What's Wrong With YouTube: A List Of Sins

Everybody takes shots at the big guy and in online video, nobody is much bigger than YouTube, where, as you read this paragraph, 100 hours of video is being uploaded for the viewing pleasure of the billion unique visitors that go there every month.

And yet… A pretty good list of flaws is detailed at, which compiled YouTube’s “10 Greatest Mistakes.” (Some of them are a little redundant, but with apologies to God the Father, so are several of the Ten Commandments.)

The author of YouTube’s Greatest Unhits,” Chris Smith, says that despite YouTube’s huge size, it’s “innovative, forward-thinking and fearless platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, SkyGo and BBC iPlayer which are dominating the discussion around video streaming.”  



So what is YouTube? Chopped liver? (See YouTube video, How To Make Chopped Liver.) Almost an “afterthought,” Smith says.

This piece appears shortly after YouTube got bruised by giving a cold deal to independent music labels.  But there are a lot of other sins. I’ve reworded some of them on this Top 10.

1. It is always in court fighting copyright battles.

2. YouTube is a little light on original content it actually makes: “Back in to 2012 YouTube announced a $200m investment in securing premium original content through premium channels. Where are the fruits of that investment?” the author asks.

3. Lousy packaging: Why not premium YouTube channels (to show the premium content it could be offering)?

4.  Forced Google+ integration meant users had to use Google+ to comment on videos, an announcement that went over like a lead balloon. (See YouTube lead balloon video.)

5.  YouTube is low-balling independent musicians: It makes tons of money from advertising from their videos.

6. “Dead weight uploads”: TechRadar quotes an expert who says 80% of YouTube’s uploads don’t have ads against them, the international sign of Who Cares?  The other day, the not-easily-astonished Bob Garfield reported there are 902,615 YouTube videos just about game consoles, smartphones, tablets, computers, audio, cameras, smart-devices and accessories. (My “chopped liver” YouTube search, which consisted of typing “chopped liver” into the YouTube search engine, turned up 128,000 matches.)

7. YouTube is unfocused: “Netflix's sole purpose is creating that winning streaming service…” writes TechRadar. “In contrast, because YouTube is just a division of Google, it can afford to experiment and fail without it hurting too much. As a result they try and fail a lot.”

8. YouTube stars are not stars: Outside of their niches, YouTube stars are unknowns and “might also be they're among the most grossly annoying people on the planet.”

9. Other places are more convenient:  Instagram and Vine are more inventive and easy to do, and many online video sites make it easier to find content than YouTube does.

10. YouTube is “asleep at the wheel”: Example: Why did YouTube give Spotify a five-year headstart in the music video biz?

Lest you believe it’s only TechRadar that is bad-mouthing YouTube, David Lieberman at  sums up a report from RBC Capital Markets’ David Banks' study of the power of video ads: “An entire week of YouTube is roughly as valuable to major advertisers as a single, first-run episode of ‘The Big Bang Theory.’” As popular as that CBS sitcom is, Banks notes, it “does not threaten the rest of the TV advertising ecosystem.” And so, of course, neither does YouTube.

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