

Schedules - you can't do scheduled transmission on YouTube.

Flexibility - there is none, you take it or leave it. Taking it is nice and easy, just like crack cocaine. But do try and think through the consequences...

Identity - again, you take or leave the Google identity. All that money you invested in your brand gets sidelined.

Supporting Your Competitor - in many lines of business, companies have found themselves unable to do business without Google, and are consequently totally dependent on a company that is, ostensibly, their enemy. Using their services and becoming dependent on them is part of Google's business model, so be aware..

Blocking - you may well find your videos (at least periodically) blocked in major markets such as China, Turkey, Thailand or Pakistan: this is very unlikely to happen if you use a proper hosting provider that is not politicised in the way Google is.

Tools - YouTube has very basic tools for managing your video archive and your content, once uploaded is inaccessible via ftp, for example.

vCommerce - there are no tools for video commerce.

Apps - you can't power an iPhone app (apart from the YouTube app) from YouTube, nor have your icon on a Smart TV.

No TV Experience - Google has always made money when people click, so don't expect them to understand the TV experience, where broadcasters and channels make more money when people DON'T click (but rather sit back and watch for hours at a time).

WebM - apparently, Google is going to convert all its video to its own  "proprietary, open source" format WebM and stop supporting the industry standard MPEG4/H.264 and the nascent HEVC format.

Privacy - YouTube is a public medium, but does offer privacy options, however these are limited.

Content length - Google restricts the length of video you can upload to YouTube.

Encoding - with YouTube you have to upload very large files to the internet, which can be painfully slow - using a desktop app and then uploading is far, far quicker.

Categorisation - you're stuck with the few categories that Google apply.

YouTube Wants To Go Hollywood - what happens when Google decides it can make more money serving movies and TV programmes than by serving your content (just look at the tabs on the new interface) ?

Well, I hope that's a pretty good summary. Please feel free to post any contribution to Part 3.