Mark Cuban to Google – you are crazy! JoeDuck to Google – just show me some money!

Mark Cuban, no stranger to online video having made about a billion in that field, challenges Google’s sanity in the YouTube deal here.

It seems to me Cuban’s been the most insightful of those reviewing this deal and my first reaction is “brilliant stuff from an insider”, but I also respect how clever Google is and will continue to be at re-railing the online train.

Big producers will do big deals with Google as they are right now.   The growing community of small time content producers (e.g me) is a lot more willing to share and forget about copyright encumbrances *as long as you cut me in on the action*.

If Google can monetize my stuff better or close to as much as I can then more power to Google.   I’m rooting for Yahoo! winning the monetizing battle though because …. I like them better and have stock.   But there’s room for both, and I think we’ll see in the coming years that the rising tide of online ads will lift most of the ships.

I’m confident I’m speaking for 80%, and probably 98%, of the long tail when I say that the long tail, especially in video, is going to attach to the entity that can best monetize their work be it professional full length movies or stupid cat trick clips.

Can the other 2% of content people sue them?  Sure, but not painfully enough to stop the online video train o’ progress, a train that’s sure to bring us the most garish, irrelevant, superficial, and poorly produced video yet seen on earth and then find a way to turn a few bucks on showing it off to people.    God bless America!

Web 2.0 Metrics? Aren’t we still trying to figure out Web 0.1 metrics?

Jeremy often asks the questions people will be asking next year. Here, Zawodny notes the difficulties as Web 2.0 brings a lot more than pageviews to the browser table and cites this article about how pageviews are problematic as a measure of online success.

There are challenges galore as we move to Web 2.0 analysis. The YouTube deal alone showcases how irrelevant a ‘page view’ may become to full analysis. There, advertisers will probably want a small clip inserted before the video as well as pay per click or aquistion modes of advertising – at least until all advertisers start demanding cost per sale terms.

I think commercial metrics will (must) trend towards firmly establishing costs per sale and/or customer aquisition. At the point where that gets good the advertiser really does not need more detail. Much of the current advertising mis-analysis industry is based on analysis of things that only indirectly lead to sales.

In many cases I’ve been floored by how mathematically unsound so called “objective” conversion studies can be. In Travel and economic development this relates to the fact that those sponsoring the studies typically benefit from high ROI numbers so a cottage industry of “impact inflation” studies and firms has developed that serves the vested interests rather than the taxpayers.

Non commercially focused website metrics are even more complex than commercial, since many bloggers would probably rather be read by a handful of movers and shakers who provide thoughtful commentary than by legions of regular Joes.

A blog read by all G8 world leaders would be about 1000x more influential in terms of changing history than one read by American Idol fans, but would probably have limited commercial value. How do you measure that? Perhaps Yahoo or Google need a “BigWhig Rank” that pulls in personal data and assigns importance to the … person?

Hmmm – they already have been nabbing your search streams so maybe next they’ll take your … soul! I think that is OK with me as long as it’s …. measurable!

Google and Youtube

Deals with Youtube and Google are flourishing today in the fertile ground of a 1.6 billion dollar aquistion of the online video leader* by the online money and search leader. The announcement is expected this afternoon or evening that Google’s bought Youtube for 1.6 billion. If Yahoo picks up Facebook (rumored but I think unlikely) it’ll signal an interesting consolidation of key Web 2.0 sites by the more established huge players. This consolidation seems to support the idea that the big guys see it as cheaper to wait until the rich and creamy high traffic sites rise to the top and then buy them up (Microsoft made an early and successful habit of doing that as well).

However at these billion+ valuations I’m skeptical the strategy can work as effectively as buying smaller companies to consolidate niche traffic. ie Flickr=good deal for Yahoo, Facebook=bad deal.

CORRECTION:  Really, Yahoo is the online Video leader, Myspace second and Youtube third.  Google video added to Youtube will probably push them to number one, but as usual Yahoo!’s doing it right but not getting credit for their leadership.

Online News Association to Arrington: Hey, let’s get Mikey!

Poor Mike Arrington. From his blog it sounds like Mike was the token sacrificial lamb at the recent Online News Association conference where his comments were not taken well by the crowd of what sounds like mostly conventional journalists (or conventional *thinkers*) hoping to get a grip on the sea change going on, and going online, right now. They should listen to Mike carefully, because he’s been good at seeing the future. (ummm except Edgeio, which probably won’t fly).

There’s a lot of news in the news business but journalists are often missing the critical factors which include blogs, user interaction, and emphasis on real time reporting in real time from real people who are making that news themselves or direct witness to that news (e.g. who really wants a journalist in the middle when you have webcams on all the parties in the dispute?)

I remember how intense Mike got at Mix06 in his remarks about the future of offline Yellow pages, telling them “You are DEAD!”, and I can only imagine how the ONA folks reacted to his insights about the future of news and media in the online world.

His real sin was to become an expert early on in the Web 2.0 world and to profit from that expertise. Nothing pisses people off like somebody figuring things out early and profiting from that knowledge.

Good for him, but he better stick to events like Yahoo Hack Day or Mashup Camp if he wants a warm reception from like minded folks….folks who also understand that the changes are only beginning and will rock the news world like it’s never been rocked before.

Google to buy Youtube for 1.6 billion

It’s now almost official that Google will buy Youtube for a whopping 1.6 billion. They’ll announce it after the close today.    Here’s the NYT take on things. I’d have listened to Mark Cuban because it seems to me he’s in a very unique position to analyze the prospects here, but they didn’t and soon Google will have a huge video footprint. Google Video has about 1/4 the traffic of Youtube. Combined I think they’ll dwarf the competition – at least initially, though this market, which should really be called “American’s stupidist and most mundane home videos” is still in it’s infancy.

It’s not clear to me that people will continue to spend hours and hours surfing and watching for the few gems in an ocean of crappy short clips but Google seems to think so, and it’s also true that there is an enormous amount of advertising money now spent on network TV that may flow to this venue. Google’s recent talk about NOT producing their own content and moving into offline advertising venues may relate to this decision – they want to become a key source to soak up as much of the dumb money now spent on extravagant, low ROI offline campaigns.