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Would You Advertise on YouTube?

This post contains language which may offend some.  You’ve been warned!

After a glorious week off in Cape Cod, I was catching up one morning on my RSS Feeds and came across this chart at Silicon Beat with the updated unique visitor stats on the hot Web 2.0 sites, YouTube, Facebook, Photobucket and MySpace.


Two things struck me looking at these trends.  First, despite now being owned by “the man”, MySpace continues to grow incredibly.  Clearly the average user hasn’t figured out yet that Murdock didn’t lay down $600 Million so this property could continue to lose money.  Eventually the marketing push at the site will become noticeable and then we’ll see if the growth rates continue to sustain themselves.

My second observation is that YouTube has a faster growth rate than any of the other superstar Web 2.0 sites.  In a traditional portal space, this growth in regular users would naturally translate into the site being a magnet for advertising dollars. But I ask you, would you advertise your company’s brand on YouTube?

Take a look at the site today.  Not much advertising yet, mostly Google Ads.  But there are some companies trying out direct advertising, companies like Sony Pictures.  Here is an example of them advertising the new Adam Sandler travesty, Click. As you can see, they’ve set up a contest group to get users to create their own video clip for the site which promotes the movie. 

So how is this working for them?  Well, right off the start, you can see that compared to the other organic groups, this one is pretty sparsely used.  Compare their 101 videos submitted to the “Guitar” tags 3,805, for example.  Next, as I scroll down this page to the first entry, I can see part of the challenge of anarchic content sites… TITS ARE SO HUGE CHECK EM OUT THESE ARE UNREAL BOOBS TITS AND A GREAT ASS!!! (here’s the link if you can’t resist).  I could be wrong, but I’m guessing this is not really what Sony was hoping for in relationship to promoting this film.  Even when you get into the clips that people have created, you can see that a lot of them have nothing to do with Click and are just their own videos being promoted in this contest area or, they are so painful to watch as to question the brand benefit.  (See below, sorry girls.)

The upside of this strategy is clear.  There is the possibility that someone actually does create an appealing clip which supports the brand message and gets basically free distribution to tens of millions of users.  My question is, how often would this happen and is it really worth the potential brand battering risks?

Web 2.0 advocates, feel free to come to their defense here.