Comedy Central vs. YouTube

Last night, the Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert’s satire of Bill O’Reilly, aired a hilarious segment about Wikipedia and what Colbert termed “Wikiality”. It was so funny, I wanted to share it with some friends.

I went to Comedy Central’s Web site and searched for Wikiality. No dice. Not even an error message indicating no results found. I navigated through the horrendously designed Web site to find videos and ended up on a page called “Mother Load”. Immediately, I got a pop-up blocker alert. When I got through that and tried view videos, I was prompted to download an ActiveX plugin for Firefox. Not wanting to destroy the reason I use Firefox (security), I switched to IE. In IE, I found that the video wasn’t available. This was around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, about 13 hours after the show aired.

Contrast this with my experience on YouTube. I went to the front page, typed “wikiality” in the search box and the first result was the Wikiality clip. No popups, no installs, just direct access to the content I was looking for.

As of about 10:30p.m. on Tuesday (about 23 hours after the show aired), the video had logged 65,380 views. Judging from the the timestamps on the comments, the video was posted within 2 hours of the first airing.

Although the video is now available on Comedy Central’s site, you’ll have to disable your pop-up blocker and, if you use Firefox, install the ActiveX plugin. You can’t search for it from the main page. Unlike with YouTube, you can’t comment on it. And you can’t embed the video in a blog.

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About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is CEO of redesign | mobile. Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. His personal blog is at http://blog.agrawals.org and tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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