YouTube Canada is pointless and insulting

YouTube exploited the media’s cluelessness about the Internet to get some free advertising launched its Canadian site today, with a big press release and everything.

YouTube, an American video-sharing website, was not available to Canadian Internet users prior to today. Internet traffic would be stopped at the border, searched, and then forced to pay taxes and duties before being allowed to continue. As a result, no Canadian-made videos had ever appeared on the No. 1 video-sharing site.

Oh wait, none of that is true? Then what’s the purpose again?

“YouTube Canada”, which looks exactly like regular YouTube except that its featured content is from obviously-Canadian sources, is basically nothing more than a bunch of content licensing agreements with media outlets like Dose.ca (funny they don’t use CanWest’s crappy internal video portal), the Canadian Football League, CBC and others. You’ll note that these groups already have YouTube channels, which just makes the pointlessness of this launch even more apparent.

The Globe and Mail’s Mathew Ingram was one of the few not to be taken in by the smoke and mirrors. He asks, very reasonably, what the point of a “localized” Canadian site is in the first place. (His remarks remind me a bit of Casey McKinnon’s views on CanCon.)

One thing that Ingram didn’t mention though, is a mistake a lot of these companies make when they create Canadian versions of themselves: The “Canadian” YouTube is English-only.

It’s not that YouTube lacks translation abilities. YouTube France is in French. So what’s the story?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Guy Bertrand or anything. But to launch a website branded as “Canadian” in only one of its languages is a pretty big “Fuck You” to francophone Canadians.

So colour me underwhelmed about all this.

3 thoughts on “YouTube Canada is pointless and insulting

  1. princess iveylocks

    Steve, you sound bitter lately.

    Why doesn’t YouTube just set up “YouTube en Francais” “YouTube Chinese”, etc.? The Canadian site should have French translation, naturally, but wouldn’t it be geopolitically simpler to make content based on readers’ languages instead of nationalities? The latter just seems artificial. I think google.cn should do the same thing, incidentally.

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  2. Fagstein Post author

    I agree. Language is important, nationality alone is not.

    Wikipedia, for example, separates by language, not by nationality. It just makes sense that way.

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