Aggregation vs. Filtration Pt.2

Two years ago I was floundering as an online marketer for my sketch comedy group Extra Medium. Every time I posted our library of short films to a site, a new, more hip alternative arose.

I posted to Vimeo, Veoh, Dailymotion, Break, Funnyordie, MySpace, Google Video, Prelinger Archives and even made a little money from Revver‘s click-through ad system which awarded content providers per redirect.

Then YouTube rose from the muck the apparent victor, was bought by Google and cracked down on copyright violations. I had posted a digital video short which featured a snippet of a popular artist’s song and YouTube deleted my account. The hours of tagging, uploading and writing descriptions were void. Instead of blocking one video or asking me to verify my right or to remove the video myself, YouTube lost my 40 videos with thousands of hits. And I haven’t been back since.

Soon, new means of distributing feeds and rich media became mainstream. I launched the same online video as a podcast, subscribable through iTunes, RSS readers and browsers.

I was trying desperately to compete with Portland’s self-proclaimed “best” sketch comedy ensemble The 3rd Floor. They host the region’s best sketch comedy festival, have the best performance space, a long legacy, the most accomplished cast of trained, working actors, great press and great buzz. But not much online video. Web searches for sketch video were much more likely to bring up Olde English, Lonely Island or locals Cinema Queso. I thought I could flood cyberspace with one of the most sought-after commodities, funny video, and come out on top somehow. It turned out to be an awful marketing strategy. It essentially left a paper trail of dirty jokes and pixelated web-dross to my personal online identity. How am I going to explain that to a potential employer? If I’d spent just as much time blogging that Extra Medium were the best sketch comedy collective in Portland, I could have spun that into some real press and buzz. No wonder The 3rd Floor stole my girlfriend.

Too much information means all the while people are collecting more feeds, news, updates and e-letters, the more they ignore, scan and bounce. But legitimate sources of information get qualified hits. Their real estate get the right eyeballs. I liken my video proliferation campaign to flyering telephone poles. It’s throwing fistfulls of pea gravel, hoping you hit something significant. In the meantime, you’ve made a gritty mess and annoyed unintentional targets. What always drove traffic to our sketch show was word-of-mouth, friends-of-friends and being recommended as pick-of-the-week in local weeklies.


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