Monday, October 16, 2006

The YouTube Effect

For quite a while now I have had clients asking for “a site like YouTube,” or “a video type site” when discussing the specifications of their new site, even though many of them had never visited YouTube or even had a clear idea of just what the site was about. They’d heard the name and that was enough, it was the latest buzz phrase, the site that should be emulated or at least the five million hits a week should be.

Now after the $1 billion acquisition of YouTube by Google even more clients are asking about YouTube and even more now actually know what the site is and what it does.

That is some achievement for a site that was only launched in February 2005, not only was it getting so many visitors and worth so much money but people who had no idea about the site had heard of it. Of course as I have to point out to my clients you can’t have a site like YouTube and expect the same success and they can’t really have a YouTube like site as part of their business site however they can look at what made YouTube so popular and see if their site can offer something similar.

YouTube is all about user generated content, your typical business website is not going to try and emulate that, but they can emulate the more personal approach.

Many sites now have RSS feeds and Podcasts and now as YouTube has demonstrated you can have video on your site and people will watch it, assuming it is at least partly interesting and assuming that the visitors to the site are actually interested in what you have to offer.

Of course there is also nothing stopping the company from not only placing their videos on related subject matter on their own website but they can also upload them to YouTube and engage in some viral marketing. The trick with viral marketing is to create an advertisement that is interesting, that people will want to share and discuss and that also mentions your product and/or your company.



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