Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Memo to YouTube and Facebook Users: There's Advertising Going On in These Joints–Discuss!

I guess I should not be surprised that there has been immediately negative reaction from users to the recent moves at both YouTube and Facebook related to putting ads throughout both services in a big way.

But, with ever-escalating costs (and in YouTube’s case, a big $1.65 billion acquisition price that demands justification by its owner Google) and a need to have what passes for a business model beyond the fact that they are super popular, fans of either site will have to buck up and get used to it in an even bigger way.

It seems blazingly obvious to say this, but what medium can escape the fact that it has to pay the bills?

Facebook has been at work on a new system that would put targeted ads in users’ news feeds based on the details they put in their profile pages, which was highlighted in this Wall Street Journal article this week and also which the social-networking site’s head ad guy Mike Murphy alluded to in this video I did a month ago.

People on the service are justifiably concerned about the possible violation of privacy, as the company employs more specific characteristics to the ad-targeting than just generic stuff like age, gender and geography. You say you like stock cars, for example? Presto: NASCAR ads on your page and in your feed.

This comes soon, in the wake of YouTube making an extravagant announcement earlier this week about its plans to put “overlay” ads in some of its professionally created and other videos, called InVideos. By no means an innovative development, they are semitransparent ads that will be part of the video experience, rather than being located near the videos on the Web site. Prediction: They will likely be annoying.

Said one of the many commenters, unhappy about the development: “Why ruin YouTube’s experience for millions of viewers just to gain the tiniest bit of money from less than 1% of people looking at the video? Forcing a viewer to click away an ad will not help the advertiser, YouTube or the viewer.”

One dedicated YouTuber was even more clear, with what seemed like a mile-long comment that requires a good minute of scrolling and just repeats “F*** YOU! NO ADS” on the YouTube blog.

As ads increase in number, I am betting this will seem calm by comparison.

So while the transition is taking place, we might as well laugh at this video, again from CollegeHumor.com, that looks at the comment system in the open. It’s a bit racy, but about as accurate as it gets.

Please see this disclosure related to me and Google (owner of YouTube).


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When AllThingsD began, we told readers we were aiming to present a fusion of new-media timeliness and energy with old-media standards for quality and ethics. And we hope you agree that we’ve done that.

— Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, in their farewell D post