Often we take for granted the vastness of YouTube. Over 100 hours of footage are uploaded every minute according to YouTube’s internal statistics. The site already hosts more content than any human could possibly watch in a lifetime. Obviously not all of that content is of the same quality or level of interest. The cream, as the expression goes, rises to the top. That’s how we end up with YouTube stars routinely scoring hundreds of thousands or even millions of views on every upload. But what about the opposite? What about the hundreds of hours of video that are watched by only a few, or perhaps by no one at all?
As YouTube’s discovery features have improved over time it’s become harder and harder to organically stumble across something unpopular. YouTube has gotten so good at serving up what is already popular that a dedicated community has come together around these online video orphans. A growing crop of websites now offers easy access to anyone looking to take a deep-dive to the bottom of YouTube’s content ocean.
0Views : A Tumblr account that actively curates “interesting” videos that have zero views. If you’re just getting started in the world of unappreciated YouTube this is a good place to start. 0Views takes the guess work out of skimming the lower levels of YouTube by serving up hidden treasures right to your dashboard.
Underviewed: If you’re ready to graduate from being spoonfed to finding your own video snacks then Underviewed is for you. It uses an algorithm to surface videos with less than 10 views, but there’s no accounting for quality. A banner on the front page warns that videos with such low engagement could contain offensive material since no one has watched them in order to flag that content.
Petit Tube: If you’re tired of clicking on random tiles or if you really want to get interactive then newly launched French site Petit Tube has you covered. The site generates a continuous rolling playlist of videos with zero views and allows users to vote them up or down. Videos that get voted up will appear more frequently, giving them a great chance of going viral. Prepare to see a lot of real estate ads, kids sports games, and international news casts between a handful of potential viral gems.
Unsurprisingly, not all the content you’ll find at the bottom of the YouTube pile is gold. A lot of it is dull, personal, or inexplicable. Still, some of it does have a found-art quality when looked at from the right perspective. You also get the cheap thrill of being the first person, other than the original uploader, to ever lay eyes on this footage. If you’re one of those people who get a thrill from commenting “FIRST!” on every video you watch, this might prove to be a sensory overload, so explore with caution. If you’re hunting for a new viral sensation, or if you miss the old days when YouTube was a content free-for-all, then the world of unviewed YouTube might be right for you. Just be careful, it’s easy to lose hours clicking through the noise in search of treasure.