In a long-overdue move, Google
More than half of YouTube's audience now comes from abroad. That's evident the moment you hit the list of the site's most watched videos on any given day. The list is dominated by European soccer highlights, Japanese video clips, and a recent troubling trend on the site. Illegal downloading sites are putting up promotional videos, then gaming the system to generate enough views to get the extra exposure from being on the most-watched list.
That makes it hard to find useful clips on the site, no matter what country you hail from, or what language you speak. It'll be a troublesome problem for YouTube down the road, and a delicate balance to get right. Google will want to keep YouTube's global melting pot flavor intact, yet rid itself of the bogus promotional clips that are diminishing the value of the site. Making the site relevant to each individual user is extremely important, because other sites are doing a better job of keeping the propaganda clutter out.
Launching the country-specific sites will help grow YouTube's reach. I kicked the tires of YouTube's Spanish site this morning. The featured clips were mostly in Spanish, and the most watched list showcased Real Madrid soccer clips and other popular Spanish clips. It's actually more useful than the flagship site, because it's free of the spam-happy warez sites that have invaded YouTube.com. Navigation in Spanish will also encourage more Spanish-speaking users to warm up to the country-specific site and share their videos. The same is likely true for the other new international landing pages.
It's part of the globalization of the Web. Yahoo!'s
So let's see if YouTube's global push broadens its audience. Whether or not it will be able to take care of clutter closer to home is another matter entirely.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is ready to officially classify himself as a clip culture junkie. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.