Is YouTube going the way Napster did?
Mark Cuban thinks so.
"The fact that Youtube is building a traffic juggernaut around copyrighted audio and video without being sued is like.... well Napster at the beginning as the labels were trying to figure out what it meant to them. ... It's just a question of when Youtube will be hit with a charge of inducing millions of people to break copyright laws, not if.
Take away all the copyrighted material and you take away most of Youtube's traffic. Youtube turns into a hosting company with a limited video portal. Like any number of competitors out there that decided to follow copyright law."
Does anyone think that YouTube has anything which may prevent this from happening?
September 19th, 2006 6:20am
Nope. YouTube is fucked. They're pouring millions of VC into bandwidth fees, getting very little back in the way of advertising, they're terrified of doing any more commercials (lest they offend their core community) and their technology is nothing special.
September 19th, 2006 6:33am
no business model.
September 19th, 2006 6:34am
other than google, how many examples are there of companies with a good idea but no business model eventually coming good?
obviously you need the good fortune to be allowed to carry on that long ...
September 19th, 2006 6:37am
Napster led to a lot of people having lots of mp3s and I think that helped sell many iPods. And after all the piracy has happened, as far as iPods are concerned, there is no server which can be shut down. Someone may capitalize on YouTube's downloads if people are given enough time to download lots of videos. The next iPod may be enhanced to view videos as well. But, again, people may not be as interested in videos the way they are in audio.
September 19th, 2006 6:57am
don't ipods already do video?
napster was just one factor in the proliferation of mp3's. Apple were smart to hook the release of the ipod to itunes. Otherwise the thing was just a glorified walkman.
September 19th, 2006 7:12am
"other than google, how many examples are there of companies with a good idea but no business model eventually coming good?"
Google's good idea was a better search engine. The business model for a search engine was there before Google. The leap of imagination from "get people to use our main page and put lots of advertising there" to "leave the main page empty of all but a search box and put advertising on the results page" was not all that huge.
but the idea of feeding advertising based on contextual info, whether on the results page or their other programs was fundamentally new, AFAIK. And that's where they scored.
September 19th, 2006 7:35am
>other than google, how many examples are there of companies
>with a good idea but no business model eventually coming
Google had a good business model. Contextual adverts made them a ton of cash.
September 19th, 2006 7:41am
yes, but that business model didn't happen for years after they started up. They ran a *long* time before they started running ads, IIRC.
September 19th, 2006 7:48am
The idea of contextual advertising being more effective than carpet-bombing advertising was a staple in advertising theory, and sociology, long before Google. See snailmail spam, for one.
Google's great innovation was being unobtrusive about things. The front page was clean, and the AdSense stuff was easy enough to ignore. That generated goodwill, which generated a huge user base, which generated lots of business and lots of revenue.
Nothing Google did was groundbreaking, except for the search engine that worked better than others. They simply took the business model of Yahoo and Altavista (remember them?), and removed everything that wasn't strictly necessary.
the *idea* ... yes.
but what they realised, which yahoo et al didn't was that if the search worked right, they *had* the context.
innovation is also the combination of existing ideas in ways which are new. in fact, most innovation is like that.
September 19th, 2006 8:16am
> was fundamentally new
Is that why they had to buy themselves out of a patent dispute?
son of parnas
September 19th, 2006 8:27am
never heard about that. they say there's nothing new in the world ...
of course, there are companies that get into legally-intensive disputes with people like that, just for the hell of it ... details?
September 19th, 2006 8:33am
son of parnas
September 19th, 2006 8:35am
cheers - didn't know of that one.
300m doesn't seem a lot in retrspect ... the shares are worth a bit more now ...
September 19th, 2006 8:47am
I think Yahoo sold the shares for a lot more. In retrospect settling may not have been the best policy.
son of parnas
September 19th, 2006 8:51am
Not that I have a clue about the real usage statistics of YouTube, or that I am that avid a user, but no less than 90% of what I have gone there to see would be considered public domain stuff.
September 19th, 2006 9:58am
"Google's great innovation was being unobtrusive about things. The front page was clean"
Don't forget that that was an accident.
September 19th, 2006 10:11am
I don't know that story. I do know, however, that compared to the "portal" front page of Yahoo or MSN at the time, it was awesome. Became the default choice for me through that alone.
YouTube is pre-Napster. The content is stored on the servers so there's not going to be an issue over whether YouTube is distributing copyrighted material (recall, Napster lost with an indirect method, and eDonkey with an even more indirect method).
Either YouTube continues to police copyright material, or it makes revenue sharing agreements with the owners (who have since Napster learned that there is value in "place-swapping" or whatever it's called). I don't see them fighting it out over the Nigerian preacher's magic smoke flashback scene from Lost with RIAA - a lost battle for sure.
September 19th, 2006 10:38am
"Take away all the copyrighted material and you take away most of Youtube's traffic."
SOmeone give me an example of non-copyrighted material on youtube.
September 19th, 2006 12:38pm
"SOmeone give me an example of non-copyrighted material on youtube."
Well, all material is copyrighted whether rights are expressly asserted or not. So you're right in that respect. Plenty of videoblog type stuff though where the rights holders either uploaded the content themselves, or approve of it being there, using it as a dissemination method. (Viral marketing, anyone?)