Goodbye Yahoo Video Uploads – Yahoo Shifts Away From User-Generated Video Content

Goodbye Yahoo Video Uploads – Yahoo Shifts Away From User-Generated Video Content

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Techcrunch is reporting that Yahoo Video is making some major changes in the wake of the company”s layoffs this week.  Specifically, they seem to be doing away with user-generated content altogether.  The upload utility is gone, and users are seeing a special message at the top of the page.

Head on over to Yahoo Video and you’ll see an orange banner graphic at the top that looks like this:

If you click that banner, you’ll be taken to the main Yahoo Video help center.  But clicking on “Notices” at the bottom left brings up this FAQ:

Here’s a selection from that FAQ that may or may not help explain what’s going on:

Why is upload functionality and user-generated content being removed from Yahoo! Video?
General user upload functionality and user-generated content are being removed from Yahoo! Video as focus shifts to our core businesses’ future growth. This was a difficult decision to make, but it’s part of the ongoing prioritization efforts at Yahoo!. We apologize if this causes you any inconvenience.
Is there any place to continue to upload video on Yahoo!?
If you would like to upload videos at another location, you can upload them to Flickr. To find out more about uploading videos to Flickr, go to their video information page.
When will the changes to Yahoo! Video occur?
On December 15, 2010 the functionality to upload a video to Yahoo! Video was removed and a download utility, available through March 14, 2011, was added to users’ video profiles to allow retrieval of content. The user-generated content will be removed from Yahoo! Video on March 15, 2011. We apologize if this causes you any inconvenience.
Will the user videos I’ve embedded on my site or blog from Yahoo! Video still work?
User video content from Yahoo! Video that remains embedded on 3rd party sites will no longer be playable after March 14, 2011.
Note: If you would like an embedded video you have uploaded to be removed, please click the Contact Customer Care button on this page and provide them with your Yahoo! ID and the web address (URL) of the video.

Wow.  So… while it’s receiving a relatively low level of fanfare from Yahoo, this is a major shift in the business model.  While YouTube has maintained its dominance as the top destination for user-generated videos, Yahoo Video still had its loyal followers.  There are still millions and millions of user-generated clips there.

And if you’ve used Yahoo Video for your clips but haven’t kept a copy of the videos stored locally… you have some work cut out for you.  You have until March 14 to use their new download tool to make sure you have a copy before it all disappears.  (I do give Yahoo credit for offering this utility immediately upon making their announcement).

One can’t help but instantly start spitting out questions.  Does this mean that the Video division was one of the hardest hit in the layoffs?  Was user-generated video too much to police for copyright issues?   Is this the beginning of the end of Yahoo Video?

It’s obviously too early to call this the end of Yahoo Video.  They still do a lot of work with branded video content (like the movie trailer exclusives they seem to get all the time).  But this is still huge.  It’s basically wiping out 50% of their mission–they’re axing user videos and focusing solely on videos they create, promote, and host in partnership with other brands.

A lot of video marketing professionals that I know were fans of Yahoo Video for one reason or another, and I personally felt like I got pretty good SEO results using their platform.  But now that’s a thing of the past.  It’ll be interesting to see what Yahoo Video becomes in March and beyond.  Will it veer more towards a Hulu-type destination for branded content?  Will users fall off once they realize they can’t upload their own clips?  However it all shakes out… this is a big change in the world of online video, and one that can’t really be seen as a completely positive shift for the overall direction and future of Yahoo.  If you have any insight or even pure speculation on this move, please let us know in the comments.


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