YouTube Shames Slow Internet Providers

YouTube logoHave you ever wondered why a YouTube video is taking a long time load, buffering, or refusing to play? YouTube has started pointing people towards the answer to that question. A blue bar will appear underneath the video that asks, “Experiencing Interruptions?” Click on the button that says “Find out why”, and the answer is revealed.

YouTube will automatically send you to Google’s new website, which is called Video Quality Report. It will show you the video streaming quality results for your provider in your area. Quartz describes it as “like a report card for your delinquent ISP”.

The notification system that YouTube has started using reminds me of what Netflix used to do. When a video was loading too slowly, Netflix was displaying a notification like: “The Verizon network is crowded right now”. Verizon threatened legal action, and Netflix has stopped doing that.

It has been said that efforts like what Netflix used to do, and what YouTube is doing now, are an attempt to shame internet providers who offer shoddy service. It is also a way make consumers acutely aware of which providers are better than others. That will enable people to switch to better ones (in areas where more than one choice is available).

It is also a way for YouTube (and previously, Netflix) to subtly point out what would happen if internet providers were allowed to create a “fast lane”. Those who didn’t get how net neutrality might affect them could have the “lightbulb” go on after seeing how a slow connection from their internet provider directly affects them.

YouTube Will Launch Paid Music Service

YouTube logoThe music videos that you enjoy watching on YouTube may not be available for much longer. YouTube has plans to launch a paid streaming music service. It is expected to launch at the end of this summer. It is going to allow people to listen to music without any ads. Other features include the ability to listen to music offline and to listen to an artist’s entire album (instead of individual songs).

That might sound good to some people who currently enjoy streaming music services like Spotify or Pandora. On the other hand, some feel that YouTube’s service may result in less music options than you may be expecting. There is criticism that YouTube might block the music videos of labels who don’t agree with the terms it offers in its contracts.

The Worldwide Independent Network (WIN) has concerns about YouTube’s paid streaming service. WIN released a statement in which it points out that YouTube has “apparently negotiated separate agreements with three major labels – Sony, Warner, and Universal”.

WIN also commented on its opinion about how YouTube is approaching independent music companies. In their statement, the organization said:

At a time when independent music companies are increasing their global market share WIN has raised major concerns about YouTube’s recent policy of approaching independent labels directly with a template contract and an explicit threat that their content will be blocked on the platform if it is not signed.

According to WIN members, the contracts currently on offer to independent labels from YouTube are on highly unfavorable, and non-negotiable terms, undervaluing existing rates in the marketplace from existing music streaming partners such as Spotify, Rdio, Deezer and others.

Personally speaking, the music videos that I seek out on YouTube are the ones from independent artists. I’ve long been a supporter of independent artists and bands. I play their music in my podcasts, make an effort to draw attention to their latest songs and albums through social media, and buy their albums when I am able to. I find it sad that YouTube doesn’t see the value of the bands and artists that I spend the majority of my time listening to.

Roku Gets YouTube

Roku 3Perhaps unsurprisingly given Google’s now somewhat defunct plans for GoogleTV, YouTube has been one of the glaring omissions from the Roku platform. But not any longer. Roku has announced that a YouTube channel is now available on the Roku 3 in USA, Canada, UK and the Republic of Ireland. Older Rokus will be getting the channel next year, though the exact timing is unclear. For non-Roku owners, a channel is roughly equivalent to an app on other platforms.

The YouTube channel supports full 1080p HD and the press release suggests that subscriptions will carry over from other platforms so that your favourites can easily be seen on the Roku. The new channel also features “Send to TV”, which after pairing, lets you send a YouTube video from your smartphone or tablet for viewing on the Roku.

As a Roku 2 XS owner, I’m delighted but will have to wait a bit longer until I get the YouTube channel on my device (unless Santa has a surprise for me). Sadly, it will be one less reason to turn on my Nintendo Wii, especially with the HD support on the Roku.

Gaming Channels on YouTube are Being Deluged With Takedown Notices

Copyright violation In the last couple of days there have been thousand of takedown notice issued involving gaming footage on Youtube. There are now a number of reports that both individuals and companies that upload gaming footage are being deluged with copyright claims. The claims don’t appear to be coming from the gaming developer in fact many of them including Capcom and Blizzard has offered to help those effected. Many takedown claims are being issued by the companies that own the copyrights to the background music for gaming videos, companies such as IDOL which is a music distribution firm and Bafta (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts). In fact to make things worse many of the take down notices appear to be coming from companies that don”t have the copyrights or companies that are no longer in business. The takedown notices are being issued through the Automated Content ID system, which was recently updated. The system is now flagging videos which previously had been missed. Most of these videos involve cut scenes, game play, outtakes and in-game music.

Many of the companies and individuals that are being effected including major player such as TheRadBrad, GhostRobo and Machinima depend on these Youtube videos for their revenue when videos are pulled no revenue is coming to them. While the takedown occur automatically an appeal can take days even weeks to be settled. The videos may still visible to the user, but the revenue is now going to the copyright holders instead of the individual or companies that uploaded and created the videos. Some people think that this is related to the changes that are supposed to be coming in January in relationship to Affiliates and Managed users and the monetization review process, although that is yet to be confirmed.

Google’s response appears to be less than adequate, basically stating if you don’t like it appeal. This is going to take a while to sort out, it appears there are very few winners in this story. The people who are producing the videos are losing revenue, the game developers are losing free advertisement and viewers maybe losing the ability to see well-developed and useful gaming videos. In my opinion this appears to be another case of copyright enforcement gone amuck.

YouTube Acknowledges Spammy Comments

YouTube logoHave you noticed an increase in the amount of spammy comments on your YouTube page in the past few weeks? You aren’t alone. YouTube has acknowledged on its Creator Blog that they have received a lot of feedback from creators about the increase in comment spam.

The increase in spammy comments began after YouTube decided to make new YouTube comments powered by Google +. The idea was that this would allow the content creators on YouTube to more easily see the comments from the people that mattered to them (like their friends, for example). Instead, something unexpected happened. The YouTube Creators Blog notes:

While the new system dealt with many spam issues that had plagued YouTube comments in the past, it also introduced new opportunities for abuse and shortly after the launch, we saw some users taking advantage of them.

To combat this problem with spam comments, YouTube is going to do some updates. The updates will include better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts, improved ASCII art detection, and a change to how long comments are displayed. They are working on improving comment ranking and moderation of old-style comments. YouTube is also going to release tools that will allow creators to do bulk moderation soon.

YouTube Identity Crisis

Google has created a real identity mess. Between my original YouTube account and my main Gmail account, I have somehow ended up with two separate Google identities with no easily apparent way of straightening things out.

Of course I had a YouTube account long before YouTube was purchased by Google. Once Google owned YouTube, they seemed to merge my previously-existing YouTube identity with my main Gmail identity. Google seemed to have a single identity across all Google-owned properties and all seemed to be well.

What The   $&!@%&)&   Were They Thinking?

That is, until now. Somehow I now have two separate Google identity “channels” when it comes to both YouTube and Google+. Of course, the 236 existing videos I have uploaded to YouTube over the years were on my original YouTube sign-in. Maddeningly, if I now make comments with that original sign-in they DO NOT appear on the Google+ identity that I have invested my time and effort into since the inception of Google+ that seems to be tied to what I thought was my main Google identity.

Google’s very unhelpful “Help” suggests that the only way to correct the situation is to delete and re-upload the videos under the so-called “channel” identity I wish to use. Are they insane? Of course, I’m NOT going to do that.

If I post comments in YouTube they will go to the Google+ identity that will only receive YouTube comments, rendering my regular Google+ identity less valuable.

If I’m forced to keep switching back and forth between these two separate identities (that somehow magically share the same Gmail address and password) in order to make a post to the Google+ identity I’ve invested my time and effort into, the net result is likely that I will completely avoid the hassle of switching back and forth and just forget about posting to Google+.

The net effect is that I now have a genuine disincentive to avoid using Google+.

People are always going on and on about how smart the folks at Google are overall. Really? With this move, perhaps not so much…

YouTube’s New Features: Offline Viewing, Play On

youtube logo

YouTube

Your Android and iOS apps are getting some interesting upgrades. Especially one that allows you to go offline and still watch the video.

YouTube announced a host of new updates on their official blog, as well as letting partners know of the upcoming changes:

We’re always exploring ways to bring more viewers to your content. As part of this effort, later this year we’ll launch a new feature on YouTube’s mobile apps that will help you reach fans — even when they’re not connected to the Internet.

This upcoming feature will allow people to add videos to their device to watch for a short period when an Internet connection is unavailable. So your fans’ ability to enjoy your videos no longer has to be interrupted by something as commonplace as a morning commute.

This is part of our ongoing updates to give people more opportunities to enjoy videos and channels on YouTube mobile. Check out the YouTube blog when this launches in November for more details on how this will work for viewers.
The YouTube Team

Other new features include a new explorer feature: you can keep looking through YouTube while your video is playing in the bottom-right corner. You can also search and browse channels for playlists on mobile apps, then watch the videos back-to-back. Finally, Youtube added the Cast button so you can send your videos to Chromecast, PS3, Google TV or other devices that accept the protocol.

These options (other than offline viewing) are available with the update.

Virgin Mobile’s YouTube Wants to “Blinkwash” You

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile is running a new video on Youtube. It’s called “Blinkwashing”. You will need a webcam connected to your computer, which the YouTube page will calibrate your face and blinking. This will act as a remote control to switch the video up.

Every time you blink, the video changes. It doesn’t lose place in the video; it just moves to another video with the exact same script. Blink your eyes and you see two girls talking on the phone about Virgin mobile. Blink again and you see an aerial view of police cars and the script sounding like its coming from the CB. Blink again and two bikers are arm wrestling.

It doesn’t matter how many times you blink, the channel will change. If you don’t blink at all, the video will continue on. There is everything from a clown to a karaoke channel talking about Virgin Mobile.

virgin-blinkwash[1]When I tried this on my Macbook Pro, it worked like a charm. However, on my desktop sits an older Logitech 9000 webcam which brought problems. You won’t be able to do this on mobile devices.

Could this be the start of something new? There is a possibility. Other head movement instructions could turn Youtube videos into a “Choose your own adventure” video. Want to walk through a door on the left – turn your head to the left.

In the meantime, I think I’m going to switch over to Virgin Mobile now…

 

GoDaddy.com’s New Direction: Less Provocative, More SMB Focused

LogoWTaglineToday I got an email from current CEO Blake Irving, regarding the changes at Godaddy.com. Being a loyal customer of the service for over 7 years now, this new direction looks to be very serious and even more attractive for people trying to start a website.

Today, GoDaddy’s front page got a revamp. Gone is Danika Patrick and those provocative GoDaddy commercials you saw during the Superbowl, World Series, NBA finals and other events. Who replaced her?

Jean Claude Van Damme?

This is part of GoDaddy’s new era – “It’s go time“. A great marketing slogan that can point to GoDaddy and their new direction.

In the email, Irving wrote:

Blake Irving, Godaddy“Today, GoDaddy is the world’s largest web host and domain provider — and sites registered or hosted with us make up a massive portion of what we know as the Internet today. That statement, however, says little about who you are, our customers, or how we can serve you best. So earlier this year we embarked on an effort to learn more about you, what makes you so incredibly unique, and the values you all have in common. In the process, we learned an equal amount about ourselves, and we’re making changes to reflect that new clarity. ”

Irving goes on to say they want to know more about you and how to make you succeed. They started by streamlining the website – making things easier and “more intuitive”. GoDaddy also highlighted their Award winning customer support (awards from CareerBuilder’s Top Companies to Work for Award, to  Fortune 100 “Best Companies to Work For”).

Other Changes at Godaddy.com

GoDaddy is bringing on new Top Level Domains, such as .app, .web and more (over 700 new gTLD from ICANN).

They started a new video ad campain using Jean Claude Van Damme to show how serious – yet still jockular – they can be. The first video includes a baker who not only gets new orders through his GoDaddy website, but a full solo from Van Damme who motivates while telling him “It’s Go Time”.

Out With the Old, In With the New

Founder and previous CEO Bob Parsons brought a lot of controversy, not only on GoDaddy for viral content, but also on his personal life. He left when GoDaddy was purchased in 2011. Interim CEO Warren Adelman made some changes, but it was not the direction the board was looking for. It took two years to bring Blake Irving on as CEO (former EVP at Yahoo! and VP of Windows Live Platform at Microsoft). Irving’s approach is for Small Business owners (SMB).

In an interview he did earlier this year, he talked about how he has a full open door policy. He talks about how he walks around campus in jeans and t-shirts, talking to people and finding out what matters to them.

Irving’s Direction is no Joke, though…

Irving states: “This is the radical shift we knew we had to make and it’s more than just marketing. A brand is a promise to our customers and a commitment to understand their needs. Our mission is to ‘fight the good fight for the go getter’ … the small business owner … or anyone who labors for the love of it and wants the benefits of the latest technology without having to be an expert.”

With a new look and a different direction, GoDaddy seems to be focusing less on viral content and more on the SMBs they need to appease. From Domains to hosting, SSL certificates and more.

What are YOUR THOUGHTS on GoDaddy’s new direction? Comment below!

YouTube Lowers Live Streaming Requirement!

ytlYouTube on Friday opened the flood gates to shows in good standing and are allowing shows with a minimum of 100 subscribers to get access to their Live Streaming Platform.

It has only been a couple of months since they opened it to shows with 1000 subscribers. We all knew this was coming but it is really great news for podcasters that are doing live shows.

Lets talk about the impact here.. Companies like Ustream have their ProBroadcasting services where you can purchase up to 100 ad free hours for $99.00. While YouTube does not guarantee ad free streaming, so far their ads have been non-obtrusive.

One of the reasons I had stopped using Ustream as a primary streaming provider was that the ads in their “free streams” became intrusive. No one minds a company making money when they are providing a free service but the ads on Ustream were driving my audience away and was the #1 complaint for months.

On YouTube partner sites get to share in the revenue of any advertising run which incentives folks to start using YouTube as their primary live platform.

This change has to impact the bottom line of companies like Ustream, how will these companies survive this is my next question. The provided production tools Ustream provides may help, but it is obvious that YouTube understands where the media space is headed..

The best part about the YouTube Live experience is that you get to promote it on your own sites with the video embed, and you can cross promote your YouTube Channel. This is a win for content producers. See the other announcements YouTube made as well

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