Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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Boring: The Story of YouTube’s New Sponsorship Model

All the hubub a few weeks ago was YouTube’s branded channel thing. All of a sudden advertisers had a way to spend money on the site where all the cool kids were hanging out. The very first was a Paris Hilton channel sponsored by Prison Break. I don’t mean to rain on everyone’s parade, but who gives a shit?

Luckily, the people over at Organic have answered some questions for me and explained their thinking behind the brokering of this deal:

Well, it represents a shift in how marketers are engaging and speaking with their customers. To me, it represents the impact of Web 2.0 on advertising. In fact, it is web 2.0 advertising. I agree that Paul Saffo’s quote on the current state of the web is spot on: “the Web is moving from being a place where people access information to a place where people access other people in an information-rich environment.â€? This is true on YouTube and this is true for how advertisers are trying to “accessâ€? customers; by leveraging 3rd party credibility and tools to establish dialogs in authentic environments. Sure, there will always be a need for high reach display advertising to help tell a company’s stories, but the true benefit of the Web is its immediacy and ability to engage and interact with users. The tools and sites of Web 2.0 are helping to make those connections and facilitate dialog amongst consumers.

Fundamentally, I agree that “the Web is moving from being a place where people access information to a place where people access other people in an information-rich environment.â€? But what about the YouTube sponsorship is new? At the end of the day, it’s still a media buy. YouTube is the property, Paris is the content, Prison Break is the advertiser. The majority of what’s being paid for, I’d imagine, is some kind of feature on the homepage and what could be less revolutionary than that.

Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see the big deal. Seriously, if I’m just being dense someone set me straight in the comments.

The individuals are the stars on YouTube. People like lonelygirl15 with their 5,000 some-odd friends and millions of views. Why isn’t someone making deals with them? Even better, why not dig deep and find the niche stars? Connect directly with the people, since they’re the media anyway. It’s not about YouTube, it’s not about MySpace, it’s not about Flickr. It’s all about the people.

Sorry for sounding like a broken record, I just had to get this off my chest. Also, no offense to Organic on this one, I think it was a smart deal, just not a revolutionary one.

August 30, 2006


  • Andrew says:

    Well put. I saw a headline, something to the effect of “YouTube’s Big Ad Ideas” or something flashy like that. When I saw the “big ideas”, I realized they were neither big, nor ideas.

    I am starting to think that Advertising in the web 2.0 world basically involves the “agency” putting more time into blogging the process than the actual process, and there is no creativity whatsoever here.

    Paris Hilton and YouTube? The only thing that would make me interested is if the rest of the words in the sentence were “see” ,”blowing”, “dudes”, and “on”. Otherwise I am skipping right past it.

  • V[[a=s/\”p++Ers*t\\H-gRate/!!#~~ says:

    I agree with you Noah. Many times a frenzy or hysteria is whipped up about something to make it *seem* new and important.

    The web has always been about connecting with people and sharing. This is not new, it is just being empowered more by new blog, podcast, videocast, and other technologies.

    The very first blogs of 1992 and onward were all about sharing tech details and new internet services with other geeks. It naturally evolved into sharing a few personal details or opinions about various topics, then into the full blown public diaries and trivial blabberings of bored teens and housewives.

    You are right to question the sponsored channel and the boring, self-serving Paris Hilton crap. I clicked on that channel and it was of no interest, relevance, or value.

    What might have been better would be Paris being a real blogger, really opening her heart about the upsides and downsides of fame based on nothing, like her. She is famous for no reason other than her name. Yet I kind of like her anyway, strange and charming face.

    The old guard is trying to force the new social media to accommodate their failed and despised business models and practices.

    We turn to each other for product reviews and advice, not to ads, sponsored channels, or hyped “blog like” functions that are just superficial.

    I wish someone would make it easy to download YouTube videos and burn them to a DVD. There are some tech videos and music videos that I would love to have on DVD for permanent archiving and viewing.

  • V[[a=s/\”p++Ers*t\\H-gRate/!!#~~ says:

    I just watched some Lonely Girl 15 video. She is tragically dorky and I feel very sorry for her. She has only one friend, a guy who people say is, never mind. It’s a YouTube soap opera. I prefer to watch the videos making fun of her.

  • V[[a=s/\”p++Ers*t\\H-gRate/!!#~~ says:

    I went to Organic. To save time, I paste in here what I posted there:

    What the…? That “Paris live in Tokyo” is utter crap. 37 seconds of Japanese gibberish and Paris just says “I’ve been playing piano since I was 6 years old.”

    Big deal. The video is horrible quality and conveys absolutely nothing.

    You shall fail miserably by trying to con us. Using social media for empty boring attempts at commerical exploitation is pathetic. WE are not as dumb and bored as you think we are.

    YouTube and blogging equals the End of Stardom and the Death of Celebrity Status.

    Now each person has value and can make videos or write blogs with meaning and fun, bypassing ad agencies, Hellywood, etc.

    It’s a Universal Content Utopia and a Share Economy. Wake up, losers.

    Posted by: V[[a=s/”p++E?rs*t\H-gRa*:te/!!#~~ | 08/30/2006 at 09:50 AM

  • Paul Watson says:

    I get your point about Paris and that the deals should be with lonelygirl15 but if that happens I can see lonelygirl15 becoming Paris Hilton and you end up back at the same point as just hiring Paris. There will be lonelygirl15 jewelry, handbags, shoes and so on… just like you get Paris handbages, jewelry, shoes and so on.

    There are deeper problems than who the marketers puppet is.

  • Noah Brier says:

    My problem isn’t so much with Paris, who to my understanding was hired by YouTube to be their first celebrity section. My problem is with thinking of this as a revolution in advertising. Essentially it’s just another buy on another website.

    I think lonelygirl is actually less interesting than the niche players. I want to see brands making micro-deals with micro-players: The people who have extreme influence within their small world.

  • V[[a=s/\”p++Ers*t\\H-gRate/!!#~~ says:

    Harvey Mackay reminds us that niches can be enormously profitable. A fanatic with a few friends can lead you to develop something ahead of the curve, and result in huge results, even mainstream.

    So the Paris Hilton vs. Lonely Girl 15 or Hope Is Emo is the real scene. Celebs are vanishing in importance, the rise of individuals is the main thing. Sure Hope is Emo could turn into yet another Paris Hilton flake, but at least Hope is Emo has actual talent, not just a name.

  • Noah Brier says:

    Hey Vaspers, when you drop knowledge you’ve got a drop a link so we can all follow along at home. :)

  • chartreuse says:

    This New model by YouTube is just the old model. Nohing interesting about it at all.
    You are right, again.

  • jeff says:

    I’ve heard the New Model is the new old model.

  • Noah Brier says:

    Pink is the new blue.

  • Jecklin says:

    and the new black is??

  • Noah Brier says:


    Black is the new black.

  • Joe Karlya says:

    A recent NY magazine article about Lonelygirl15’s Youtube diary really struck me: (http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/19376/index.html)

    “…of all the possible outcomes to the Lonelygirl story, the one in which she actually turns out to be just some cute teen with preternatural editing skills will be the least interesting of all. The second-least-interesting outcome—and the one I dread, and half-expect—is that once her page views reach critical mass, she’ll start popping open the Mountain Dews and talking about how deliciously refreshing they are.”

    The thought which the piece introduces, which bothers me, is that “her saga’s (Lonelygirl15’s) taken on the brimstone whiff of ­viral marketing.” Pardon me for harping on Lonelygirl for a little longer than a 15-year-old is worth, but is it a given that her story (and others like her), as broadcasted on Youtube in 2-minute increments, is fabricated?

  • carson myers says:

    some part of your publishing process is unicode naive. It’s painful to see “ instead of a quotation mark.

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