Posted August 8, 2008 8:50 am by with 5 comments

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First let me tell you that I am not a big online video viewer. When I allow myself to get sucked into the world of YouTube I will look for things like obscure music video from the way back machine. It’s the stuff that could only rarely be seen before the internet made everything seem normal and commonplace.  That’s fun for a bit but after I have let 30 minutes slip by without doing anything other than staring at the screen I feel a bit useless.

Well, appears that Google is really making a push to make sure that my “downtime” is productive for its advertisers. In an article aptly titled “Google Goes Gaudy With YouTube Ads” NYT reporter Saul Hansell looks at the less than subtle technique being used by YouTube for our “benefit” so we can see even more “Ads by Google”. I don’t know about you but I get chill bumps at the prospect! Hansell states:

Take a look at the image here and you see proof of what we all knew: Google is not going to put its highfalutin ideals above the practical realities of its business.

To the novice video viewer like me this seems like a very crowded screen between the ads in the border and the ads over the already overdone graphics from CNN in this case. If you look real closely you may actually see that this is a video about the never ending election process. Hansell points out that this screenshot was taken from the blog “Run by Nate Silver, 538 runs all the polls through an elaborate statistical model to predict the November election. He embedded a player with clips from Vericifier, the video series by TalkingPointsMemo.” I’m not sure what that means but I am sure that some Pilgrim will explain.

I realize many of you more tech savvy types are thinking “So what?” but I have go along with the notion that Google is not really looking like a itself in this model. With this much noise on a page you would think that you are on a platform designed for the younger set (i.e. MySpace) and not the “less is more” simplicity that Google has virtually trademarked.

In addition, the idea that those looking for an election update fix (which you don’t need to actively seek out anymore, just wake up and you see it whether you want to or not) would also be a good prospect for the Nissan Versa Hatchback is a stretch, at best.

I know there will be success in this model to some degree but I wonder at what expense? Will there be a day in the future where I will be able to actually watch a video for its content so I can draw some conclusions or will I have to decide which is advertising, which is news, which is real, which is not and by the time I figure it out will I even care?

  • Unfortunately, this is about the only way of monetizing embeddable players.

    While the pros of it are obvious (well… monetization, and at higher CPMs than regular display ads), the cons are quite numerous:

    – skewed ad targeting;
    – difficult to nearly impossible management of any revenue split schemes, if running any;
    – possible branding conflicts between the brands advertised in the player and brands advertised on the sites where the player gets embedded;
    – complete lack of control over branding once the player leaves the original site and gets embedded, something that will probably backlash in the long term and drive advertisers to force lower CPMs, thus diminishing the pros mentioned in the first place.

    Still, I believe this model will be a hit for a while, and many owners of video content will want to piggyback their booked ad campaigns on other sites’ impressions.

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  • Thanks for the Tweet about this …

    This model is the reason why everyone is leaving their TV set off and doing other things. They tried to ban home video recording here because advertisers were panicking that nobody would see their ads.

    LOL of course not, their ads suck anyway …

    You get ads in Pay TV too, which is why I don’t have it …

    I for one will click off a video on the net if it shows me ads in the screen space – I don’t mind the model that shows a scrolling text in the player itself – they have to find some way to pay for the bandwidth.

    But what will happen is the smart marketers won’t want their audience bombarded and will use hosts that don’t do in your face advertising.

    And how is Google going to justify advertising cost when it is so untargeted …

    Live long. Live well.
    Rick Rakauskas

  • Seems like people would REALLY have “banner blindness” on a standardized player.

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  • i think this will work wonders for the video sites