One of the recent YouTube outage messages.
For a lot of users, the world of online video sharing begins and ends with link. And, to a certain extent, it did for me too, up until a few months ago. Over the past few months YouTube seems to have become less and less compelling. In fact, I find myself using the site less and less and going to other upstart video sharing sites with greater frequency (like link, link, link and others).

Now I can't knock the success of YouTube. These guys pioneered simple, easy and addicting video sharing (the guys at link and link must be kicking themselves that they missed out on YouTube's winning formula). And the fact that they were acquired in a $1.75B Google buyout speaks volumes.


All this doesn't mean I'm going to stick around. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Copyright crackdowns
Yeah, I know. It's not right. But copyrighted material is the reason we all went to YouTube in the first place (comon', admit it!). And, by all accounts, it's one of the signifcant factors that led to YouTube's stratospheric rise. Post-acquisition YouTube, however, can't swing quite as freely, so we've seen a marked crackdown on copyrighted videos on their site ranging from rapid removal of movies, to tv shows to short tv clips and excerpts. The crackdowns also create a lot of uncertainty for uploaders. If I'm uploading something in that "grey" copyright area, should I bother with YouTube knowing that it might be removed the next day?

2. Server outages
This one drives me nuts. YouTube still seems to be the most outage prone top 10 web property I've ever encountered. Whoever is managing the server operations, production upgrades, etc. should be fired. Late summer the outages were really bad. I remember several in a single week with one even occuring in the middle of the day. Even last night, during primetime surfing hours there was a lengthy 1-2 hour outage. I know they're dealing with growing pains, but outages just plain suck. If I can't count on your site to be around when I need a fix (and I'm already dinging you on point #1), then once again, I'm off to greener pastures.

3. The 10-minute cap
I know you can get a special account that lets you upload longer length videos, but the 10-minute cap for free accounts is completely lame.

4. Upload Woes
Uploading to YouTube is like playing Russian Roulette. You never really know if your video is going to make it. Sometimes when it does, you get strange video artifacts from the compression/conversion routine (this has happened to me a couple of times with perfectly good source material). I've also experience long 12-36 hour waits for my video to be fully processed and posted. This is painful when I need to get something up and available quickly. I've used several other sites for video uploads and have had the video post almost instantly following upload.

5. Search Indexing is Slowwwwww
The new trailer to The Simpsons movie premiered the other night and I figured I'd check YouTube to see if it was available. Of course, when I received search results for Simpsons sorted by date the most recent clips available were from over 16 hours ago. And this isn't the first time I've seen this on YouTube. YouTube's search index updates far too infrequently for a site with such a rich library and constant inflow of new clips. I went to Google Video and sure enough, there it was (along with freshly added videos in the search results).

To be fair, YouTube still does a lot of things very well. There is no other site out there with the breadth and variety of video offerings and the huge audience means you have the *potential* to get your material in front of a lot of eyeballs. The recent Google acquisition (hopefully) means that server issues, upload woes and search indexing will be improved with the help of a technology-savvy and deep-pocketed parent. And with the biz-dev effort to strike meaningful content partnerships with the large media companies there's bound to be more legal content on YouTube. But all of this will take precious time (and lord knows we webizens are an impatient lot).

So while I will still be using YouTube for some of my video sharing needs, it's no longer my primary nor sole source for online video. There's just too much great stuff being posted to Daily Motion, Bolt, VidLife, Guba, OUOU and other sharing sites out there (and as always, I'll be using link for organizing and grouping cool videos regardless of where they're hosted - gotta love the eps on the link).

But enough of my rant, what do you think? Does YouTube suck? Are you using it less? Are there other alternatives you think are more worthy?