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The company will stop offering download-to-own and download-to-rent programs on Wednesday, according to an e-mail message sent to customers yesterday...
Google’s decision to close the retail part of its video site indicates the company had less success selling content than attracting advertising spending, which accounts for 99 percent of revenue.
Did Google hire a conversion specialist before deciding to pull the plug on this? Or did the inventory lack sufficient demand?
Some blogs are reporting that the DRM on the download-to-own-videos are set to expire, meaning the paid-for products can no longer be viewed, and that Google is offering a Google Checkout coupon and not an actual refund. Anyone get that memo?
On the other hand, they set it up partly as way around the restrictive practices of the industry, which are changing. EMI has sold 'open' MP3 files since April, and now Universal are too. So it's no longer a 'special' site, and not exactly a 'core product' for Google.
[edited by: jatar_k at 11:50 am (utc) on Aug. 12, 2007]
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I hear what you're saying, and it does look like the industry is very slowly coming round to DRM-free sales, but the Universal and EMI non-DRM sales are still experimental though, and they're music rather than video.
I personally wonder if we'll see these video sales start to appear on YouTube instead of Google Video. YouTube is a much stronger brand than Google Video, people associate YouTube with videos whereas Google's image is still mainly one of text-based searches.
Or... it could just be that people aren't generally willing to buy video files for viewing on their computer. Just because something is popular, that doesn't mean people will pay for it: very few people would pay to watch the latest episode of a soap opera, but the advertising-supported free version may well have millions of regular viewers.
I know what I talk about :-)
Gathering the content, managing it and making sure there are no copyright violations is a lot of work and maybe they want to outsource that on the long run to the "youtube" department?
Managing a download sales site is not easy. People mess up downloads. You have a lot of refunds or complaints. I know what I talk about :-)
I feel your pain :)
I'm sure that's part of it; sales isn't the kind of thing that Google is into, and I'm sure the pain for them was a distraction.
But I think the bigger issue is their 'opening up new channels' philosophy; look at their current stance on mobile telephony - Yes, they are interested in cell phone advertising opportunities, but no way do they really want to get into mobile phone sales. What they want to do is shake up the market and put pressure on government. And if that means paying $6bn and getting their hands dirty with unit sales, they'll do it.
Then quietly close the sales office in four years time ;)
There is a whole class of people who bought a right that extended into the future, and now they are being fobbed off with a coupon to redeem on goods in a restricted channel.
If it had been a paypal coupon it might have greater value, as they represent a much greater number of participating merchants. They might as well have offered adwords coupons.
And is the coupon of sufficient dollar face value to offset the loss and inconvenience?
So, where is that representative plaintiff?
The defendant surely has the assets to go after!
And if they go after sales of phones, omfg, the plaintiffs will go after the entire cost of buying a new unsubsidised phone!
A Google advocate would applaud Google's move this week. If you can't be a niche leader, there's no point in embarrassing yourself by being mediocre. I get it, but why didn't Google go the other way with this? Most free video-sharing sites are offering high-traffic filmmakers and Webcam hobbyists ad revenue-sharing deals. Why couldn't Google simply have promoted its storefront as a way for prolific clip culture personalities to generate incremental revenue streams by selling premium clips through Google Video?