What would you do?
What would you do if you had a “feel good” video on YouTube that was generating upwards of 12 million views? Would you take it down?
That’s what the Columbus Dispatch chose to do recently with the now famous video of Ted Williams. You remember him, right? The golden-voiced homeless-man-no-more. (See above, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.)
Ted Williams was “discovered” by a Columbus Dispatch videographer who “auditioned” Mr. Williams as he panhandled at an intersection. Ted Williams ultimately received numerous job opportunities as a result of the video having gone viral.
Ultimately, the video made its way to YouTube where it rang the bell at more than 11 million views in the span of a few days.
The video now graces the front page of the Dispatch’s website. (Where they’ve kindly provided the embed code so I can share it with you at the top of this post.)
Clearly, they’re willing to share. They just don’t want their proprietary video being posted on someone else’s YouTube channel. I can understand that. Heck, my knee-jerk reaction is typically to cry foul if someone else snagged my content and put it up on their site.
Really, I get it.
But, it also got me wondering: Was that twitch-of-the-knee the only way to go? I mean, 12 million views in a few days is link-juice-potential that I’d be loathe to expunge.
What would you have suggested to the staff at the Columbus Dispatch if you were in the room as they were debating this issue?
Let’s brainstorm, shall we? If I were the Dispatch, I might have…
- …Uploaded my proprietary / branded copy of the Ted Williams video to my own YouTube channel. (What?? I don’t have a YouTube channel?? I’m a media company! Why the hell not??) Then…
- …Tagged the hell out of my copy of the video. I’d make sure to use the same or similar tags that other people, who are posting related video content and video responses about the Ted Williams piece, are using. That way, my video shows up as a “related video” to theirs.
- …Placed my website URL prominently on the first line of the description field under my YouTube video. Hey, I’m not modest. Let’s give visitors a chance to get back to my website. And speaking of that description field, I’d make sure there are appropriate keywords that would help get visitors over to my site.
- …Created a playlist containing the top-rated videos on YouTube where others are posting video responses and having dialog about the Ted Williams piece. Then display that playlist on my YouTube channel AND on my website. (Hmmm…now, if I can only get people coming over to my “authorized” version of the video. Oh! I know!) I might then also have…
- …Approached whomever it was that uploaded the, now highly-viewed, unauthorized copy of my proprietary video to his/her YouTube channel. Then instead of a cease and desist, I might have compelled him / her to comply with a request to place annotations in his video. Those annotations should link back to the playlist on my YouTube channel. And, perhaps I might have also…
- …Certified the Other’s copy as an authorized reproduction. (And no others.) Then drafted a one-liner for him/her to include in his description field stating that fact, courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.
Those were just a few thoughts off the top of my head. Any rebuttals? What would you have suggested?