This weekend I completed what I believe to be my greatest cinematic work yet, a documentary of sorts on the Weena Man, Government Camp’s premier dodgeball player. The subject is Cory Grove of Cobra Dogs fame, and in one afternoon we filmed everything I need to make this gem. The results, he and I agree, are epic. Even the perpetually salty Jared Souney said it was my best work yet (even if he did follow it up with “usually your videos aren’t funny.”) So it went live on YoBeat this morning and I highly encourage you to check it out, but it brings up an issue I’ve been debating for awhile now.
We’ve recently gotten a video player on YoBeat and technically it’s supposed to be embeddable, but for whatever reason the viral part of it doesn’t work with WordPress. So a lot of times I will include a link to the video on our vimeo page as well so people can embed it from there if they so desire. But on this one not only did I not include the link, but I set our vimeo so that no one could embed it either. That way, if they want to see the video they have to come to YoBeat, right?
It’s pretty common knowledge that if you let people embed your video it will get the most possible views. But honestly, I don’t care how many people see my video. My goal in creating content for YoBeat is to give people a reason to visit the site so that I can sell ads against those visits, not to provide everyone else with free content so they can do the same. What I’ve realized is that if people are really excited about your video to the point they want to blog it, they will do so without embedding it. And instead of them getting the content, they actually have to link to your site and send people there to see it. I mean, that Susan Boyle video wasn’t embeddable and it got 72 million views and counting. I see no reason Dodgeball can’t do the same! (Ok, maybe a few less views than that, but only a few.)
But it’s really great branding! Sure. And in a couple weeks, after it’s not bringing traffic to the site anymore then sure, I guess I will let other people embed and hope that a few more people see the YoBeat logo and realize where it came from and then in turn visit the site. Does it actually work like that? Doubtful. For sure one of the biggest challenges with YoBeat is getting the name out there, and making sure every snowboarder knows it exists. Recently I did an experiment with that Yahoo! action sports site, whose videos get 10,000 plus views in a few days. I posted a video there, added a link and plenty of credits to YoBeat, then got it pushed to the main page thanks to a friend on the inside. Did I notice a difference in traffic? NOT AT ALL. In fact, so far those GrindTV links have sent a total of 80 visits since June 1 (In contrast, Google has sent over 6000.)
Now in theory, if our player, which hosts videos directly on our server, was embeddable, then we would “technically” get the traffic when people embedded it. Of course, those people are still not seeing our ads (and we don’t have preroll) so pretty much it would just succeed in overwhelming our server, not actually driving any traffic. Again, another strike against embedding.
I guess this is the nature of the Internet and everyone is trying to figure out how to make it work in their favor. Media mogul Lee Crane just pointed me to an interesting article on the Washington Post site about a similar issue with sites such as Gawker essentially ripping off other’s content for its personal gain. The author says he was at first “trimphant” at getting linked, though his editor didn’t seem to get why he was so excited about his article being “ripped off.” It’s worth a read as it spells out why this may or may not be the end of journalism, and of course, it’s sort of funny thinking I learned about this from the man who runs Boardistan (and action sports site that does that exact thing.)
But when YoBeat gets linked to Boardistan, we do get a nice bump in traffic. Same with Ashbury’s blog, which is another reason I am not sure I want our videos to be embeddable. Last week our new Tuesday feature “Terrible Tuesday Tips” featured an Asbury rider, Will Tuddenham. I was excited for the extra couple hundred visits thanks to the Asbury link, but due to some technical issues, had just posted the vimeo version on YoBeat as well. As it turned out, Ashbury just embedded the video (as I would have done as well) and we got no extra traffic that day.
So what’s my point in all this? Basically I want everyone to stop going to other snowboarding sites any only visit YoBeat, but if that can’t happen, at least I’d like people to appreciate the good content when we have it on the source. Is that too much to ask?