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IDEA #32 – Online Video Embed Code Piggy-Backing

Quick summary: Tons of online videos exist at YouTube, etc. People grab an ’embed’ code for a video, so that they can post the video on their MySpace page or in a blog post. When you grab the embed code, it simply displays the video player with the video.

I’m proposing a new website that grabs the embed codes from YouTube (etc) and tacks on your own embed code to their embed code — thus piggy-backing off YouTube a bit.

You would have to offer a user value as to why they’d not grab the embed code from YouTube, but rather grab it from you — maybe the add-on to the embed code shows some tracking/popularity metrics of the video. Thus, now the user still grabs one embed code to post to MySpace — but you’ve added to that embed code your own code (which gets links back to your site and grows your business).

Background: There are a few sites living off YouTube — for example, flixya, is a website that allows users to post a video along with their own Google AdSense code, and then the user is partially compensated everytime someone views the video they posted (they post the video with YouTube’s embed code — thus, flixya has minimal bandwidth fees since the videos are hosted by YouTube).

Another site doing something interesting is Vidmeter — they are tracking how popular videos are across the popular video sites (YouTube, Metacafe, etc).

The Idea: My idea could simply be a feature of these sites — or could help someone create a new online video site that uses YouTube, Metacafe, etc. Just like how YouTube offers an ‘HTML embed’ code for people to quickly insert the video into MySpace comments or blog posts — a new service could easily grab those embed codes and add their own link / code under (or above) the YouTube embed code — then offer users this new embed code.

But why would someone want additional information below a video they are embedding on MySpace? Well, in the matter of Vidmeter — they should have the video’s ranking information under the video (either as an image that is auto-updated or as a Flash embed) … thus instead of just seeing the video, now you’d see the video along with a little widget saying, “This video is #338 most popular today and #44 all-time!” (with Vidmeter branding of course, and a text link under this image or Flash widget, to ensure one-click access for viewers of that video to know that they can “View the most popular viewed videos on the web at Vidmeter”).

What other opportunities might exist — for why a user wouldn’t choose to just have the embed code from YouTube, but rather would want the embed code from us that contains the YouTube embed code for a video — but also contains _____________ .

(Poor designed) Proposed Example of what video would look like with additions to top and bottom, rather than just the YouTube clip:

  • Graydon

    One thing that might draw some users… imbed the code once and then change the video without re-embedding or posting a new entry.

    Joe goes to and picks up the code to embed video on his site. While there, he selects which video he wants to show. Some time later, the buzz around the video dies and now he wants to show a different video. Goes back to and just selects a different video. Changes automatically and visitors to his site see the new video.

    If allowed selecting videos from different sites (youtube, metacafe, etc…) it would be good.

    Now, if Joe ends up having “the knack” and consistantly finds worthwhile stuff to show, he may be able to get an audience that just goes directly to his site to see what is “on”.

    Another good feature would be to enable multiple videos to run back to back in the same viewer. Now Joe can offer 5 minutes or whatever of pre-filtered entertainment to his visitors. They’ll come back tomorrow for the new installments.

    Going to the next step. Joe needs money because he spends all day scouring for stuff to show and lost his day job. Instead of moving back home he decides that in between some of the “content” videos, he’ll insert an advertisement video. He chooses the ad from a selection at based upon factors such as relevancy to his overall site as well as payback (pennies per impression or click throughs). pockets some money and passes some over to Joe as well. However, in order to avoid issues with content based ads TOS in google, he must choose his ads manually. But, hey, he knows what his viewers like and does a great job at it.

    Joe realizes he’s onto something great here and decides to branch out from his original single embed where he constatly shows stupid human stunts and makes a new channel of sports bloopers. He only has to setup a single page with a single embedded code and manages the content from

    The popularity soars and content creators finally stop just mashing copywrited stuff together and goes and creates original content. The pitch the shows to joe and wine and dine him… because they all know “joe knows” and getting onto his channels means stardom.

    The sad part of the story is that Joe succumbs to the high powered life and gets hooked on crack and pisses it all away… oops, got carried away there.

    too bad the above isn’t completely original… I think that’s the basic structure of how nbbc is supposed to work.

  • Graydon

    Sorry, should have checked before hand that “mytvchannel” is obviously taken and looks to be a parking site for ads. So, don’t bother clicking through to them.

  • Graydon

    I know… jeez Graydon, you already posted twice, what the heck do you have to say now?

    I’m on a roll… ?

    I’ve seen enough going around about how Google is trying to figure out the monetization of videos… but they could quickly and easily do something like the above.

    First, repurpose Google Video to be the channel creation site. Dump all content to youtube.

    Second, realize that these people want some cut of the pie… content creator (Paramount, Sony Records), video creator (Dave-bob), video host (youtube, other), video distributor (Joe’s Channel) and of course google. All of these people need to be paid by the advertiser.

    Third, enable video creators to identify what copywrited material they are using. Then enable a portion of the ad dollars generated to go to the copywrite holders.

    Video creators that want to maximize their revenue will stray away from using copywrited material… those that do and make popular stuff, should generate ad revenue to pay off the hounds.

    Also, by distancing Google Video from Youtube, they could perhaps work deals to include other video sites in the selection process.

    Tagging of the videos for content related items, enables content based ads to be shown.

    Finally, at the end of any video stream there should be a clickable page with links to any advertisers that had commericals embedded.

  • Steve Poland

    Graydon — this all sounds like something SplashCast can do; although I don’t know if you can update the content in them after you create them.

    But your first point — I LOVE!!! …“Joe goes to and picks up the code to embed video on his site. While there, he selects which video he wants to show. Some time later, the buzz around the video dies and now he wants to show a different video. Goes back to and just selects a different video. Changes automatically and visitors to his site see the new video.”

    That’s a great idea! I’m trying to wonder if it’s practical — because MySpace will let an embed occur, but not of javascript. So how would the embed update — can a Flash player display HTML code (specifically another swf embed?).

  • Aaron

    AdBrite has something like this for in-video ads –

    You give it the URL to the FLV and it handles the ads. I thought it was pretty smart.

  • James D Kirk

    Don’t mean to be “low tech” here, but if the actual video file’s name was changed (the new one, next one to be shown) to the same name as the one in the embed code, wouldn’t that one now show in the player without the use of fancy javascripting, flashing, or such stuf?

  • Steve Poland

    James — what I’m proposing above is that we give the user the exact embed that youtube gives us, and then we also add some more code at the end of the embed …. so if the user grabs the embed code from our site, it has youtube embed and our embed at the end. Thus, the youtube embed — we couldn’t change that in the future; so if the youtube video was dead at some point, it’d be dead.

    But Graydon’s suggestion I like — but I’m not sure how we put an embed, which actually points to say a flash file on our server, which then points to the youtube file …that way, the user could update the flash file (on our server via our tools that we give them). But if we embed direct to youtube, then the link is forever to that youtube video — and can’t be changed. I mean, unless the user wants to take that code back out of their site, and put new code in.. but we’re trying to eliminate that hassle — and let the user go to our website, find a new video to display, and ‘activate it as current’, then it auto-updates in their player on their myspace page.

    sorry if this makes no sense at all :)

  • Kevin

    Yeah – this idea is awesome!! It’s simple, has built-in viral spreadability, and can easily be monetized (i.e. paid subscriber can add multiple videos that play one after another). It is scary to build a startup on the backs of two other services, especially since one has been known to block widgets seemingly at a whim. Still, this one could be a bulls-eye.

  • Graydon

    Since I don’t know if this is possible, I’ll throw it out for others to kill.

    The youtube embed format is standard for all videos.
    The only difference is the video ID.
    It looks like this…
    It’s in the embed code twice.

    Now, again, not knowing how some things work… could you replace the “….” with a URL such as “” and use the technology behind something like snipurl to effective redirect to the right video?

    The “snippet url” would always be the same, but the destination could change as needed.

    I’ll test it out and let you know how it works.

  • Graydon

    OK, that didn’t take long… it works.

    Try it for yourself. Copy the below into notepad (two seperate files) and save as an html file and then open in a browser.

    Original embed:

    Snipped embed:

    Looks like some of the basics are possible.

    I wonder how many TOS that violates?

  • Graydon

    re: Splashcast
    I haven’t tried using them yet, so this is based upon what I can understand from the site.
    – you can create a channel
    – you can add shows to a channel
    – you can change the shows for any channel at any time

    So, in theory, you could add a video (either from youtube or original content loaded to splashcast) and then add an advertisement in a form of a video, image, text, etc… and change them at any point in time.

    If splashcast had a vault of ad content that you could add and had a tracking mechanism to know the views / clicks generated from a channel, they could pay the owner of that channel.

  • Steve Poland

    More from Graydon:

    Reading back through your post a couple of times, I think I was missing something. Plus, I might not have been as clear in a comment as I should have been.

    First – to clarify in the comments.
    Since you can successfully view a video using a snipped url, then your site only needs to allow the user to enter in the video id of the current showing and you take care of the “redirecting”. When they enter in a new video id, the snipped url will automatically redirect.

    Second – I just really grasped what the original question was… what else would be good to show in some bracketed player? After giving it some thought… I can’t really think of any worthwhile information that I would want to see about a video from youtube. But that’s me… and not what a myspace user might actually care about.

    Instead of thinking about what info to show, let’s think about what functions to add… and not hang up on how it would work in myspace (which may be important, but not something to design around at the front end).

    Since the snipped url works, could you add a “next” button / link that restarted the player and showed the next video the “distributor” had selected? The site would simply redirect to another video_id that the distributor had chosen.

    Unfortunately it’s too late in the evening / morning for me to come up with other functions.

  • GirlTalkTooMuch

    Great ideas so far, but I’m surprised no one has come up with the most obvious application.

    How many times do you click on an embedded video and get the dreaded “This video has been removed….” message?

    How about the meta-embed automatically searches other sites for the same video, or the closest approximation possible? If a Viacom-owned video isn’t available on Youtube, what are the chances it will be on one of the other hundreds of sites?

    Yeah, that’s right. About 100%. Sites like Vodpod are already stepping in this direction. Now just automate it and save everyone a few minutes of manual searching.

    You could either use meta-embed, or maybe even use a plugin that will work at the blog end of the layer, so that even a regular old Youtube embed could be changed.

  • Jhon Adams

    Expanding upon what Graydon laid out, it is relatively simple to get the actual video and embed it in a custom swf of your choosing without actually downloading the FLV and hosting it elsewhere. While I am sure this violates the ToS, I have created a proof of concept (embeds a youTube movie with an ID of your choosing into a flash movie). From here it could easily extended to use more than one movie.

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