August 22, 2007 1:30 PM PDT

New ads jar some YouTube fans

Related Stories

YouTube tests 10-second ad format

August 21, 2007
Matt Harding, creator of one of YouTube's all-time most-watched videos, had a strong immediate reaction to the video site's new advertising experiment: "I'm annoyed."

Harding, who is seen dancing in famous spots around the world in the clip "Where the Hell is Matt?" hadn't viewed the ads until CNET sent him a link to a video featuring one of YouTube's mini-commercials, which the company started testing today against a handful of videos (but not Harding's).

"As a viewer, I don't like this at all," said Harding, whose video has been viewed more than 7 million times since it was posted a year ago. "As someone who makes videos, I would object to allowing them to put an ad on the screen. Put it on the margins, above the player but not on the screen itself."

Fans of Google's YouTube are starting to react to overlay advertisements the company began testing on Wednesday. Some find them jarring, some in international quarters wish they could see them, and still others are wondering if they can make money off their own videos with these ads. While there's hardly a unanimous opinion, one thing is for certain: Google is finally looking to cash in on its $1.65 billion YouTube acquisition.

"If YouTube starts with accessory advertising while the video is playing, I leave YouTube," said one poster on YouTube's blog with the screen name "Amgervinus."

Another viewer who refers to himself on YouTube as "quepasakoolj18" put it more succinctly in his post: "Yuck." Poll

We now interrupt this broadcast...
What's your take on the short ads now showing on YouTube videos?

I hardly noticed.
10 seconds? I can live with that.
10 seconds? Waaay too long.
Adios, YouTube.

View results

The ads appear at the bottom of a video shortly after the clip starts to play and disappear after 10 seconds. They resemble the TV-style ads that often feature the image of a celebrity walking onto the bottom of a TV screen for a few brief moments. YouTube executives said Tuesday that extensive testing showed that viewers rejected any format that forced them to sit through a commercial prior to a clip being played, a process known as a pre-roll.

Using overlays, executives said, was the least intrusive way to get a message in front of their audience, or so they believe.

Critics don't have to worry about the ads appearing on the iPhone or AppleTV--at least at this point. Google has said that the ads will appear only on the YouTube site "at this time." The ads only show up at YouTube in the United States, and some international users were upset when they couldn't check them out.

One British user responded, appropriately, in a video blog he posted to YouTube.

"Now, this idea will thrust the adverts in people's faces, which means the click-thru rate might be a bit higher," said the YouTube video creator who calls himself Nuodai. "In my estimation, if an advert comes up, people are going to be just as uninterested as, say, a banner ad at the top of the page.

"Eventually people are going to get used to these adverts popping up and their automatic reaction will be to click the close button or just letting it go away, which is why I don't think this is going to be as effective as they make it out to be," he said. "Personally I think this is a very disruptive way of advertising."

A smaller number of those who posted to YouTube's site were taking a wait-and-see approach. ThoughtScientist wrote that "as long as the situation doesn't evolve to the point where ads are forced on all videos, there should be no problems."

Others sympathized with YouTube's plight.

The company has long said it was looking for a way to post ads but in a way that wouldn't irk users. "(YouTube fans) can't really complain about it annoying them or being intrusive to the video because you can manually click it away easily," said "123woow." "Good job YouTube."

Plenty of others who posted comments to YouTube were confused about whether video creators could profit from it.

YouTube has said that it will insert ads only into videos created by a select number of "partners." Google, which acquired YouTube last October for $1.65 billion, is planning to charge advertisers $20 for every 1,000 times ads are displayed. Google also will share the ad revenue with those partners.

Even the promise of money couldn't sway some YouTube fans to embrace the videos, and they threatened to unsubscribe to any video makers who were too commercial. But Internet viewers, of course, are often fickle with any sort of ad.

"I'm okay with this," said Rrandiicom on YouTube's blog. "But eventually it would get boring. I wouldn't subscribe to anyone who does this, but it wouldn't stop me from watching one of their videos. It'd be great though to get money for the videos you've made."

See more CNET content tagged:
YouTube, margin, viewer, Google Inc., video


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
All Advertising Is Inherently Annoying
All Advertising Is Inherently Annoying...

Some is just LESS annoying.

Sticking anything in my face is the best way to get me to dislike the product being advertised.

"TV viewers have grown accustomed to watching a show and seeing the image of David Letterman or some other star walk across the bottom of the screen as part of a promotion" Note the use of the phrase "grown accustomed". No one likes it. People just put up with it because they have little choice.

I am tired of the useless and irritating junk that constantly swirls around on commercial TV.

Thank goodness for pop-up blockers, ad blockers, and other tools that allow me to control my web surfing experience.

Google is NOT a web search company. They are now an advertising company that just happens to use a search page as one of their ways of getting ads in front of people. Their motto "Don't be evil" is becoming a joke.
Posted by sismoc (119 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Run! It's Advertising!
Yeah, because advertising is so *evil*

Unlike Google spending millions (both from the company and the founders personally) into renewable energy and electric cars - so you know... you can breath better?

Oh, and also the millions of dollars that Google pours into their community projects and charities.

Then, there is again, the millions poured into free speech organizations to help protect your already eroding freedoms.

Last but not least, that Google went to bat to protect your searches from the Bush administration, UNLIKE AOL.

Go back reading ADbusters because the only joke here is you.

Disclaimer: I don't own Google stock, I don't even use their search site anymore - I use Ask.
Posted by vagarob (24 comments )
Link Flag
Fire the Google uppity, petty manager... the name "Eileen". She concocted this witchcraft and will slowly sink the Google ship!
("Women on a ship bring bad luck"....16 century mariners' credo).

Larry, Sergey, Chad Hurley:

Tommorow, take Eileen to one of the finest Google cafeterias. Feed her, and then...FIRE HER!
Posted by puma202 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hey complainers.. Have better ideas?
Have better ideas to host all of those movies for no cost? Comon get real.
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So in your one dimensional world
This is the only solution?

Intrusive ads? There is no reason to put them in the videos.

Are they going to share in the profits?

I can see this as Googles first big mistake. They just might have killed YouTube. Right not there is a huge opportunity for some upstart to displace it.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Yep - MS Soapbox!
Use MS Soapbox. Keep the ads in the banners.
Posted by smilin:) (889 comments )
Link Flag
No one wants ads on THEIR video (unless they get paid for it...). The least Google could do is put annoying, flashing "YOU'VE WON $10,000!" ads NEXT TO the video. Or make it the video owner's choice.
Posted by Dialexio (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It still amazes me how we've become such a society of entitlement. Everyone expects limitless features and functionality from web companies for free and then complains when the company providing those services tries to monetize them by selling advertising or "pro" versions of their service.

Remember the bubble, folks? The reason it happened is that a ton of internet startups came up with ideas to provide services over the web without bothering to figure out how to generate revenue. Where are most of them now? Gone!

You can't have your cake and eat it too... either be prepared to pony up cash to pay for the storage, bandwidth, developers, support personnel, etc. or get used to seeing some (IMHO) fairly unobtrusive advertising.
Posted by sirtwist (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Right you are
Also amazing is the freedom-of-speach arguement. If you want your videos protected from advertizement, post them on your own web site, where no one will see them.
Posted by shoffmueller (236 comments )
Link Flag
I never understood this phrase
What's the point of having cake if you can't eat it?
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Link Flag
So, Google is not only allowing piracy but also making money by selling ads.....Good going Google.
Posted by flickrz (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
omg... terrorist....child predators....piracy.....

if you could just fit in the drug lords i swear you were a PR agent
with the MPAA.
Posted by vagarob (24 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing is free-
SOMEBODY pays-if you want to receive it at your current cost (free to you!) ,then you'll have to put up with the payer's crud-or pay for it yourself with no ads.
Posted by bamabrad (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
C|Net could take a cue from YouTube
C|Net could take a cue from YouTube. The pre-rolls on all C|Net
videos are most annoying.
Posted by Dr. Smoke (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't spend a BILLION dollars on a lame video hosting site.

Posted by Hardrada (359 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is just utterly stupid!
Pretty soon, a lot of members will start looking for other video sites.
Posted by Tombo60 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Any form of advertising that overlays content is unacceptable to me.

I use YouTube as a simple way to share videos with friends and family and I don't object to banner or text ads at all. But if this "experiment" becomes permanent, I'll close my account and put up my own site for that purpose. It's really not that hard. I've built video sites before.

Maybe I'll do it in a big way and sell subscriptions. I, for one, would rather pay for the service than have to put up with intrusive advertising. It seems that the advertising industry in America won't be satisfied until our lives are one non-stop commercial.
Posted by Geek091 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good idea....
In building your other sites, did you build them sans popups / popunders / banners / Links or any other revenue tool to defray the cost of the site?
First and formost, I agree with you. I dislike an overlay as a form of advertisement. I don't care for it in TV nor will I really care for it on the internet. Frankly most adverts on the internet are horrid hucksterisms.
Overlays intrude on the entertainment product we purchase. BUT that's the rub. We aren't purchasing entertainment off of YouTube or TV. To get "free" entertainment, we are going to have to put up with some advertisement. There is no "free" in business. Google is trying to strike a balance between what they have to do to keep a site funded and what they have to do to keep clients from leaving.
I think its a great idea for you to create a for profit site, but in that simple statement, you aren't creating a "free" exchange site like YouTube. Another options would be to counter offer Google some monitary value for running your video "free" to friends and family. Google might look at that as a real revenue port. That way your "free" video gets to your target audience.
Posted by theconqror (1 comment )
Link Flag
Actually, yes.
When I said "video sites," I was actually referring to portions of sites; though there's no reason that the video portions couldn't have been complete sites. In other words, the technology was there, even though the video portion was a small part of the total site.

These were built for hire for businesses who needed a simple way for field service people to make videos of inspections (along with other files) available to others in the company who needed access to them. They were not "public" sites in that authentication was needed to access them (which is also why I can't link to them, and you'd be unable to authenticate anyway).

My point is that the technology to create a video site isn't all that complex. In fact, you can even purchase it if you don't care to code it yourself. The only complex part is the transcoder, and even that can be licensed if you like.

If I were to create an advertising-supported video site, it would work exactly like my existing advertising-supported sites: There would be affiliate banners and text ads, but no pop-ups, pop-unders, slide-in DHTML ads, links to full-page Flash ads in between parent and child pages, or other intrusive advertising.

If I were to create a video site solely for my own use and that of my family and friends, it would, of course, be ad-free.

But it's not advertising I object to. I derive a significant portion of my income from ads. It's intrusive advertising that I object to. When the ad obstructs the content, then something is wrong with the Webmaster's priorities, in my opinion.

I do think that a subscription-monetized video side a'la Smugmug would do well, and that Google should explore that option. Photobucket also offers an ad-free "Pro" account that I'm told is very popular. A lot of people, including myself, are willing to pay for ad-free content if the content itself is decent and the site works well.
Posted by Geek091 (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It might be similar to the ads in Joost and Tivo
I'd be open to ads in youtube if they were implemented in a manner similar to that of Joost and Tivo. The Joost service is ad supported but these tiny interactive ads appear in the corner of feeds and can be clicked away easily. The joost ads are so unobstrusive to the point that I never feel compelled to click them away, even though I know they're there.

With Tivo, if you happen to be watching an actual ad, Tivo has started (not very often) hitting you with: "if you like the product you've just seen, hit the "Thumbs Up" for more info."
Posted by Macajuel (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You Tube ads.
I think that if Google is going to earn money with these Ads then
those who create the video should also have a share in the profits.
That should be a negotiated percentage based on popularity.
Posted by RandyHale (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
They are getting part of the profit
Did you even read it? Better go back and read a 2nd time because obviously you didn't understand it. They are putting ads with "selective partners" and paying them part of the profit. Why is that hard for you to understand?
Posted by JohnSP (11 comments )
Link Flag
They shouldn't get a cent
I really don't think youtube desire to put up those ads

While they didn't pay anything upfront to those content provider...

No way! I think those people desire at least 8:2 ot 9:1 5:5 just don't make sense

Quick... Move away!
there is sooo many different websites better than youtube, just missing you who upload videos!

I would suggest users move to
MSN Soapbox,Revver or iFilm
Posted by Kenny Yeung (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They shouldn't get a cent
I really don't think youtube desire to put up those ads

While they didn't pay anything upfront to those content provider...

No way! I think those people desire at least 8:2 ot 9:1 5:5 just don't make sense

Quick... Move away!
there is sooo many different websites better than youtube, just missing you who upload videos!

I would suggest users move to
MSN Soapbox,Revver or iFilm
Posted by Kenny Yeung (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Ads Dont Bother Me
I'm glad they aren't putting them at the front of videos where you have to wait to watch the actual clip, like other news sites have done. These ads don't bother me at all, youtube is a great site and no one is even close, I understand they have to make money somewhere to pay for all the bandwidth, so these ads don't bother me at all.
Posted by JohnSP (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Stupid liberal minded audience doesn't understand capitalism
Who's supposed to pay for the delivery of the videos, Santa Claus? Duhh!
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YouTube was doing fine before Google ruined it
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Link Flag
Not really....
YouTube was living off massive loans and grants it could not last long on the path it was taking. Google purchasing them was YouTube's dreams come true.

But the "Liberal" comment... get a life. Why do you morons have to bring your agenda into everything?

Most people understand you have to make a profit, and most would rather see adsense ads on the sides of the clips not in it. That is the problem? Can you understand that? I doubt it...
Posted by aSiriusTHoTH (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just Another Type Of Pop-Ups!
Didn't like the Pop-Ups back when they started ... still don't like them today. There has been several styles or method ... this will be just another method.
Posted by Steph0314 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.