Monday, June 2, 2008

Getting Views on YouTube

I recently uploaded a six-minute excerpt from my feature length documentary, and I figured by sending it out to all of my friends and business colleagues, as well as posting it on the RotoWire blogs I'd get enough traffic for the clip to go viral. I was wrong - at least for now, and the clip is stuck at about 885 views with more trickling in slowly each day. This was a far cry from the 200,000 I had hoped to get in order to attract the attention of potential distributors.

So I did some looking around the web to find good sites to send the clip to, better search tags to add to it and whatever else I hadn't thought of. And I found this site, Tech Crunch, which no doubt offers sound advice if boosting your views is your main objective.

Suggestions on Tech Crunch include: logging in under many different YouTube usernames and generating fake commentary about your own clip, logging onto message boards with several different usernames and getting into heated discussions about your own clip, etc.

And I thought this was funny because I was feeling guilty at clicking on the video from different browsers and thereby generating multiple page views myself. My naive idea had been that my clip and documentary were actually good, and so once I sent it out to a few hundred people, naturally they would forward it along, and it would blow up. But Tech Crunch pointed out that:

There are tens of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube each day (I’ve heard estimates between 10-65,000 videos per day). I don’t care how “viral” you think your video is; no one is going to find it and no one is going to watch it.

And so you have to game the system to get your video to the top of YouTube or onto key lists where it will be recognized. Which I thought about doing for about 10 seconds and then rejected. It's fake! It's cheating. It's fundamentally not merit based.

But what if through cheating you're able to get something you genuinely believe is good and worked very hard on for years into public view. Surely, the end justifies the means?

It's a fair argument, but I just can't get behind it. Pretending people like your clip is bad for the system, and while plenty of other people do it, it's fundamentally because they lack faith in their creative ability and their ability to adapt and market in an honest way. I'd be thrilled for instance if some big-time blogger picked it up and it spread that way. The key is that people send it along because they genuinely enjoy it.

Sundays Are for Football

Excerpt from the 68-minute feature length documentary on the Hollyweird Fantasy Football League.