YouTube’s Problem Is Not Advertising, Its Getting The Videos To Play

YouTube Buffering
For all the talk of YouTube’s new advertising model and the number of eyeballs they have, the biggest problem facing YouTube is the fact that half the time, their videos don’t even play back properly. Why can’t YouTube get poor quality, short-form videos to play back without all of the wait, buffering, and starts and stops that users are experiencing? I first wrote about this back in February with a post entitled "Is Google Having Problems Delivering YouTube Videos?" and since then it has gotten far worse.

Last week, I saw that my February post about the poor YouTube playback experience had quickly become the number one post on my blog that people were finding via Google. TypePad shows me the phrases that people are putting into Google and it’s phrases like, "you tube video wont load", "slow youtube videos", "youtube video loading" and "can’t load you tube" amongst others.

What is the problem here? This is not an infrastructure problem. Google is not lacking in technical expertise, capital, or the resources to make these videos work. If smaller companies can get high-quality, long-from content to work without these playback problems, then what is Google’s excuse? They have no business model today for YouTube, have been working on their "advertising plan" forever yet they can’t even get the basics to work.

When it comes to YouTube’s advertising strategy, they have a major flaw. In order for their advertising strategy to work, it requires users to actually be able to view the videos. YouTube is the most overrated, over hyped company ever in this industry.

  • Calling a Spade a Spade

    Citing YouTube’s problems in getting basic services right—simple stuff, like getting videos to play—Dan Rayburn calls YouTube “the most overrated, over hyped company ever in this industry.” It’s still early in the day for us to work ourselves into a…

  • I have long been perplexed by what Google intends for Youtube.
    I am coming to the view that the acquisition was a classic “Microsoft” tactic , (think of Explorer) of hoovering up the market and crowding out the competion. Google won’t improve YT until they have to.

  • sonora

    I believe there IS an infrastructure problem,
    its now 10 in the morning in spain and videos work perfectly, however last night (when the entire US was online) the problem was there.

  • soulchild

    wow I’m on YouTube regularly…never experience a problem in fact it seems to have started streaming faster in the past few weeks.

  • J Carpenter

    I’m with soulchild on this. I have never noticed playback issues on YouTube that could be considered chronic.
    Sites that do give me issues quickly drop off the list pf places I will frequent. My frustration tolerance is quite low, but YouTube has never come close to reaching it.

  • Juan

    I think you should consider that youtube is made for PCs with some nice internet connection (256k at least)
    I use youtube at a fried’s house with a 256k connection and you just have to wait for videos to buffer a little just like any other video server.
    In my PC with 768k connection it just runs great, wait a second to load then no stops at all until video ends.

  • I have 56k dial-up and you tube plays smoothly, you dont even have to let it buffer.

  • Their servers are feeling the heat, loading times have slowed

  • I am sure that YouTube/Google does have some problems, but I think that quite a few people that think YouTube/Google are having problems should look no farther than their own computers. Not enough RAM or a Low Quality video card mixed with their processor speed is also a major problem. Oops, did I forget to mention internet connection? Dial-up vs Cable vs DSL!

  • steve

    can we petition google to include dial-ups in it’s youtube output? half of america is dial-up. we are from all strata. some can’t get anything but dial-up. some don’t want to pay premium for dsl. i don’t own a tv, so no cable. what do i want with tv if i have a computer?

  • GL

    Millions of users need LOWER quality videos. The people in charge of the youtube site are very short-sighted. Why? Because millions of people still use older computers with P3 cpu motherboards for example and they need to DOWNSIZE the video screen and DOWNSIZE the video resolution in order to watch it. You would think that the bunch of liberals at google would be the first to acknowledge such users, even if they are a minority, but no, the people at google/youtube are hypocrites and cannot take an hour to write a few lines of code and provide LOWER video quality OPTIONS like there used to be back in 2007. The current youtube ‘low bandwidth’ setting has nothing to do w/ screen size and video resolution WHICH ARE NOT SELECTABLE ON YOUTUBE. Forcing high-quality videos that do not run right on the millions of P3 computers out there is simply ASSININE. For those of you that think it’s wrong for people to still have P3 machines, it would take a million man-hours and millions of dollars for people to get rid of them/upgrade, yet it would take only a few dozen hours for youtube to provide LOWER quality and LOWER video size options on the screen.

  • noname

    is there any way i can watch youtube videos on dial up without getting faster internet

  • Brandon

    Hi! I never had a problem while in the US. As long as I used a cable company for internet service I had great youtube experiences. I did not matter if I was in Portland, Oregon with Comcast, Los Angeles with Time Warner, in Kentucky with Insight. I always had good youtube quality.
    One big new problem though! Since I have moved to the Eastern Caribbean, I have had a ton of problems. I’ve been waiting on the local phone company, Telesur, for months to set up a high speed connection. It’s the only affordable service here.
    In the mean time I’ve been forced to go to a local company that offers Dish internet for businesses. This is for my home, but I currently have no other option. It costs me over $200 USD a month, but still I can’t get more then 185 kb. That’s fine for browsing pages, but not for videos. I can’t stand this! To upgrade it would cost over $450 a month and I can’t find that kind of money.

  • I prepared a presentation in the US that partly consisted of tutorials on youtube. when I flew to Europe to present it, the videos were stalling. I assumed that it would be the same in Europe however it didn’t look to good on my end. was a solution ever provided?

  • Googlecraper

    Spot on pure crap. Ads play but videos error out.