Update: YouTube Clips TinyTube’s Wings


This week we’ve been mourning the loss of YouTube content on TinyTube’s mobile site, and thinking how much of a bully YouTube has become, given YouTube is built on user-generated content and copyright infringements. To see if this meant the end of TinyTube, we tracked down the founder, Allen Day, who ended up being a mellow, soft-spoken tech hobbyist, who created the site as a side project of his consulting firm Spicy Logic

Day says the site has been up only 3 weeks and already has on the order of 40,000 to 50,000 users. After a YouTube executive contacted him and asked him to remove YouTube’s content, he decided not to fight back and simply removed it. Day says that YouTube took exception to the way TinyTube transformed its video into a mobile format, which they saw as a form of redistribution. He complied with the demands but isn’t exactly happy about it.

“We are not willing to push YouTube and argue with them, though, we hope this is not permanent. As a user and a fan it is really a disappointment to see the direction that YouTube has taken,” says Day.

We’re thinking it’s not a coincidence that YouTube’s warning email was delivered around the same time that the Verizon deal was announced — there’s probably even Verizon’s lawyers lurking in the background somewhere.

Now Day says TinyTube is running Google videos and Metacafe videos, but does not have any formal agreement with these companies either. Day says he hopes to get formal agreements from content providers in the future and build a mobile video aggregation site even without YouTube’s content. Good luck. (We contacted Metacafe and Google and will update the story if they have a comment.)

Day might be pretty relaxed on the issue, but we’re not. TinyTube’s YouTube service was a symbol of how the mobile web can work as openly as the Internet. So shutting down the service means the wall is still firmly up and holding — depressing. Unlike some other publications, we’re not lawyers, so we’re not sure who’s in the right legally. But this sure makes YouTube look bad. What do you think?


lawrence cui

there is a new way of watching any online video on mobile phone at http://www.funformobile.com/> . you can paste the embed code of any online video into your blog after you sign up a free account there. you can then watch/stream/download the videos on your phone. try it out , it is really cool.

Darren Stuart

Smacks of a double standard on thier part really.

I know how he feels, I had the same issues with Digg and diggcard.

The way I see it is that these companies don’t care about crapping on the little guys because they have so much good press a little blip won’t matter.

S.S. Hoffman

This is an interesting and inevitable step in the growth of YouTube.

The fact is that YouTube has three main assets: 1) its brand recognition; 2) its users; 3) its content.

I expect that YouTube will vigorously defend all three of these. After all, Google spent enough money and I’m sure they want to see an ROI.

The Hoff


Shawn McCollum

I was really disappointed when I found out that youtube pulled tinytubes content. My hope was that this would have been more of a killer app for mobile then the weird verizon deal. I was hoping that it would catch on and hopefully push mobile web adoption up a little more then it’s current stagnent pace.

Vatsal, I’m not really suprised at google’s uninterest in doing more with .mobi. Really who else as an investor has done anything more then taking their normal mobile site and aliasing it to the .mobi domain. If I had the money to invest in a surething money grab like .mobi or other tld’s i’d invest too. I’d even say things like “.crap is going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread, because now all the crap people use on the internet will be in one place and have a standard brown theme”


Google is one of the investors in .mobi domain. So it is surprising that they signed a deal with Verizon (more money maybe) instead of coming out with a .mobi website for YouTube.



Again we see how the “open web” only works to raise money. Youtube fill his mouth telling that you can embed their videos in any page and when someone as Allen does, receives a warning email.

I think that Allen must “stand-up” and fight with YouTube. I support TINYTUBE. Allen, good luck! Let me know if you need something to fight’em.


Hey, the game is not over. It wont be the last and in a couple of weeks we will see more players breaching the wall of video aggregation over mobile in a true open way. TinyTube is Dead, LONG LIVE TINYTUBE!!!


I think looking bad by shutting down TinyTube should be the least of YouTube’s worries. With all my Internet involvement, I visited YouTube no more than 5 times since its inception, and still actively boycott the resource that degrades society further down. Horrible content, even worse userbase that leave nasty and often rude and vulgar comments… Not my cup of tea. But then who really cares?

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