Wednesday, November 07, 2007


So, yesterday, while browsing YouTube videos, I began to wonder if YouTube hired graphic designers for their YouTube partners. So I decided to click on the partner channels link and take a look at different partner channels. Well, after weeding through page after page of network-sponsored partner channels, which would have their own designers, I finally found the regular YouTube-user partners. After looking at a few of these channels, I decided that they must design their own stuff. During this search, however, I found something else kind of interesting.

Apparently, Oprah has her own YouTube partner channel now. It had been up for 5 days, at the time I found it, and was already a partner channel with 19,000 subscribers and two videos featured on the home page. Many people are angry about this, that this mega-celebrity with constant media attention would encroach on the common folks territory, including YouTube's infamous "pot-stirrer", Renetto, who's video on the subject has received 39 video responses.

Interestingly, the videos have been taken off of the featured videos list, perhaps in response to irate YouTubers.

As for myself, I'm not particularly angry, like I get when I look at pictures of clowns. Infact, I'm pretty much emotionally impartial to this situation. I am, however, interested in the moral implications. Here we've got the "broadcast yourself" site, where the common person can seek attention. People even labor and compete to find a spot on the coveted most subscribed list, the homepage featured list, and nowadays, to have partnership offered to them by YouTube. Some people have been at this for a couple years. Then, somebody who's name demands attention signs up and receives instant partnership, most subscribed list placement, and two featured videos.

Other people feel that she isn't being a real participant in the YouTube community. This video expresses several users opinions on that issue.

I guess I can't really blame people for being uncomfortable with this. Then again, it's not exactly the same situation as Paris Hilton. Oprah's fame came from actual effort, for one.


Ken Goldstein said...

Thanks for including my video in your posting. Your analysis is pretty much right on.

The people who made much angrier videos in response were misdirecting that anger. Oprah (the person) really had nothing to do with this. It was a promotional deal between Harpo Productions and YouTube that was poorly implemented.

Among the mistakes made were that they allowed "Oprah" (the channel) to select the 10 featured videos, and three (not two) of them were from their own channel, and many others were repeats of features we'd already seen (skateboarding dogs and such).

Then, on her videos, the ability to post reply videos was turned off completely. And the text comments were so highly moderated and edited that after 1,000,000 views of her welcome message, only 11 comments were posted! (For a comparison, my video you included currently has only 3,829 views, but 126 comments and 2 video responses.)

All of this would be fine if they'd been honest and open about it being a Harpo Productions channel (like the NBC or CBS or NFL channels). But instead, they put Oprah out there to say how much she was looking forward to being "part of the community."

So, our video to "her" (well, to her producers and the folks at YouTube who orchestrated this) was just a little attempt at saying there's a difference between "using the site" and "being part of the community."

I guess my final point, and one that was not made in the video, is that it's really a missed opportunity for Oprah/Harpo. They really could have harnessed the YT vloggers to provide input on her show, ideas for guests/topics, and support for her other projects. But they shut down the feedback loop upon entry.

Anyway - Thanks for the great blog, and for including my video. Take care.

J-Dubb said...

Yeah, I figured it was a network thing.
Featured 3 of their own videos, huh? That's insane.
Anyways, thanks for commenting. It was nice to get the perspective of the guy who made the video.
Glad you enjoyed the blog.