U.S. President Barack Obama has soured on YouTube, it seems, and with the latest posting of his weekly address chose to embed an Akamai (s AKAM) player on his blog and link to an alternate version hosted on Vimeo. In the past YouTube (s GOOG) had been his staff’s video host of choice.
We don’t quite understand what’s going on here, and it doesn’t seem like the White House has sorted it all out yet, but apparently the switch routes back to privacy concerns over YouTube cookie tracking, according to CNET. The Obama administration had acted to limit information Google collected about its visitors last month, but apparently decided that wasn’t enough.
However the dust-up appears to be limited to the choice of whose version of the video to embed on the official government site, WhiteHouse.gov. A copy of the address was also posted to YouTube like normal. (Obama maintains three separate YouTube channels; for information on those and other heads of states’ video presences, see Jill’s recent article.)
Obama has made great use of online video from early on in his campaign, but he hasn’t stayed true to any one provider. At one point Brightcove was the chosen video host — but in the Brightcove player still embedded on BarackObama.com the latest video dates back to the Democratic Convention. Embedded YouTube versions of various speeches are also still live on BarackObama.com and WhiteHouse.gov.
Update: YouTube’s reply:
We at YouTube are happy to continue to work with the federal government to help make government more open, accessible, and transparent through video while we ensure the privacy of visitors to federal websites that use our technology. The White House YouTube channel is just one example of how government and citizens communicate more effectively through YouTube. The embed player we’ve developed is available to all federal agencies, and currently the White House has embedded several YouTube videos on whitehouse.gov. The White House’s decision to use an in-house player for the President’s most recent web address is their decision, and all inquiries regarding that issue should be directed to the White House.