Google To Transform YouTube From Copyright Problem To Ad-Pusher

8 10 2008

YouTube has always been a thorn in the side of music companies, constantly hosting and giving visitors free access to their material. Since Google bought YouTube for $1.65billion back in October 2006 record companies have been all-over the search giant, saying that their music being on the site is copyright infringement.

This has also ended up in Viacom famously saying they would sue Google for $1billion over its alleged 160,000 clips that were viewed over 1.5 billion times.

However, Google have today stated their intention, via their “I Clicked to Buy And I Liked It” (to the tune of Katy Perry) blog post, to start putting ads alongside YouTube videos, with the potential to turn the YouTube arguement on its head…

Google will be placing links to related sites next to the YouTube video, to allow users to quickly track down related songs or films present in the video and download them, purchase merchandise or just find out more.

YouTube managers Glenn Brown and Thai Tran, via the official Google blog, described the idea behind click-to-buy links:

Click-to-buy links are non-obtrusive retail links, placed on the watch page beneath the video with the other community features. Just as YouTube users can share, favorite, comment on, and respond to videos quickly and easily, now users can click-to-buy products — like songs and video games — related to the content they’re watching on the site. We’re getting started by embedding iTunes and Amazon.com links on videos from companies like EMI Music, and providing Amazon.com product links to the newly-released video game Spore(TM) on videos from Electronic Arts.

So it may seem like a small change, but it could be the beginning of a very big one.

Google are evidently doing this to try and make some return on their $1.65billion investment, which they have so far struggled to do. However, this also goes some way to show that they are playing ball with the big names over copyright. A record company is likely to stop complaining about lost earnings (despite watching a video being vastly differnt from wanting to buy a song) if Google is offering to send users directly to a page where they could buy their material. Could Google be changing the way in which we buy music to a method which I’ve wanted for years? Watch/listen to an album as a precursor to purchase – a test drive, if you will. YouTube users are unlikely to suddenly ditch file-sharing and torrenting, but at least Google are offering another way.

What are your thoughts on Google’s move to place ads on YouTube? Do you think record companies will calm down, or will they simply accuse Google of now making money from the illegally hosted content? Tell us what you think. Leave a comment!

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