The lead video on YouTube Tuesday morning featured co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen making the official announcement that they have sold their site to Google (for $1.6 billion -- not bad for just under a year's worth of work). As YouTube user Hellorodney says in a video posted in reaction to the sale, that's "a lot of freaky cash."
It starts out as a fairly straight, thank you, with Chen thanking the community and acknowledging that YouTube could not have gotten to where it is today without the community. Then he goes on to talk about improving functionality and assuring users that the company is working on all their problems that have been coming in.
'An even better service'
Then Hurley steps in to reiterate the benefits of the deal for the users. "This is great! Two kings have gotten together and we'll be able to provide you an even better service and build even more innovative features for you." Then they both break up laughing, neither seemingly comfortable talking to the camera the way millions of users have learned to on their own site. A flustered Hurley yells at the camera, "I don't know, just keep going, two kings!"
But then he sees a way out, by calling -- a bit incoherently -- on another famous king, Burger King. "King of search, king of video have gotten together, have it your way, salt and pepper." At which point he and Chen tell the camera man they can't do this anymore, and to cut.
And that's it. According to Renetto, a YouTube regular, that one minute and 36 seconds is historic, since it's the first time the founders have actually posted a video addressing the YouTube community directly. Given the rabid nature of ownership YouTubers feel toward the site, the kings may have wanted to try a little outreach before they sold.
YouTubers have their say
YouTubers reaction? Many posted congratulations and kudos. One of the most clear-eyed endorsements of the deal was posted by boh3m3, who said Google was much better than an old media company like Time Warner or NBC buying it. He likes the idea of GooTube. But there were quite a few that were skeptical, to say the least. User Musicdisciple wrote of Chen and Hurley, "They are another INTERNET MIRACLE. Another pair of tech geek superstars, where hottest chicks be drooling over (sic), no kidding, what a touching story, hand me the tissue box."
Thefatpriest wrote, "You are not going to have it your way. It's going to be Google's way. I don't blame you, but at least be honest and say, 'Yeah, I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams!' instead of 'All you guys will benefit.' No we won't."
User Farlist expressed a fear that many others were worried about, "I am afraid they will start charging to upload and see clips of other people, grrrr." While Kooodeal is worried about the advertising implications: "Think some canned c**p is going to come in. Such as Actors being promoted for movies coming out and singers putting short video teasers that can be bought in entire length with a credit card. Photo shoots of Disney gals like Hillary Duff and the likes."
In the digitocracy, kings must still deal with the uprising of the peasants.
Update: Check out this video response to Chad and Steve's message from chris166 titled YouTubers, it's like a cheat sheet to the community, warts and all.