"click to buy" links that will appear below music videos. Music rights holders can also use YouTube's song-detection technology to, get this, put a link to buy a song under a video that uses that song without permission. That's crazy.Google just announced the company's latest attempt to monetize YouTube -
Eventually Google says it hopes to roll out e-commerce to support all kinds of industries, from music to movies to print to TV. TV, or course, knows how to sell advertisements; so even though TV is full of ads you still know you're there to watch video - not to go shopping. Such may not be the case with YouTube much longer, but maybe we all knew this day was coming - when YouTube was turned into the mall.
Fortunately, as you can see in the image below of an officially sanctioned video, the buttons are relatively small and unobtrusive. We are very curious to see how often people will actually click on them.
Exactly one year ago tomorrow, Google announced that YouTube videos would be offered inside of Adsense, something we thought was going to mean huge profits for the company. Apparently it hasn't, or else we'd have all heard about it in a press release.
Below: Overplayed, male-fetishized, wannabe-lesbian, mall-rat video with "click to buy" links at bottom.
Figuring out how to monetize YouTube is widely believed to be one of the biggest challenges Google faces, though in fact the $1.6 billion Google paid for YouTube was an all-stock deal and the hype of the buy alone raised Google's total stock value more than an additional $1.6 billion.
None the less, it's a huge property that the company obviously wants to monetize. We're not excited about seeing e-commerce links strewn all over YouTube, but if there's one bit of good news here it's that music sales will happen through both iTunes and the DRM-free Amazon.com. That way when you watch a cute video with someone lipsyncing, you can pay 99 cents and get that song yourself. Or, when you watch some pop-tart belt out the latest hit - you can buy that song for yourself. Instead of watching the video again or listening to it stream for free on MySpace Music.