Is YouTube handicapping embedded video to drive more traffic to youtube.com?
Seen a YouTube video embedded on a another site lately? Of course one of the more popular features of YouTube from the beginning has been the ability to embed videos on your own site, it’s a great feature that allows many of us to present videos without needing to host them ourselves.
But have you encountered embedded YouTube videos lately that either wont play or take for ever to start? I have, on numerous occasions on many, many different sites. Naturally my first thoughts were that the site hadn’t added the include script properly, but as I saw it on more and more sites it got me thinking.
You see, if you’re like me and you’re trying to watch a video on a website and it’s not working, and you really want to watch it, what do you do? Easy, you click on the video frame itself which takes you directly to the page at youtube.com that hosts the video, and 100% of the time the video works promptly at youtube.com itself. I’ve found myself doing this more and more lately. Here’s one example from Gizmodo. I’d note that I hit play on this video 5 minutes ago, nothing is playing:
A quick click on the YouTube logo at the bottom right of screen: bingo! I get a working video.
The question then becomes: is YouTube intentionally stifling/ handicapping embedded videos to force users to visit youtube.com? Perhaps not all of the time, and with all videos, but perhaps through some random or not so random algorithm? Is there any other explanation for the regular failure of embedded YouTube videos not working as they should? Food for thought.