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October 9, 2006

GoogTube is Official - Who will be YouTube 2?


So the Google-You Tube deal is official. Only time will tell whether this deal will be a good one or not. Perhaps this will be another MySpace-type deal where a year from now everyone will marvel at how much Google underpaid. Or maybe it'll be another Broadcast.com where the big winners will end up being Chad Hurley and the rest of the YouTube founders.

But here's one thing that's interesting. I'm pretty sure that we'll start to see an eradication of a big chunk of the copyrighted content on YouTube. And this is really important because it opens up the door for something that is all about inevitable...YouTube 2. Part of the beauty of YouTube is the Web 2.0-nature of the site. Miss the Daily Show yesterday? Find it on YouTube (for free) tomorrow. I'm guessing those days are numbered...at least for YouTube 1.

So I decided to put together a list of the companies that have a chance to become YouTube 2. It's tough to say who this will be and of course it's impossible to gauge whether this will end up becoming just like the P2P systems where these sites end up having to face the choice of going legit or shutting down (a la Napster-Grokster-Kazaa). But I think a few things will decide who the next YouTube will be:

1. The company will need to be relatively independent.
It can be venture-funded but can't already be in bed with a big media/tech company. This disqualifies Netscape, Grouper, iFilm, etc.

2. The company will have to have some funding and a good foundation already in place. The race to be YT2 will happen quickly. It's unlikely that a company that is under-capitalized or that is just getting going will have a chance to win this race.

3. The company will have to have an interface at least somewhat simliar to YouTube.
When the teenage crew finds they can't post their copyrighted stuff on YouTube anymore they are going to look for an alternative and if the next best thing seems pretty much like the last best thing it'll have a good shot of getting their content.

So here are the candidates (in alphabetical order) along with Vegas-style odds that they'll become YouTube 2:

blip.tv - Blip just closed an angel funding round and has a lot of similarities to YouTube. While they haven't generated a lot of traction yet their position as a relative independent gives them a shot. Plus they have Amanda Congdon! (Alexa ranking = 10,685)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 9:1

Clipshack - Clipshack hasn't gotten a ton of traction but recently raised $2 million and has a site that could best be described as a "poor man's YouTube." They don't seem to have a lot of copyrighted material (a search on "Jon Stewart" yielded almost nothing) so they might be actively policing that. Possible that they try to become YT2 but unlikely. (Alexa ranking = 23,389)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 30:1

Metacafe - This will be an interesting one to watch. They've received $15 million in funding and have a lot of traction. While their tune is only to serve the world's "best videos" I wonder if that might change post-GoogTube given the opportunity that's out there for them to be a fast follower in this race. (Alexa ranking = 143)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 3:1

motionbox - While they seem to focusing much more on their toolset than on becoming a portal since Arrington thinks they're the best video sharing site maybe they've got a chance. Seriously though it's highly unlikely given their focus. (Alexa ranking = 62,721)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 100:1

Revver - When it became apparent that they weren't going to win the video portal game Revver shifted gears to focus on video distribution. It's a smart move on their part but shifting back to becoming a portal so quickly is probably not going to happen. (Alexa ranking = 2,853)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 40:1

Veoh - Veoh has raised a lot of money ($12.5 million) but given who they've raised it from (Eisner, Time Warner, etc.) it's unlikely they'll be the next YouTube despite the fact that their site is a virtual clone. If it wasn't for their investors I'd say they'd be the ones to be YT2. (Alexa ranking = 3,877)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 50:1

vSocial - vSocial has raised some money and doesn't seem gun-shy about featuring copyrighted videos on their homepage. They don't have quite as much traction as Metacafe but could become "the deuce" if Metacafe doesn't take the throne. (Alexa ranking = 3,611)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 6:1

Vimeo - Another possible contender although their layot is decidedly un-YouTube-like, not all their videos are Flash and I couldn't seem to find anything on their funding situation. A long shot at best. (Alexa ranking = 8,895)

Likelihood of becoming YouTube 2 - 75:1

It'll be an interesting race to watch. If YouTube was worth $1.6 billion then what is YT2 going to be worth? Probably not nearly as much because there will be increasing pressure on them to go legit and they won't be able to fly under the radar (relatively speaking) as long as YouTube did while building up an audience. Still, if they can manage to pull a lot of YouTubers over much the same way MySpace did to Friendster and much the same as what happened with the P2P networks then it's quite possible they could build up a huge audience very quickly.

YouTube wanna-bes start your engines...the race has begun!