Attack of the You Tube Clones


AOL just announced Uncut Video, their own version of online video sharing ala You Tube. (Read Mashable’s take on it.) Niall Kennedy says that Yahoo is working on something similar as well, and said so in its analyst day meeting with the financial analysts. Niall says that “The new video site includes videos from around the web and a few from Yahoo! users as well.”

With Google Video and MySpace Video already up and running, I wonder what are the exits for companies like You Tube and other such services? Will someone buy YouTube for its traffic? What are your thoughts on this?



i think Yaron has it quite right. what flickr did for photoblogging, youtube is doing for video-blogging. from engadget, down to my piss-ant site, we all use youtube. and all for different things.

as for the napster-esque lawsuits, i am sure that the MPAA will come a-knockin but i’m not sure they can afford the PR nightmare that they will get from doing that.

there are far more webcam clips of people singing pop songs and dancing awesomely/weirdly/hilariously to them than there are of movies. especially now that all content is limited to ten minutes or less unless they are indie.

having said that, how come no one has suggested that vivid video should buy youtube?

adult cinema is after all, one of the biggest uses of the interwebs :)

Robert Oschler

Side note: In regards to AOL’s new video offering as a potential competitor. They require you to download a publishing tool called VideoEgg, an EXE file, which you must have to upload videos to the site. YouTube requires no such tool. I think spyware/adware concerns may give users pause before they download the publishing tool. It may simply be a tool to offload the video preparation processing to the user’s system; but in any case, it stopped me from going further.


I simply do not believe that a site without copyrighted content can compete…and You Tube will not be able to compete. As soon as they start running pre-roll commercials, they will lose a lot of their audience.

The clones of You Tube that allow uploading of copyrighted material without licensing will not survive either. Unless You Tube can move to licensed content, they will be history soon…


YouTube STILL leads by hands down when it comes to video downloads…now, can they figure out a way to make any money?????
Eyes are Advertising…Eyes are everything when it comes to the Internet…the Ayes Have it!!!!
Put me down for News Corp


YouTube has peaked: competition, clamping down on copyrighted material, and too much mediocre content poorly catalogued will slow growth over the next 6 months. Watch YouTube traffic over the next 4 months, it will slow considerably.


I dont think theyre planning to be acquired, I think they`re just waiting for the right moment to start adding ad trailers to the videos.

Then as long as their ad price per view is higher than the bandwidth cost to serve the video, they`ll be fine.


Yahoo and AOL could are still potential acquirer. It happened more than once that the big guys tried to launch a competitor but never reached success > then bought a successful start up to catch up with traction / features / user base…


YouTube’s site is a red herring. Its true that they’re currently the video sharing destination site of choice, but the real story here is video syndication. YouTube is a video publishing platform. A good one at that. Specifically, the ease by which you can post your video on any web site/blog is the breakthrough. One platform, limitless destinations. Thats the promise of the open web and the real race in question here.


Hmm.. think people may have read into my comments misleadingly. I wasn’t advocating for YouTube’s full conversion to paid content only. The idea is to offer paid content alongside free content. Users would be free to continue uploading whatever hokey wrestling videos they want. At the same time provide a venue and tools for content producers to sell their videos for fees. There’s a lot of indie film and TV-like content out there. YouTube could be the aggregator and middle-man for all that. The free uploaded videos keep the people coming but the paid content becomes the revenue driver.

Take a look at Google Video – free and paid content in parallel. Google’s problem is they haven’t figured out a good way of selling the paid content. In their half-assed, slap-a-Google-logo-on-there-and-it’s-cool approach, they’ve made it look like nothing more than a video search engine. Rich media requires presentation and a portal. Imagine TiVO as a search engine – it’d be a failure. However, replicate the TV channel-surfing behavior on paid video content and you’ve got a goldmine.


and look at the 3295 clips relating to Arsenal Football Club recorded from TV…Napster lawsuits anyone? Sorry, I’ll stop now…


do any of you people actually look at these sites?
“They have the eyeballs – they just need to create a market for unique content. They’re in an excellent position to be the iTunes Store of commercial and homebrew video”.
Click on ‘sports’ and the top ten groups are:
Mixed and female wrestling
gay wrestling
raufromantik – mixed wrestling
The new mixed and female wrestling group
Female Bodybuilder Admirers
World Bikini Wrestling
The Muscle Gallery
Real Wrestling
“They’re in an excellent position to be the iTunes Store of commercial and homebrew video”.
Yeah right – I can see legions of sports fans/participants flocking to see this…
Is anyone actually auditing the traffic figures?


To patrick, easy as it may seem to see no barriers to entry or switching costs from perspective of technology, user experience dictates users would line up at the gates of those websites where they are more likely to find a particular video or have the single largest selection in case its just idle browsing. That is another reason skype has beaten google talk. Switching costs in this case are network externalities not typing in a url.

John B

No barriers to entry, no unique IP, no switching costs for consumers.

Someone will pay a premium for the eyeballs and a discount for the content, but not a Yahoo!, Google, AOL or anyone else with native traffic. Unique visitor gains would be miniscule and hard to predict.


I’m still wondering why YouTube hasn’t started moving beyond the ad-revenue model. They have the eyeballs – they just need to create a market for unique content. They’re in an excellent position to be the iTunes Store of commercial and homebrew video. Instead YouTube is sitting around twiddling its thumbs while it waits for the big buyout. Learn from Friendster – if they’re not innovating and sourcing a sustainable revenue model, they’re dust. There’s no way just selling ads to cover video bandwidth costs is going to work in the long run.

Right now ITMS and Google Video have a head start on commercial film and TV offerings for sale. If YouTube can get a good payment system set up, they could create a market for subscription or pay-per-view user-uploaded video content. Once everyone’s selling their wares on YouTube, Big Media will have to follow suit and offer their content on YouTube as well to maximize profit opportunities.


YouTube will prevail.

Interest in YouTube doesn’t have to come from one of the existing portals, it can come from anywhere. Disney. General Electric. Viacom. You name it – these are all players who would love the kind of global traffic that YouTube generates.
My guess is, though, that News Corp. will ultimately be the one to acquire – as they seem to be more visionary than the others.
But with Jobs on the Board of Disney now, who knows?

Rod Edwards

From a buyer’s perspective, what’s cheaper? Paying for YouTube’s fickle traffic base and easily replicated technology, or developing it in house and marketing it via your own extensive properties?

I would think that the math would point to a buyer from the trad. media world looking to expand a weak online presence; can’t see any of the online giants bagging it unless it goes for dirt cheap.


Youtube has got a distinct advantage though – the user base. Online users dont surf 10 different video sites for a particular video…youtube has got this user externality where many more videos are uploaded on youtube than any other (i mean yahoo video search has existed for a while too). In my opinion yahoo or AOL made the blunder by not buying youtube and its legion of users, though they still have the option to do it in the future if their video sites do not take off.

John P

Yes Peter got it right, Flickr was a people/tech buy. Yahoo basically bought Web 2.0, at least some of the main people that started the trends. Youtube would just be a plain eyeball buy. The big guys already know how to scale.


YouTube and Flickr? Flickr was innovative, YouTube isn’t. Flickr pioneered a bunch of new things, and is still much better than YouTube. Yahoo can easily clone YouTube, but they couldn’t clone Flickr because the thinking behind it was much better. So they wanted to get the people. What does the YouTube team have? Scaling expertise? Expertise in throwing money around? Flickr had that 2.0 mojo. YouTube has a business model that’s pretty much doomed. Nothing to acquire there. Plus Flickr didn’t have millions of VC dollars hanging around their neck.

John P

Man, YouTube is just dumb business… They took too much VC money so they need to sell for a really high price, the technology is too easy to copy, they have no business model yet, and they grew by expoiting copyrighted material. All they did was give something great for free and got money to keep growing.

The only thing they can do is roll out this great new business model they say they are working on and hope they can become profitable in time.

Vladimir Orlt

After reading about this clone from AOL (the umpteenth one in the past few weeks), some animal analogies come to mind (please forgive me):

Microsoft lumbering Elephant
Apple heel-snapping Hyena
Google fat Lion with yellowing teeth
Yahoo Gorilla in need of evolution

AOL Monkey

Robert Dewey

YouTube is definitely going down the tube, IMO… They just lost two potential aqcuirers (Yahoo and AOL) … I guess the big guys like NewsCorp and Viacom are still left, but I worry that legal issues will keep them from moving in.

With YouTube running thin on the funding vs. operating cost ratio, I don’t see them lasting much longer than 12 months if they can’t come up with viable solution to bring in revenue or go through an M&A.

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