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April 21, 2009

YouTube's Featured Search Results

YouTube started to display videos from partners at the top of the search results and in the right sidebar. For some reason, YouTube likes to call these videos "featured videos". According to the help center, "featured videos will be primarily populated with videos from YouTube's thousands of partners, but might also include select user videos that are currently popular or that we have previously showcased in Spotlight Videos. (...) Featured videos are not advertisements or paid placements, but do feature content from partners with whom we have a commercial relationship."

I think the terminology is misleading and it should've been replaced with something more explanatory like "videos from YouTube partners". And just because the videos are from YouTube partners, it doesn't mean they're more relevant than the "organic" results. YouTube's parent company doesn't have a special section in the search results for websites from Google's content network.

Besides earning revenue from advertising and being promoted on every YouTube page, partners have many other privileges: they can upload custom thumbnails, create branded channels and offer downloadable videos.


  1. What makes YouTube great is that the videos are NOT from big brands and powerful marketing companies... They are going in the wrong direction.

  2. > I think the terminology is misleading and it
    > should've been replaced with something more explanatory
    > like "videos from YouTube partners".

    That's still not too descriptive... better yet, replace the informatio by disclaiming in which direction the money flows... using "Sponsored videos" or plain "Advertisement" if YouTube gets paid.

  3. It is apparent that social platforms have not found the "holy grail" yet. We developed a concept "Monetizing YouTube" which we want to share with Google..

  4. I can see an "updated 4/23/2009" notice on that help page now.

  5. Hello, Please tell that how autoplay feature of Youtube video can be Turned Off, except pressing Pause.

  6. That's still not too descriptive... better yet, replace the informatio by disclaiming in which direction the money flows.

  7. Can anyone know to download a video form you tube to computer or mobile.

  8. I never worked with youtube . Now will start it.

  9. I love you tube and the who never work with it till now its shameful.

  10. but its not all stuff from partners... one of my videos shows up in the featured list and i'm just a normal person :\

  11. my video got a featured video tag... no idea how.. but i am happy :p

  12. You don't have to be a YouTube partner for one of your videos to be featured. And it doesn't have to currently be popular either (or previously showcased). One of my videos is featured, and it meets none of the above descriptions.

    1. so how can it happen to me as well? english me please

  13. my video got featured :O i was like wtf it has like a hundred views
    so yeah im kinda 13 so im pretty sure they dont only feature partners

  14. So if you don't have to be a partner, are like random videos being featured? Or is it a user's most popular video that automatically is considered a "featured video"?

    It's as if no one has really answered the question, IMHO.

  15. In response to mary's plea, and for anyone else interested, there is a Safari plugin called ClickToFlash that blocks any Flash video from automatically playing and replaces it with a tastefully rendered gray panel with a "YouTube" button (the button varies by site but serves the same function) which, when hit, will load and play the video. This also prevents Flash ads from disturbing surfing. For Firefox users there is a plugin called Flashblock does it in almost the same way on Firefox, and there are other options there such as NoScript that will also fulfill this function in various ways. IE users, well, you should be used to disappointment by now.

  16. Whatever they're saying, featured videos are not working in the way they're described. I'm often seeing complete rubbish videos being "featured", and when I say rubbish I'm talking about the bad kind of youtube poops, the ones with the complete earrape and random effects on the video that never receive a rating over 2 stars.

    The user pages of said videos are nothing special, the users have nothing going on for them and haven't produced anything of quality. Why is said video video featured? Because it was popular after it's initial upload, as in having 500 views when I stumble upon it?

  17. You have a much better chance at getting a video spotlight than a featured video.

    The best way to get spotlighted is to be actively engaged with the Youtube staff, since you need someone from youtube/google to see one of your videos and like it enough to get featured/spotlighted.

    The best way to do that is to follow some of the youtube blogs:

    Many times they will give specific instructions for how to get a video considered for spotlighting. Sometimes, at the beginning of the month, they list some spotlight themes that will be going on later in the month and how to tag your video to be noticed. This month, there were 2 such chances:

    4/4 - Easter: we're looking for any and all intriguing content related to the holiday (tag: yteaster)

    4/22 - Earth Day 40th anniversary: we've got a theme for the spotlight already, but will be looking for videos to Tweet (tag: ytearthday)

    There are also many contests that youtube either sponsors or gets involved with (many of them have to do with community service and activism) and the winner and excellent videos submitted to those also often get spotlighted.

    Personally, I was featured (back before it was called spotlighted) on the homepage because I entered a contest youtube was involved with and they liked my video and wanted to encourage more submissions. So I would also recommend checking out from time to time to see if there any contests that might fit well with your style of video.

    There are a few other ways to contact youtube like Email or their twitter account, and they say they take suggestions for feature suggestion, but I wouldn't put a lot of faith in that since they probably get a high volume of requests to be featured.

  18. If your video is a "featured videos" it sure does increase exposure and possible ad sense revenue.

  19. I didn't get any videos: mostly all due to "traffic" -

    What makes you lame is that you knew you were going to have extra traffic regarding the current Survivor season's Ponderosa vids - and you must have known pre-air date: about the quitters'stories, and considering there were two Quitters! Hence,you should have been aware of internet traffic and behaved accordingly!

    Thanks for making everything harder than it has to be

    And prepare!!! Love the posts, but what are you 9 years old???!!!

  20. One of my video become featured video. I wonder how it can be. It's a simple short video not special but it use background music from Youtube AudioSwap.

  21. "Featured" is more or less a technical term well know to database and web developers. A Database component known as an AdRotator is used here to make videos that are marked as "Featured" to dynamically rotate or keep changing on a web page. These videos are category relevant, so to say, a video that has content about computer hacking tutorials like mine, will appear at the top of the page or anywhere on the page where the AdRotator is embedded. Google has that too. So, there can't be any other explanation why youtube calls that "Featured". Technically, that's correct.
    If any of you readers are interested on:
    How to be a computer hacker :-),
    Then watch my videos. They are also "Featured".