Because Mike has too many answers and not enough questions.

Pirillo Getting Zango Spam Out of Google Index

Posted by Mike Bijon August 26, 2007

I agree with Chris Pirillo’s post about how Zango is hijacking free video content. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much recourse available to him directly now that his own content is served/semi-owned by YouTube, but his position as an A-list blogger and the attention he’s getting (front page of Digg now) are likely to cut into Zango’s position in Google results and revenues very soon.

If I were authoring any video content, especially if it had just a fraction of Chris’ popularity, it would be frustrating to see it free on the internet and making money for so many other sites. In particular, it would really smell things up to see a site, like Zango, whose general business practices I disagree with using “my” content. The problem starts with YouTube and the license granted to it when you submit content. By submitting videos to YouTube, Chris gets free bandwidth and views from their traffic base and he also grants YouTube many rights to the content and loses the ability to apply usage terms of his own to the content.

I see two content-related solutions that are simple only in their explanations: 1) YouTube needs to defend its “own” content on the behalf of the content owners, or 2) YouTube needs to apply a license, whether of Creative Commons or its own design, to videos on its network. Failing to do either of these will make YouTube more valuable to quality content producers like Chris and make YouTube a better distribution tool while muting some arguments for DRM protection of content.

Off topic for a bit: How can the content be safer without DRM? A license outlines the legal uses of content whether or not DRM is used. DRM only seeks to enforce the terms of a license. This is one of very few areas where I disagree with Google’s and the tech world’s “technology can solve all problems” attitude. Criminal law, after all, relies on the threat of punishment to stop crimes. Security cameras may make catching criminals and enforcing the law easier, but it’s by indirect methods and still relies on the legal process. Direct methods might use technology to stop a crime, but like so many cyberpunk sci-fi stories (for those who aren’t familiar with the genre, Minority Report is one that went mainstream) technology might also cause its own flavor of crime.

Back on Chris’ complaint, the usage of content originally submitted to YouTube isn’t defined or enforced. It enters a wide gray area that the law doesn’t have a strong grasp of right now. What isn’t a gray area though, and what will soon reduce Zango’s influence and profitability, is the removal of Zango pages from Google’s results. We already know how Matt Cutts and Google feel about 3rd party search results, like Zango’s, in Google results. Recent months have seen the Technorati traffic ride ended and a similar Squidoo traffic ride ended.

Hopefully the attention of Chris’ post means it won’t be long before Matt all but drops Zango from Google’s results. Personally, I’d like to see Zango blocked from the Google index entirely because of the malware-nature of their video player. Nonetheless, despite that even the slow-to-the-digital-age FTC agrees that Zango pushes malware Google is the biggest player in the video market and might see an antitrust lawsuit if they block Zango entirely.

Eggnetwork and 2 Ways to Success for Any Video Ad Network

Posted by Mike Bijon August 17, 2007

The Eggnetwork , launched by VideoEgg and profiled by Michael Arrington may seem to be just another video advertising network. However, I believe the people over at VideoEgg have made another prescient decision about the direction of web video and how to monetize it. VideoEgg first migrated away from the content publishing/page view model as a paid service provider for publishers looking for an easy way to add video to their sites. Next they added value for their publishers with strong ad sales efforts using their partners content and a revenue-share model. With the Eggnetwork they are moving to expand the revenue-share portion of the business by displaying ads on sites other than those using them as a service provider.

Where the Eggnetwork stands out from most existing ad networks is in the ad sales efforts that are already successful on VideoEgg’s partner sites. Just like Weblogs, Inc. made actual cash by grabbing a slice of corporate/agency media buys, VideoEgg stands to do the same thing. Agency planners base their buys and target CPM on how closely a site or network indexes to their target audience, and they will put in plenty of effort to find sites that index high and their competitors haven’t found yet if their clients are moving strongly online. The key for video advertising networks to succeed is not only to attract a certain volume of ads, but to also keep the CPM high enough that their portion of the revenue-share will more than pay the cost of bandwidth to display all those video ads.

I think the crux of Eggnetwork successfully building a profitable publisher network isn’t in the sales & volume efforts, after all they’re already way ahead of most video-only networks, but in signing up enough quality page views to keep the network growing profitably. That means either:

  1. Finding narrow-audience sites with that haven’t already put their inventory in the hands of bigger players. This type of site self-targets and produces a high CPM as a result.

    For example: Facebook has signed their impressions over to Microsoft recently, thus Eggnetwork’s targeting of Facebook App publishers and their large number of page views.

  2. Attracting a huge number of small sites and then accurately indexing their content so page/video views are targeted enough to warrant advertisers paying a CPM high enough to pay the bandwidth bill.

    For example: AdSense’s targeting produced high CPM for blogs that couldn’t get anything but low CPM ads from traditional networks who targeted based on category. That ability to index put them on top of the CPM heap for many sites.

If the Eggnetwork fails to do either, then odds are they’ll fade away when the VC dollars run out or VideoEgg will acquired cheaply by a much larger player. If they do manage at either of the above, they’ll be a sizable, premium network to be picked up at high value, like Right Media, or become a strong stand-alone network. As a stand-alone network, they will need to continue sales efforts as they’re, likely, joined by dozens of other networks in the years ahead.

Putting Eggnetwork aside, I think there is room for many non-public, online advertising networks. Few of them will be video-specific or ad-type specific (see Google expanding into CPM and video ad formats) but most that succeed will be able to target the web viewers closely. When this happens agencies will accomodate and deal with the many distinct publishers (online networks in this case) rather than isolating their buys to a single network or a few large publishers. As a result, online advertising will reach an equilibrium with the publisher space looking more like the current print newspaper & magazine market.

These views, predictions, generalizations of agency processes, and everything on this site are my own. I work for a Publicis Groupe company, Team One and they have not reviewed, recommended, or approved this content.

Of YouTube and Legal Evergreen Content

Posted by Mike Bijon March 25, 2007

In Evergreen Content, YouTube, and Money, Fred Wilson suggests:

It got me thinking about this kind of evergreen content that keeps getting viewed day after day, week after week. What’s that worth? To me, to YouTube, to the band?

Let’s start with YouTube. Let’s say they do implement the 3 second pre-roll and let’s say they charge a $2 cpm for a three second pre-roll. Then my Bukowski video could earn YouTube about $15 per year. And I might get 60 percent of that, or close to $10/year.

I don’t agree that YouTube should implement pre-rolls and I think they already have a payment plan in the works for submitters, but why isn’t YouTube, or a competitor, licensing professional concert video from bands or their labels?

Not only would this provide the premium content that YouTube will need to compete with the coming wave of content from TV and film production companies, but would also help to assuage some of the feelings that YouTube’s business is heavily rooted in copyright abuse. Yes, it leaves “fans” out of the equation but at least the content would be high-quality, legal, and video cameras in the next seat wouldn’t impinge on concertgoers the way mobile phones do in elevators and restaurants.

…as for the fact that YouTube might need to add pre-roll ads to support this – they don’t. I don’t know where most people are buying their bandwidth (or if they’ve actually checked recent bandwidth prices), but recent calculations of YouTube’s costs are inflating bandwidth prices. Currently running just a few dedicated servers for a client gets bandwidth down to $0.18/GB. Even Akamai bandwidth is less than $0.50/GB for a company I’ve worked with that’s ranked around 10,000th on Alexa. I suspect Google is paying less than $0.10/GB for purchased bandwidth and less than $0.05/GB for bandwidth they’ve shifted to their own fiber.

Searching for Stephanie Haranczyk

Posted by Mike Bijon December 14, 2006

spacer Please, especially if you’re in the Pacific Northwest US, keep an eye out for young Stephanie Haranczyk. She’s just 16 and the younger sister of a friend of mine and was last seen over a week ago in Oregon.

A note was found saying that she was running away, but her car and wallet were also found left behind.
The police are involved because she’s a minor and was last seen with a 21-year old. The guy’s name is Josh Franks and he’s known to hand out at skate parks and visit shelters for food.

Of you see either of them (pictures and descriptions on this flyer, PDF) please call the local police and let them know the situation.

Update: If you do happen to see them don’t try to stop them, just take note of who they’re with and call the Grants Pass police at (541) 474-6370.

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