Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fuck YouTube! Seriously.

I have decided YouTube is like an amazingly gifted athlete who is utterly unable to empathise with other humans. This athlete is capable of doing things you didn't think were possible prior to their arrival on the scene. And they don't just do it, they make it look effortless. You feel carried along by them because they're on your team. You're amazed at what you can accomplish with their help.

But every now and then they take a big shit right in your face.

And this isn't a one time event. At regular intervals, they'll totally fuck you over and won't even respond when you ask "Why the fuck did you do that?!?!?!" They might have a good reason for doing it. After all, they operate on a higher plane than you. How are you to know whether or not what they are doing is for the greater good? Of course, they could tell you their reasons. You'd pay attention to them if they told you because you owe them so much.

But they don't say a fucking thing.

You have no way of knowing why they do these shitty things. So you assume it's because they don't fucking care. You're some sort of insignificant bug to them. So you're still grateful for the good that they do but each time you're treated like shit you get a little more resentful. It gets to the point where pretty much every time you mention them it's to say how fucked up they are. And you spend a LOT of time thinking of ways to survive without them.

YouTube's latest fuckups have been the same as their old fuckups. I mean literally the same. These problems have happened multiple times before when they've made "upgrades" and they'll doubtless happen again multiple times in the future. Gruntski pointed out to me the videos I'd embedded in this blog were doing weird things. This was due to "improvements" YouTube made to their embedded video player.

Completely fucking unannounced improvements, mind you. The addition of links to so-called "related videos" was obviously an attempt to get people to spend more time on YouTube and fair enough. But some fucking communication would have been nice. It's the complete lack of communication from YouTube that drives me stark, raving mad.

So along with these upgrades came a slew of site performance problems: uploaded videos were taking ages to be available for viewing (one of mine took more than 24 hours), video statistics (view counts etc.) were utterly fucked and the one that bugged me most of all was the link to new videos from creators you subscribe to that usually appears on the home page was missing altogether (it's back now).

The absurdity of YouTube's continuing public relations hari-kiri is that the whole fucking site is built around the concept of communication by video and they never do this! Why they choose to avoid this stunningly obvious method of communicating with users is completely beyond me. And like I said before, when someone makes absolutely no effort to communicate with you when they're treating you badly, it's only natural to assume that this is because they don't care about you.

I've had numerous invitations to join other video sharing sites like LiveVideo with the invitations always including flattery like "It's really shitty that you've never been featured on YouTube, I bet if you joined site X you'd be featured in no time!" It's tempting and possibly true. There are three main reasons why I haven't dumped YouTube so far:

1. Wordpress doesn't support the embedding of videos from all sites. I know it does support more than YouTube but it doesn't seem to support the ones I'm most likely to defect to (like Revver). Being able to post video to Wordpress is very important to me.

2. I'm incredibly lazy. I used to post to both YouTube and Revver but it didn't seem worth the effort. It would take more time than I'm willing to dedicate to develop a following on another site while maintaining my user base on YouTube. I probably shouldn't be so lazy but I am. Regardless of the disbelief of the haters, I do have a full time day job as well.

3. YouTube still has the biggest audience. By a massive margin. The carrot of that huge potential audience is a powerful thing. At least to shallow attention whores like me.

One more thing YouTube has in common with an elite sociopathic athlete is they don't seem to realise that no matter how total their dominance feels today, it's a fleeting thing. History shows over and over again how businesses that were top of their field end up being skewered by their competition. And the online world moves exponentially faster than the offline world. YouTube could easily forestall their competition for at least a couple of years simply by treating their users better.

It remains to be seen whether or not they will.

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