YouTube might need to rethink their new InVideo advertising scheme based on initial feedback to the popular video sharing Web site.
The new InVideo ads, launched by Google Inc.'s YouTube division on Wednesday, start as an overlay on the bottom 20 percent of a video, and people can click and watch the advertisement if they want to. If the user does not click on the overlay, the ad will simply disappear. They are designed to interfere as little as possible with viewing. If a user clicks on the advertisement, the video they were watching pauses while the ad plays.
One responder to the YouTube blog post, bdc2005, was disappointed about an apparent lack of creativity in the advertising scheme. "You guys ripped off VideoEgg. What happened to innovation?" the posting says.
And a banner on VideoEgg Inc.'s home page says in bold letters: "Welcome YouTube, Seriously. We invented the video overlay ad about a year ago. We are delighted that the market is finally catching on to a vital new approach to video advertising."
YouTube could not be reached for comment. The company did not claim to invent the idea, merely that it would launch the overlays.
Mostly, users expressed dissatisfaction over the new ad scheme, and a number said they would turn to other Web sites that host videos in response to the move.
"Please don't ruin the YouTube experience. I really don't want to have to upload all my videos to a different site. But I will," wrote drivin98.
Several users did not like the intrusion on creativity. "These videos are made by us, for us, and should not see the creative content impeded," wrote video maker EloiCasali.
Cenzo74 said the advertisements will taint the videos, and could contain content the video owner personally dislikes or is against.
"Video is art. Film is art. And for you to paint over their artwork is a complete atrocity. Place your ads somewhere else," he wrote.
Placing advertisements elsewhere or finding other ways to make money were another major theme of the responses. Mainyard48 prefers pre-roll ads, while other users asked for advertisements beside videos, above or below, "but not in the video," wrote user Tupisuis. Several people even asked to be charged for a premium service that did not include advertising.
Some people came to YouTube's defense, with user Avum pointing out it is spending a lot of money to host all of the videos on its Web site and needs to make money to pay for that.
There were also signs that other users might come around to the idea. Some of the postings indicated the user had not actually seen the new video overlays, but had merely heard about them. User glennrr wrote that it was "not as bad as it sounded. Good job."
To be sure, the idea is new and some people could get used to it over time. But the overall tenor of the responses was negative, and indicate most YouTube users would rather find another video sharing Web site than be forced to watch advertisements.