As I write this, a new company called YouTube is downloading 35 MILLION videos per day.
Sequoia Capital, which just advanced them another $8 million, is calling them “the forefront of a cultural shift in digital media entertainment.”
It all sounds very impressive, but where’s the beef?
Some bumps in the road for YouTube – and its million and one copycat competitors:
* Bump in the Road #1: A million and one copycat sites
It’s a technically and financially trivial challenge to set up a “video share” site like YouTube. Yes, for the moment, YouTube is the frontrunner, but this is a long, long race and there is absolutely no barrier to entry in this business.
* Bump in the Road #2: YouTube is America’s Funniest Home Videos on the Internet
Yes, America’s Funniest Home Videos is a cash cow and it’s based on a brilliant concept. Let the audience knock themselves out submitting content. Show the best submissions. Rake in the cash from advertisers.
YouTube is America’s Funniest Home Videos for the Internet, a business I’d sure like to own, but I’m not sure there’s much blue sky here. (See Bump in the Road #2.) “The forefront of digital media entertainment?” Maybe for 12 year olds and bored office workers for a while.
* Bump in the Road #3: No business model
Joke sites are exceedingly popular on the Internet and I’d venture to say a significant portion of traffic on the Internet falls into the joke category.
But who’s succeeded in building an Internet business based on the telling and transmitting of jokes, cute pictures of puppies and other pass-along ephemera?
So far, no one.
Is YouTube going to be any different? I don’t think so.
Don’t get me wrong. I like YouTube.
I also like Google Video, BlinkTV, BlipTV. Bolt, Castpost, Clipshack, DailyMotion, Grouper, MeFeedia, OPenVlog, PicPix, PistolWimp, TrueVeo, vSocial…
You get the idea.
YouTube is kind of like the first guys who figured out how to print on paper.
For a brief shining moment, they dazzled the world.
Then the next day everyone was doing it.
There’s a business here for sure, but it’s nothing to write home about.
– Ken McCarthy
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