Saturday, July 22, 2006

YouTube is blowing up

I mean that in a good way. Ad Age is reporting that YouTube -- the incredibly snappy and friendly video-sharing site -- is now the fastest growing web site:

The popularity of YouTube is growing at an astronomical rate, as web traffic to the video-sharing site grew 75% just in the week ending July 16, from 7.3 million to 12.8 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. Traffic to the site has grown nearly threefold -- 297% -- since January, making it the fastest-growing site online...

Keys to its success? Many of the obvious ones: media delivery via Macromedia Flash (an excellent and ubiquitous video-player), superb navigation, stunning previews, subscriptions, community-based ratings, etc.

But the real key is YouTube's tacit endorsement of viral links. If you like a video, you've got multiple ways to slap it onto your own website: a hyperlink and an embedded object are both provided on each and every video page. I don't know if anyone's bothered to count how many sites are now using these features, but I'd venture to guess it's over 10,000 (updated later: shows you how much I know - a Google Search tallies closer to 100,000!).

Only a year-and-a-half old (incredible!), the site was founded by Chad Hurley and Steve Chen who simply wanted an easy way to share videos with their friends. Certainly continues in the theme of net neutrality: successful sites that were built not by corporate behemoths, but by motivated individuals (think Digg, eBay, etc.).

Some personal favorites? Daily Show: Stephen Colbert on Bloggers, Cubicle Wars, and The Golf-Ball Prank.

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