Wednesday, 29 August 2012

YouTube News

YouTube has recently hidden tags from regular users and as of today from API users as well. This seems to be a move to help eliminate the "Reply Girls" and their ilk. YT's problem is not necessarily with the provocative thumbnails (HotForWords anyone?) but with the "content" these "Reply Girls" are creating. Their MO seems to be make a video response to a popular YTer, copy their tags so that their reply comes up in search and not add any value to any converstion while potentially diverting or distracting views from the original, valuable content. Tags will still remain an important part of YTs search algorithm but the exact content of the tags will only be known to the creators and YT/Google.

Along this vein, YT is also S...L...O...W...L...Y rolling out customizable thumbnails to all monetized partners. Both of these changes are necessary for improving YT's push for better, easier to identify, high-quality content. Keeping tags mostly private and allowing for customizable thumbnails should add to the quality of YouTube overall. Everyone is pumped about the thumbnails, as they well should be. Thumbnails are at least as important as titles. Without the customizable thumbnails we have very little control over what still of our video gets seen in the search results or in the suggested videos column.

With all this, I have been wondering if YT is going to continue to improve "find-ability" since one of the major problems we encounter is with YT's search algorithms. In theory we should see most of our views coming from YT search. Our types are not ones that people randomly come across when they are looking for entertainment. We offer specialized instructions for specific parts. Viewers should not have to take the long way (search, find one video that kind of looks like what they need, see our video in "Suggested Videos" and click on the thumbnail) to find us. They should be able to search in YouTube for the problem and directly find our video. Right now, YT is smart enough to put our channel there for advertising purposes, but none of our videos are near the top of the results.

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