From the moment that YouTube released its new site layout last year, the video-sharing hub has resembled a runaway truck. With every new update and change in code, YouTube seemed like it was moments away from plummeting right off a cliff. Fortunately, in the last moments before it crashed and burned, YouTube somehow managed to get back in control and, cautiously steer the site in the right direction.
People will always take issue with change, and YouTube users are no exception. But it wasn’t until recently that fan’s and creator’s criticisms reached an unprecedented level of outrage. Cosmic Panda, saturated advertisements, auto-generated channels and deleted accounts are some of the biggest generators of complaints from YouTube users. So, the question is, why did YouTube try to fix something that wasn’t broken? What is worth this constant cycle of barely avoiding disaster, just to aim right back towards it?
1. To Save A Failing Social Network
In a Wall Street Journal article, Amir Efrati writes, “Visitors using personal computers spent an average of about three minutes a month on Google+ between September and January, versus six to seven hours on Facebook each month over the same period, according to comScore, which didn’t have data on mobile usage.” The sudden rush to delete inactive accounts then require new YouTube users to sign up for G+ accounts can be directly linked to the social networks poor performance. Google is hoping to force the over 800,000,000 users on YouTube to use G+ and breathe some life into the drowning site.
2. To Appeal To Advertisers
The bottom line for every business is making money. And in the Wild West that is the Internet, advertising equals money. YouTube’s new, poorly received layout is built for several reasons. Chief among those is advertising. A wide homepage banner adorns the current layout, which is perfect for ads. By allowing every user to also become a partner, YouTube had the ability to run ads on the billions of videos currently uploaded on the site.
3. To Be More Like Television
Even though 90% of YouTube’s premium channels are predicted to fail, YouTube keeps pushing this big leap towards original content. By isolating smaller creators and promoting their roster of stars, YouTube is able to put whomever they want in the spotlight.
4. To Seem Like A Credible Source For Entertainment
YouTube has fought for years to break away from the stigma that comes with viral videos of cats and kids biting kids. If YouTube wants to be the new frontier of media, they must give investors and advertisers more than hit and miss home videos. Premium channels and the millions that are being invested into them, are just a few of the ways YouTube is painting their image new. Scrubbing old accounts to provide extremely accurate analytics is another step towards credibility. An advertiser wants to know exactly how many active eyes will be on their product. With dead or inactive accounts, those numbers would always be incorrect or exaggerated.
5. To Confuse The Hell Out Of Everyone
Okay, I suppose I understand the subscriber scrubbing. I also get the new layout. But, for every one thing that makes sense, it seems like there are ten that don’t. From auto generated channels to insanely broken recommended video suggestions, the staff at YouTube seem to pride themselves on leaving us scratching our collective heads.