announced this afternoon that YouTube will now allow video publishers, no matter who they are, to bid for sponsored placement for their videos on the site. The program will be based on Adsense technology and is essentially just that - paid search results for user published videos.This is so cynical it just might work. Google
This is a radical opening of the previously white-listed YouTube monetization strategies. Have you made a video of your band performing its new single, or your company's new product demonstration or your nonprofit group's expose of corporate misbehavior? If you'd like to have that video highlighted on the site, now you can - for a price. What price? What can you bid?
Apparently the famous saying that "Freedom of the Press is available to anyone who can afford to buy one" was leaving too much money on the table. With Web 2.0 (plus auctions) the whole long tail can put in whatever money they have in order to buy visibility.
The service appears to be having technical difficulties at launch, I was unable to bid for improved placement of a video interview with my dog or of myself threatening to eat a live baby chicken, content that in my naive days I expected to soar to the top of the charts on its own merit.
YouTube started displaying advertisements inside selected partner videos a year and a half ago and moved to include selected videos in AdSense campaigns just over a year ago. We don't know how well those campaigns have monetized but both of them felt less creepy than today's announcement.
We'll be curious to see how many of YouTube's publishers are interested in purchasing views on the site and what that will do to the content community there.
At the very least, the class of slime balls that take money to inflate YouTube popularity numbers for their clients will now face a pricing challenge at the hands of the auction market.