Clever or stupid? Only time and lawyers will tell…
Google’s recent purchase of YouTube on the surface seems a clever move by the current ‘internet darling’, the audience is huge and by association so is the advertising potential. The guys who started YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steven Chen seem have only just started to shave, pop about $100 million in their piggy banks, the VCs who invested will be chuffed and various law firms have probably glazed over thinking of the copyright bun fights about to break out over content posted on YouTube. Anyone remember Google’s attempt to index and make available books and other printed content online?
The purchase has unsurprisingly divided opinion. Some feel that Google will end up fighting constant copyright battles as everyone with a grievance about intellectual property, real or imagined, comes knocking for a payout. Some of the content may even see Google run into problems with Governements or religious groups due to it’s ‘offensive’ nature, I bet it doesn’t take too long before the Google mantra “Do no Evil” is used against them. But as some point out litigation is an occupational hazard for many large and successful organisations, so Google must know the potential stormy waters into which they sail.
Also there is the ‘cool’ status that YouTube has. Certainly for Internet based organisations it is by and large inversely proportional to commercial success so Google will have to tread carefully if they don’t want the fickle and anarchic Internet community to jump ship to some other internet site that is about to reach it’s tipping point.
Personally I hope it works for them, this kind of deal and the potential it creates forces other companies, entrepreneurs and users to think in more clever or possibly stupid ways.