YouTube – Broadcast Yourself.

In the past week, I’ve signed up for two of the web’s best-known media-sharing services: Flickr and YouTube. Unfortunately, I started with Flickr, which is smart and efficient, and posed only a few frustrations in its use. This makes arriving to YouTube very hard to stomach; man, what a crappy site!

For a site that is so huge, and so longstanding, you’d think they’d have worked out the kinks by now. I’ve been in a usability nightmare since pretty much the fourth upload. Changing tags after the fact results in an “authorization error”. Thumbnail choices are limited to the first, last and a middle frame from your movie, but it doesn’t seem to recognise my selection. Occasionally no thumbnail gets displayed at all, despite the stills being available and selected. The error reporting leaves something to be desired – I’ve uploaded 25 films, all taken with the same camera, all in the same format. 24 of them uploaded fine. The 25th errors out, and YouTube helpfully explains it as “FAILED”.

Normally these are issues I’d work around on my own, with the help of the user support provided on the site. Here, however, is YouTube’s most surprising letdown: The troubleshooting provided is paper thin, and didn’t answer a single one of my questions. And the response to my email suggests they didn’t read my note at all, as the tips given were almost all ones I’d tried and reported to them.

Further proof that that which becomes popular is often not that which should.

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