YouTube On Verizon - Services For Suckers

By Nathan Weinberg

Yesterday, YouTube and Verizon announced a deal to provide a selection of YouTube videos to V Cast subscribers for $15 a month. Thomas Hawk has the best reaction:

Okay, here’s his real reaction:

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s a good one! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Hillarious!

Verizon are a bunch of greedy pigs and just like their excessively priced song downloads this one will flop as well. I’m disappointed that YouTube is involved in this fiasco. Hopefully they got a big chunk of money up front for their service rather than a revenue share which will be peanuts if anything at all.

Verizon’s deal is awful for so many reasons:

  • The price - YouTube is free, man
  • V Cast - it isn’t available for everyone
  • The speed - YouTube isn’t fast enough on my computer, you think my cell phone isn’t going to be worse?
  • The screen - You think people complained about YouTube’s quality in the past. Hoo boy!
  • The selection - The only videos available will be those specifically chosen to be on the service, killing any hope of being viral, as well as limiting the selection

Yeah, thank god these initiatives tend to die miserable, early deaths. I think I’ll stick to screen-scraper services that let me get internet video on my phone via the data connection I already pay for, or the wifi feature I bought my phone for.

I think the mobile carriers have got it all wrong. It is well known their strategy, since growing the market and gaining market share is very difficult at this point, is to gain more money per user by offering up extras. They seem to think that the cell phone is destined to be a closed-system platform, where they can sell ringtones, games, music and other services, not understanding that simple technology curves are moving all phones towards powerful mobile web browsers.

The smart way to make money on mobile phones is (a) unlimited data plans (b) extra calling services, like the ones T-Mobile has been rolling out (c) free services, designed to provide incentives (d) the phones themselves, by making it easier for customers to pay for handset upgrades. Your customers don’t want to buy ringtones, when they know other phones can do it for free, and they don’t want to by music that they already own.

Microsoft gets that the big money and power is in the platform, not the software. Trying to sell all sorts of little crap to your customers is a way to make your platform less popular, which is why you don’t pay to unlock Solitaire on a new PC, and why Apple gives away half its software with a new PC. Sell your customers the things they want (and yes, most customers would pay for better customer service at this point), and leave this crap out.

This is just a rant against Verizon, by the way. They’re the most backward-thinking of the major mobile carriers, with their paywall, incompatible network, and prohibitive pricing. Have you seen their latest slogan, “It’s the network”? They’re damn right it’s the network, because it isn’t the phones, or the pricing, or the plans, or the service, or the internet…

As for YouTube: Good for them. They’ll make a few bucks and walk away happy.

November 29, 2006 by Nathan Weinberg in:

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