Time: YouTube a Top 10 Tech Failure

So I understand that there are plenty of worthy causes out there that need me to stand up for them more than YouTube does, but I just can’t help myself. Honestly, Time — YouTube is one of the “10 Biggest Tech Failures of the Last Decade“? Right up there with Vonage, Vista and HD DVD? I just don’t see it.

Time_youcover01Here’s an excerpt from the blurb, written by Douglas A. McIntyre of 24/7 Wall St. for Time:

“YouTube is the largest video sharing site in the world. According to comScore, 99.7 million viewers watched 5.9 billion videos on YouTube.com in the U.S. during March 2009. In November 2006, Google (GOOG) bought YouTube for $1.65 billion. There is a fairly good chance that the search company will never get a return on that investment. YouTube has not come up with a model to make money by either selling advertising or charging for premium content, even though it has an a enormous audience and library of content.”

McIntyre concludes, “YouTube is big, but that has not made it a success.” Well, yes, making money is a priority for any company. But changing the face of entertainment, democratizing access to content production and consumption, enabling a whole new category of shared experiences — that doesn’t count for anything? Especially when YouTube is (very much) still in business, and Google can afford to keep propping it up as it finds its way?

Being a pundit is just too easy sometimes. Remember in 2006, when Time’s person of the year was “you” — as in, a mirrored YouTube player on its front cover?


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