Helping the Cream Rise to the Top

The battle for quality content continues.

The most awesome thing about the Internet is also it's biggest problem. Anyone can post. If anyone can post, quality content is going to get buried under heaps of half-hearted user-submitted content and illegitimate information sources. If this isn't controlled, audiences aren't happy because they aren't seeing content they want, and content creators aren't happy because their quality content isn't getting seen. In order for the industry to survive, web video has to facilitate and environment that connects audiences to the content that they desire.

YouTube recently announced its intention to offer more enhanced watch-time analytics. This is an important turn of events, because YouTube has updated its "video discovery features," making videos easier for users to find based on the amount of time the viewer was engaged by the video. This is to prevent click-based video exposure, which can easily be acquired with trickery as oppose to creating quality content.

Click-based reward is very dangerous to the community. A well-known example would be Reply Girls, where girls who provide meaningless short video responses to viral videos position their cameras to show off their cleavage just to generate clicks. Videos also try to generate fruitless clicks with false tags and misleading titles. Every cent that goes to these people takes money out of the pockets of the genuine creators, and YouTube hopes to limit these efforts by rewarding only consistently engaging content with exposure.

Google is also making efforts to clean their listings of illegitimate content. The new algorithm will increase exposure to links unassociated with copyright complaints. Though on the surface this seems like a fair idea, it gives Google a great deal of power, and may give certain content creators the ability to take advantage of the new algorithm to take down competitors.

This has interesting philosophical implications about the future of web content. There is a tradeoff that we have to consider - if the Internet is free and unregulated, it will be inundated with junk content. In order to reduce junk content, we must have regulation. This limits our freedoms as creators, and gives power to the regulators to bury of promote certain content. This opens the floodgates to agenda-based exposure.

At this point, only time will tell how this issue will be resolved, but hopefully a free market assistant by non-biased algorithms will keep quality content afloat.

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