Hulu, the online TV service that allows liberal embedding of its videos by nearly any web site, has disabled videos embeds. Embeds (little bits of code that blog and other site owners can include on their pages that play specific videos from Hulu’s servers) have been down for hours so far this morning, replaced by messages that state, “This video is not currently available at this site, but you can view this and other Hulu videos at Hulu.com.” However, embedded video at official Hulu partner sites like AOL and Fancast still appears to work.
Is Hulu pulling the plug on one of its best features? It certainly has been used and abused, with sites like OPENhulu and TV Paradise republishing the site wholesale while it was still in closed beta. Most recently, developer Paul Yanez built an Adobe Air version of the site — but why would Hulu take down all embeds rather than nicely asking him to stop, if that’s what they wanted? Something’s not making sense, so we’ve called and emailed Hulu PR.
Update: Hulu replies,
“We were performing maintenance on the site early this morning. The embeds should be back up shortly.”
The lesson here? People really care about your service — they are tipping us in the wee hours of the morning that it’s not working. So either keep it up, or warn them when it’s going to go down.
Screenshots below the jump.