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A really interesting story by the Slate details how maybe even YouTube isn’t safe from financial failure. I guess until I read this, I never really payed any attention to how often I use YouTube.

Certainly for the zine, we use it a lot. And in my personal life, I probably visit YouTube 4-5 times a week, though I didn’t realize it (nor care) until now. Though rarely do I use it on my own for something useful. It’s usually to find a silly video from back in the day, maybe a newer video, a sports highlight, perhaps some old-school tv clips, etc. Entertaining, sure; but not something I really need in my life and certainly things I can survive without.

So with a guess-timated profit loss rate of $475 million a year, how can YouTube continue on? It sounds like they might try to develp a technology to compress the expensive bandwith (currently 30 million megabits-per-second) or begin to charge users. I would imagine that asking users for money will be their next step. We all I heard that people downloaded music for free when Napster came around and showed us the loop-hole, but things got better (though not fixed) for the music industry once they began to charge a dollar per song. I can see a dollar per upload, per video in the future,  though they still might make viewing free. It would help at least, or would give them an idea towards the next step. 

Of course, a lot of people will balk, and I’m sure 80% of the current YouTube uploaders would stop uploading, but that still leaves millions of uploaders, and perhaps if they could clean up their content a little, YouTube might get more advertisers too.

I never really thought about how sites like Twitter and YouTube make zero profit while sites like Google and Facebook make tons. Without researching, I always thought “big, useful site, big profit.”And I just didn’t realize how all four of these sites have become “the norm,” we rely on them and take them for granted, and how things would change if they were gone. Sure, we might flock to the little sites like Fliqz if YouTube went down, but eventually that would become old too and something new would pop up.

So, would you care if YouTube went away, and/or would you pay to upload or watch it?

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