Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

24 Feb 2012 23:08


Tech: Gaming the system: On the rise of YouTube’s search-friendly “reply girls”

  • We’ve yet to see this phenomenon analyzed anywhere in the media, so let’s give this a signal boost: The secret to becoming popular on YouTube is to build heat. Sometimes you create something so great it goes viral on its own. Sometimes you know the right people and the right places. Sometimes, though, you’re good with the timing and keywords. That is actually an effective way to get popular on YouTube — this Pomplamoose clip, for example, was a very well-timed attempt to bank its success on a popular song at the height of its notoriety. But what if you take that philosophy to the extreme? The answer is that you end up with TheReplyGirl. Let’s explain how this works:
  • The concept A woman who claims to go by the name Alejandra Gaitan, above, has been on YouTube since August, and her main routine is to reply to popular videos, load her responses with ads, and wear something revealing, with the goal of enticing a click. She’s not alone — a woman who calls herself Megan Lee Heart, for example, posted a well-tagged video after Whitney Houston died and got 100,000 views. And hundreds of dislikes on the clip.
  • The precedent Gaitan, Heart and others are essentially pulling off an elaborate search engine optimization scheme on YouTube. Their videos show up high on YouTube search results because of strong tagging and they get clicks because of the eye-grabbing visuals. The result is that the videos themselves are extremely low-quality (Gaitan’s clips can be hard to follow at times), but it doesn’t matter, because the goal is to build up ad impressions.
  • Here’s the thing … TheReplyGirl is interesting because it’s a new twist on a relatively old idea — the production of low-quality content that shows up high in search results, which has the side effect of diluting searches. Minus the human being talking, this was basically Demand Media’s business model. The question is, though, will Google step in? They took on Demand, forcing the company to change its model. Will they do the same on YouTube?
  • Edit: Reworded part of this for clarification.

31 Jan 2012 00:23


Politics: Obama’s “Hangout” session: The president’s taking resumes (seriously)

  • I meant what I said: if you send me your husband’s resume, I’d be interested in finding out exactly what’s happening right there.
  • President Barack Obama • Speaking to a “caller” during his Google+ Hangout today. When Jennifer Wedel mentioned her husband’s lack of employment (he’s a semiconductor engineer), Obama took note. She said that, according to industry reports, her husband “should be able to find something right away.” Five people got to “Hangout” with Obama on Monday, and were offered the chance to ask the president questions about his recent State of the Union address, while other questions were pulled from YouTube videos selected by viewers and Google staff. This social experiment went well considering what new technology was being used. Did you watch? What did you think? source

23 Jan 2012 11:23


Tech: YouTube’s quickly growing — both in terms of uploads and videos streamed

  • 4 billion videos streamed on YouTube every single day (whoa)
  • 60 hours amount of video uploaded to YouTube every single minute
  • 3 billion number of videos the company monetizes each week source
  • » A quickly growing tally: With Google’s quickly-growing advertising prowess, the company is constantly looking for new ways to monetize content. And with YouTube, it offers a lot of opportunities to build upon the $5 billion in revenue it makes each year from graphical ads (many of which run alongside YouTube videos). The level of uploads and views is quickly growing, too: A year ago, the company had 48 hours of video uploaded per minute back in May, and the level of overall video views jumped by 25 percent from eight months ago.

18 Jan 2012 22:41


Politics: Three reasons understanding SOPA is important

  • one It could empower action against foreign websites which, let alone actively engaging in copyright infringement, merely “facilitate” it. This could place an enormous burden on proprietors for the deeds of their random readers and commenters.
  • two The definition of “facilitate?” Broadly used, “to make easier.” This is very vague, and could have serious unintended effects. For instance, does Youtube make it easier for piracy to occur? Undoubtedly. Should the site itself be liable for that?
  • three Upload a copyrighted song to Youtube that nets big viewership, and you could be in deeper trouble. Each view adds to the amount a plaintiff can accuse you of costing them, racking up heavy charges (this could result in Youtube-based felony convictions). source
  • » A great breakdown: Mashable’s dissection of the entire SOPA bill, in case you haven’t read it, does wonders in terms of clearing up what on its face is a confusing piece of legislation. It’s a solid breakdown that cuts through the legalese.

30 Dec 2011 00:36


Culture: Ben Breedlove’s death touches many — including his favorite rapper.

  • A tough teen with a gripping story: Ben Breedlove, a high schooler with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (and a YouTube personality known for offering dating advice to others), passed away from a heart attack on Christmas Day. It was only afterward that his parents discovered these two videos from Ben in which he told stories of coping with his disease, including three near-death experiences. In his third one, above, he describes an experience, while being revived by EMS paramedics, where he was with his favorite rapper, Kid Cudi. After watching Ben’s videos and hearing about his death, the artist wrote a message about Ben on his blog. Ben’s mother said that the videos were a “gift to us, and for him to be so confident and unafraid of death and to share it with other people was so touching.” source

30 Sep 2011 16:11


World: YouTube removes protest videos at request of UK government

  • When viewers in the UK attempt to watch videos of the protest, they are met with the message, ‘This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request.’
  • Paul Watson on YouTube’s new partnership with the UK government over protest videos • The British government is hoping the removal of certain protest images from the popular video sharing website will prevent copycat demonstrations from forming in the future. The British government isn’t the only one requesting YouTube pull demonstration videos: A geographic search reveals the US government has also requested YouTube remove certain videos along with keyword searches. (EDIT: Due to the source of the article, we did a fact-check and confirmed that videos were in fact banned by YouTube due to a UK government request.) source

01 Jul 2011 17:25


Tech: Google’s eyeing Hulu, or reasons they might be getting too big

  • then Back in 2006, Google purchased then-fledgling YouTube for $1.65 billion — its biggest purchase ever at the time. The service has grown massive over the years but has struggled bringing major content creators like Viacom on board — a huge bummer for fans of “The Daily Show” in particular. In fact, Viacom sued YouTube to get them to remove the clips.
  • now Hulu, a service started in part as a major studio reaction to YouTube’s viral growth, is now in talks with Google, who may buy the company out — and in the process, get the lucrative content deals that have eluded YouTube over the years. (Microsoft and Yahoo are also eyeing the service, by the way.) Will we finally see “The Daily Show” on YouTube again? source
  • » We don’t know how to feel about this: While we appreciate the fact that Google might make “The Daily Show” happen on YouTube with a buyout like this (though Viacom has pulled their shows from Hulu in the past), if it actually happens, it runs directly into a wall of regulatory scrutiny — as Google’s been feeling the heat lately. While YouTube and Hulu aren’t the only games in town (hi Netflix and Vimeo), together they’re big enough that it would deserve some regulatory scrutiny if it actually happens.

16 May 2011 23:09


Tech: New bill would make it a felony to upload copyrighted content to YouTube

  • Wait, wait! Before you upload that episode of “Lil’ Bush” to YouTube, stop and ask yourself: Would I like to be a felon? Because if a new bill sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) passes, you could be. Under current law, streaming copyrighted content is considered an unauthorized public performance, which isn’t a felony. The new law would change this classification, meaning that the seemingly-benevolent act of sharing “Freddie Got Fingered” with the world could land you in prison for five years. The law wouldn’t apply to viewers of illegal streaming, only providers, but still. Five years? source

17 Apr 2011 21:17


Tech: Summary: The life, quick demise and slow death of Google Video

  • 2005 Google started their own video-sharing service called Google Video, back when the market was wide open.
  • 2006 The service, an also-ran in the wake of YouTube, became straight-up irrelevant after Google bought the rival service.
  • 2009 Google finally closed off the service to new uploads, but allowed users to keep their old uploads online.
  • 2011 Now, years after everyone stopped using the service, Google’s removing old uploads. Well, at least there’s YouTube. source

09 Jan 2011 11:32


World: North Korea hacked to the tune of “Super Mario World.” Heh.

  • So, when North Korea’s YouTube and Twitter accounts got hacked yesterday, this crude-looking cartoon got posted. The toon, which features background music from one of our favorite video games of all time (Super Mario World, what what?) shows Kim Jong-un violently slamming his convertible into starving North Korean children, and the heir apparent talking to his dad on an iPhone – while driving. The clip is crude and violent, so keep that in mind, but still interesting. source