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YouTube, and perhaps the greatest online April Fools ever
April 1, 2013 7:11 PM   Subscribe

It's finally time to pick the winner… and we're 10 hours in. Earlier today, YouTube declared that it is finally time to pick a winner with the service shutting down at midnight upon declaring the winner. YouTube has been livestreaming the nominee ceremony for 10 hours now.

Every video uploaded over the past eight years is under consideration to win YouTube. Our presenters will be announcing all the nominees for 12 hours every day over the next two years. Tune in for Day 1 of our live ceremony.
posted by whyareyouatriangle (63 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I saw one where the poor lady just stared at the card for a while, looked at the camera and then shrugged. Awesome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:14 PM on April 1, 2013


Heh, like google would actually shut down a popular service that the internet depends on.
posted by empath at 7:16 PM on April 1, 2013 [83 favorites]


Wow. I don't know if I can think of a worse gig than reading YouTube descriptions aloud.

(Other than reading YouTube comments aloud.)




Ooh, one of the descriptions was for a ChromeBook review, complete with specs. I'm sure that was purely coincidental and not intentional shilling at all.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:20 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It'll be awesome if they actually do this livestream every day for 2 years. I actually hope they do this.
posted by hippybear at 7:23 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's unexpectedly absorbing. I think my girlfriend and I just spent an hour watching it, and we're still not over our disbelief that they have actually committed to this prank to this extent.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:25 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Other than reading YouTube comments aloud.)

YouTube reacts.
posted by Nomyte at 7:28 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


This would be a lot funnier if I didn't think shutting down YouTube is something Google might actually do in a year or two. Google Reader is one thing but it boggles my mind that so much content from so many people might disappear at the whim of one company looking for something more profitable.
posted by mmoncur at 7:30 PM on April 1, 2013


My favorite part out of all I've seen is this bit relatively early on that got both of them corpsing.
posted by flatluigi at 7:36 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


This would be a lot funnier if I didn't think shutting down YouTube is something Google might actually do in a year or two. Google Reader is one thing but it boggles my mind that so much content from so many people might disappear at the whim of one company looking for something more profitable.

something something Google Video something something
posted by hippybear at 7:37 PM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know who the two presenters are? I'd love to see what else they've done.
posted by flatluigi at 7:44 PM on April 1, 2013


"The winner will be announced in 2023" just appeared on the stream. O... MG.
posted by andreaazure at 7:44 PM on April 1, 2013


Yeah, google video had a huge number of pirated documentaries-- rip :(
posted by empath at 7:44 PM on April 1, 2013


Oh god, I have to stop watching that live stream now or I'll never stop watching it.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:52 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Remember when they just kept showing the same Screwy Squirrel cartoon over and over on the Cartoon Network for April Fools' Day? Ah, those were the days...
posted by Melismata at 8:06 PM on April 1, 2013


"Katie. Margo. Annie..."
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:11 PM on April 1, 2013


What did the announcers do to deserve this hell?
posted by codacorolla at 8:20 PM on April 1, 2013


Are these actually live?

They have perfected that deadpan. Their voice tone hasn't changed in ten hours. Their professionalism is remarkable.
posted by pmv at 8:27 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another really good moment.
posted by flatluigi at 8:28 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


And another!
posted by flatluigi at 8:31 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


When it comes to the internet, I'm a Completist.

That video.... It may be my great white whale.
posted by meese at 8:33 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Guys, there is art in this. If James Joyce were not the mad, neurotic writer but the disembodied performative snippets of thousands of Americans sufferring from short attention spans and materialism and a fixation on unboxing videos and parodies, this would be their Ulysses.

JK this is the worst
posted by dubusadus at 8:37 PM on April 1, 2013


The beginning of the ceremony introduces the MCs as Youtube submission coordinators Donald Hurley and Kendra Fuller. I did noticed a couple of nominee spotlight breaks (at 2H50, 7H17) but I think this is an honest to god 12 hour marathon.

This is crazy.
posted by tksh at 8:39 PM on April 1, 2013


Marina Abramović, The Artist is Present
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 8:43 PM on April 1, 2013


Part of me knows this must have been pre-recorded in parts and edited together to appear as a live stream, but another part of me really wants to believe YouTube actually put two people behind a podium for twelve hours without breaks and made them read video descriptions.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 8:45 PM on April 1, 2013


Hahaha, they just finished for the night and then went to bed on cots on the stage... :)
posted by rollbiz at 8:50 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hahaha, they just finished for the night and then went to bed on cots on the stage... :)

Keep the camera streaming while they sleep, and back announcing tomorrow? The YouTruman show?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 8:52 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Part of me knows this must have been pre-recorded in parts and edited together to appear as a live stream, but another part of me really wants to believe YouTube actually put two people behind a podium for twelve hours without breaks and made them read video descriptions.

There was live participation with Twitter and the outside world visible in some camera shots was changing lighting correctly throughout the stream. They were live.
posted by flatluigi at 8:54 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Please let them do this every day for years and years. It's brilliant.
posted by hippybear at 8:57 PM on April 1, 2013


This is completely amazing. When will it end? More importantly, will I really end up watching these two poor slobs sleep all night?
posted by item at 8:59 PM on April 1, 2013


Feed is still up, but the live shot just cut.

EDIT- aaaaand...the stream cut.
posted by rollbiz at 9:01 PM on April 1, 2013


Here's an appropriate musical accompaniment for watching them sleep.
posted by hippybear at 9:02 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, will it continue tomorrow?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:25 PM on April 1, 2013


We'll all meet back here tomorrow to find out. Same bat time, same bat channel.
posted by hippybear at 9:36 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


It reminds me of an inexplicable class of YouTube videos of people simply counting to some ridiculously large number, for hours on end, just because they can.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:50 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


So, watching it not live (and therefore seeing it from the very start): WTF? I can understand how ignoring the MPAA and RIAA (and JASRAC and all the other similar organizations in other countries) benefits YouTube, but who decided, "You know what, for April Fools we should go from ignoring them to actively rubbing their face in it"?
posted by Bugbread at 10:54 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Youtube has been enabling those copyright holders to identify and control those videos or profit from them for quite some time now (over a year at least?) with Audio Content ID. If you look up the atreyu song, you'll find several user uploads - from a quick test they all had a preroll ad for me. Safe to wager that ad money is going to whoever they've identified as the copyright holder.

See the Buffy remix case for a pretty good view into that world and how tilted in the rightsholder's favor their system is.
posted by pahalial at 11:34 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


If you enjoy this you will likely also enjoy the reading of Hobo Names, if you haven't already come across it.
posted by pahalial at 11:39 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


pahalial: "Youtube has been enabling those copyright holders to identify and control those videos or profit from them for quite some time now (over a year at least?) with Audio Content ID. If you look up the atreyu song, you'll find several user uploads - from a quick test they all had a preroll ad for me. Safe to wager that ad money is going to whoever they've identified as the copyright holder."

Ah, interesting. Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 11:50 PM on April 1, 2013


If you look up the atreyu song, you'll find several user uploads - from a quick test they all had a preroll ad for me.

That's why you should use Opera. The only browser I've found so far that doesn't show youtube ads, either of the preroll or the just as obnoxious popup in the video itself variant.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:50 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh...I found the specific Atreyu video, but no ad for me (AdBlock turned off, NoScript set to permit all scripts). Maybe it only shows ads in the US, or a limited number of countries? The same with all the other Atreyu videos. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a preroll ad on YouTube (that's an ad that plays before the video you want to watch, right?). All I see is a little popup ad midway for a law school. (Google's choice of ads for Japanese visitors is often...odd.)

Do you see an ad before the video I linked to?
posted by Bugbread at 12:04 AM on April 2, 2013


One day, someone will upload a video of a tiny child about to blow out a birthday cake, and a cat, walking across the table at that moment, will break wind right in front of the cake, blowing out the candles in the instant before the child can do it.

This will be the YouTube apotheosis, and they can shut it down in good conscience at that time, as it will have achieved its fullest and finest expression and there'll be nowhere left for it to go.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:09 AM on April 2, 2013


Donald Hurley Kendra Fuller - Who are they? The hosts for The Nominees For Best Video
posted by homunculus at 12:18 AM on April 2, 2013


Huh, interesting, I also do not see an ad. It doesn't appear to be identified, for whatever reason - ID'd videos typically have the artist and track and a "buy this track" section separate from the description, and this one lacks that as well. All the other hits I'd checked had/have that, this one for example has a preroll ad (yes, the ones that play before) and an iTunes buy link despite being a similar user upload.
posted by pahalial at 1:01 AM on April 2, 2013


homunculus - I think this one was actually first
posted by victory_laser at 1:05 AM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


pahalial: "All the other hits I'd checked had/have that, this one yt for example has a preroll ad (yes, the ones that play before) and an iTunes buy link despite being a similar user upload."

Interesting. I don't see an iTunes link or a preroll ad.

I hadn't really thought about it, but since the rights holders are paying for the ads, I guess they specify which regions the ads run in (no use paying to run an ad in a country where you have almost no customers), so there are probably a lot of situations where people living in America and other western countries see ads, while people in non-Western countries are ad-free.

Makes me feel a little less sore about, for example, last.fm, Spotify, and Pandora all being inaccessible from Japan. But only a little less sore.
posted by Bugbread at 1:44 AM on April 2, 2013


I am shocked--SHOCKED to find copyrighted material on YouTube!
posted by ShutterBun at 2:15 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hadn't really thought about it, but since the rights holders are paying for the ads, I guess they specify which regions the ads run in (no use paying to run an ad in a country where you have almost no customers), so there are probably a lot of situations where people living in America and other western countries see ads, while people in non-Western countries are ad-free.

Actually, what we often see in not-america western countries is "This video is not available in your region due to it being blocked by [$recordcompany]". It's kind of maddening....
posted by jaymzjulian at 2:17 AM on April 2, 2013


This painting is not available in your country.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:26 AM on April 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am shocked--SHOCKED to find copyrighted material on YouTube!

Well, everything that's original and isn't in the public domain is protected by copyright. And there's a very low bar for originality.
posted by benbenson at 3:10 AM on April 2, 2013


I don't want to be overly cynical, but they did maybe half-a-dozen April Fool's jokes this year and it seems like a desperate attempt to be seen as fun and quirky. I mean, any big company is going to be increasingly focused on profits and whatnot, but this seems like a cheap and easy way to stay "cool" while the things that were more fundamentally cool, like investing time in neat little projects, are disappearing from Google.
posted by snofoam at 3:34 AM on April 2, 2013


It's funny until someone issues a DMCA takedown notice.
posted by spitbull at 4:15 AM on April 2, 2013


Google has always done several April Fools' Day jokes, though. If it is a desperate attempt to be seen as fun and quirky, it's one they've been doing for a while.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:50 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that two people could stand like that for 12 hours, talking, never sitting, never resting? How? They deserve Emmys. Or Oscars. Tonys?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:54 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


How is it possible that two people could stand like that for 12 hours, talking, never sitting, never resting? How? They deserve Emmys. Or Oscars. Tonys?

It's not really live and they started recording it in chunks a long time ago. That's my theory.
posted by gjc at 7:04 AM on April 2, 2013


When I tuned in live at about 10.5 hours in, only the man was standing and reading. The camera periodically switched from close-up to a wide shot where you could see the woman seated in a chair at the rear of the stage, so probably taking turns by that point?
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 7:25 AM on April 2, 2013


Also, you could see several huge stacks of "nominee" cards on either side of the stage, which he was just tossing on the floor after reading them.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 7:29 AM on April 2, 2013


I only watched for about 20 minutes or so (well, had it on in the background while I did work), but my favorite part was when the female host got to a video that was clearly just link-bait spam and read a description like "Internet, new Harry Potter movie, Free new Harry Potter movie, Internet, Free Stuff, work from home, Internet, Harry Potter Movie."
posted by codacorolla at 7:35 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero: "How is it possible that two people could stand like that for 12 hours, talking, never sitting, never resting? How? They deserve Emmys. Or Oscars. Tonys?"

Or a Senate seat? If the GOP needs to block some legislation, these guys could prove to be very valuable...
posted by schmod at 8:19 AM on April 2, 2013


I hadn't really thought about it, but since the rights holders are paying for the ads, I guess they specify which regions the ads run in (no use paying to run an ad in a country where you have almost no customers),

The other complication is that who holds the rights varies by country. For instance: "In early 2007, Atreyu signed a record deal with Hollywood Records for America and an international deal with Roadrunner Records."
posted by smackfu at 9:24 AM on April 2, 2013


This would be a lot funnier if I didn't think shutting down YouTube is something Google might actually do in a year or two.

I get the sentiment, but there is a gigantic difference: YouTube is a very profitable business. Shutting down a profit center is not even in the same ballpark as a somewhat-niche (in terms of users versus, say, YouTube or GMail) but beloved service.
posted by wildcrdj at 10:15 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't want to be overly cynical, but they did maybe half-a-dozen April Fool's jokes this year and it seems like a desperate attempt to be seen as fun and quirky.

Google has always done like an April Fools joke per project/product/team, though. For at least the last 5-6 years, maybe longer, so I don't think there's any relation.

(and from my position inside, I don't think spending time on neat little projects has stopped at all, its just that neat projects may live or die depending on a lot of factors, which doesnt seem any different in the fairly long time I've been here)
posted by wildcrdj at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2013


I particularly loved all of the "I don't own this" disclaimers. As Andy Biao said, "fair use will not save you."

I think YouTube and Google definitively won April Fool's Day with this long-form joke. Everything about it was spectacular, but I especially lost it at the cots at the end. "We'll see you every day for the better part of two years. Goodnight!"
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:20 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


jaymzjulian: "Actually, what we often see in not-america western countries is "This video is not available in your region due to it being blocked by [$recordcompany]". It's kind of maddening...."

Oh, I'm very, very familiar with that.
posted by Bugbread at 4:06 PM on April 2, 2013


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