Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. 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