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View Full Version : Do you guys think UkuleleVids.com is shady?



Brad Bordessa
11-05-2010, 11:37 AM
I ran across UkuleleVids.com (http://www.ukulelevids.com/) today via Top 50 'Ukulele Sites where it is rising quickly through the ranks. After some browsing I had serious questions and was wondering if I could get some opinions from the UU crew.

From what I saw, UkuleleVids is lifting content straight from YT (all of the content - like comments, channel info, etc - along with the videos) and rerouting it through some sort of different video player. I know that YT videos are pretty much public domain, but UkuleleVids makes it look like we have been submitting these videos straight to the site.

I say "we" because lots of UUer and major 'ukulele YT channel videos are on there: DominatorUke, hooserhiver, easyukulele, hawaiimusicsupply, ukulelebartt, and many more!

This is what my "UkuleleVids" channel looks like: http://www.ukulelevids.com/profile/liveukulele. You can't click over to the original videos and otherwise there is no credit whatsoever.

I never gave permission for this guy to use my videos and would at least like a link back to my site and a little thing that says something like "Brad has no affiliation with UkuleleVids".

And the "top rated" page is just the top YT videos - no relation to 'ukulele at all. http://www.ukulelevids.com/feed/top_rated.html It looks to me like somebody just set a computer loose with a special script and is not putting any additional value on the web.

Do I have my panties in a bunch or does this look shady to you guys too?

mds725
11-05-2010, 12:13 PM
If you want to make some mischief, you could bring UkuleleVids.com to the attention of YouTube.

haoleerik
11-05-2010, 12:43 PM
i think its shady. they are implying you are a member and or advocate of their site. report em

ukecantdothat
11-05-2010, 12:47 PM
Wow, yeah. Just looked up my YT channel and there they were! I have no problem with that.

Captain_Lovehandles
11-05-2010, 02:19 PM
Appears to me their main purpose is to make money from advertising.

janeray1940
11-05-2010, 02:34 PM
Um... wow. I wonder how Ukulele Mike feels about this.

ukecantdothat
11-05-2010, 02:57 PM
Um... wow. I wonder how Ukulele Mike feels about this.

I was under the impression that Ukulele Mike set up this site, based on the home page. Does anybody know who is behind this?

Brad Bordessa
11-05-2010, 02:59 PM
Yeah. It seems like a plan to get rich off of other people's effort. I'd hate to just get the site shut down if there IS good intention behind it, but on the other hand I think that ship has already sailed. Hmm...

Brad Bordessa
11-05-2010, 03:00 PM
I was under the impression that Ukulele Mike set up this site, based on the home page. Does anybody know who is behind this?

No idea. It's pretty vauge in the "about" department. 'Ukulele Mike seems to be the main guy, but I doubt it's his site just based on the way things are.

janeray1940
11-05-2010, 03:05 PM
Based on the home page, my impression was that it's a doorway page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorway_pages) - in short, the goal would be to get people who Google uke-related stuff to land on the Ukulele Vids page before being redirected to YT. If that's the case, it won't last long - Google will not be happy and will stop indexing the site.

mm stan
11-05-2010, 03:05 PM
That's what I call Para sites.....

lambchop
11-05-2010, 03:19 PM
It gets my videos out through one more place - I have not seen anything bad about it, actually, and am flattered my videos are included. If people posted my videos on Facebook and their blogs I would not mind, and unless I am missing them doing something like connecting my me or my videos with something unsavory, I see nothing wrong with it. I think it is just like a special interest site dedicated to uke videos and if youa re derriving money off your videos, this site is helping you by getting you more views! It's not like the site is selling our work on a compilation CD or something like that. It's more exposure, and, while I know nothing about how this thing is set up or what the motive may be, I am all for getting my videos played more often - which is obvious by the shameless self-promotion I do on UU. Mike

lambchop
11-05-2010, 03:23 PM
Based on the home page, my impression was that it's a doorway page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doorway_pages) - in short, the goal would be to get people who Google uke-related stuff to land on the Ukulele Vids page before being redirected to YT. If that's the case, it won't last long - Google will not be happy and will stop indexing the site.

Not sure I know anything about this, but YT still gets the view for their work, don't they? And they still count in our views, right? I guess I just don't know much about these things. Interesting thread. Mike

janeray1940
11-05-2010, 03:33 PM
Not sure I know anything about this, but YT still gets the view for their work, don't they? And they still count in our views, right? I guess I just don't know much about these things. Interesting thread. Mike

It is interesting - I'm not quite sure how that works. I get that regardless of how a viewer gets there, any views of your videos could be considered a good thing. However, if the site successfully managed to bypass the direct link to your YT video in a Google search - in other words, if the searcher landed on Ukulele Vids and then clicked through to you, rather than found you directly via Google - and managed to capitalize on that, Google would be pissed. I don't think it would impact you negatively even so, since you're not the one operating the Ukulele Vids site.

The force behind the site in question is a product called Prismotube (http://www.alurian.com/php-video-script/), the sole purpose of which is to drive traffic to a website. Exactly how this translates to making money, I'm not clear on - but it's an outgrowth of link farming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Link_farm) which is not a well-regarded practice by Google.

Caveat: I'm not an internet law attorney, but I've worked on enough websites to get the sense that someone is not going to be happy about this. I hope I'm proved wrong!

Brad Bordessa
11-05-2010, 04:11 PM
Not sure I know anything about this, but YT still gets the view for their work, don't they? And they still count in our views, right? I guess I just don't know much about these things. Interesting thread. Mike

I wouldn't count on it. To me it looks like they've pulled the videos away from YT. This is in their code and appears to pull the file to their own player:


<script type="text/javascript">
var so = new SWFObject("http://www.ukulelevids.com/player/player.swf","mpl","625","400","9");
so.addParam("allowscriptaccess","always");
so.addParam("allowfullscreen","true");
so.addParam("wmode","transparent");
so.addParam("flashvars","&file=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ukulelevids.com%2Fhttp%3A%2F %2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DuWHZc-xo9aI%26fmt%3D&image=&skin=http://www.ukulelevids.com/player/skins/&backcolor=010101&frontcolor=FDF2F3&lightcolor=FDF2F3&screencolor=000000&icons=false&controlbar=over&autostart=true&repeat=list&stretching=fill");
so.write("mediaspace");
</script>

Maybe someone who knows Javascript better than me could shed some light. But if it's not the YT player I wouldn't think you get view counts.

And also, the only outbound links I see are to Dominator's site and Easyukulele.com. It would be a bum rap for those two good sites to be associated with something like this.

whetu
11-06-2010, 08:46 AM
I wouldn't count on it. To me it looks like they've pulled the videos away from YT. This is in their code and appears to pull the file to their own player:


<script type="text/javascript">
var so = new SWFObject("http://www.ukulelevids.com/player/player.swf","mpl","625","400","9");
so.addParam("allowscriptaccess","always");
so.addParam("allowfullscreen","true");
so.addParam("wmode","transparent");
so.addParam("flashvars","&file=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ukulelevids.com%2Fhttp%3A%2F %2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DuWHZc-xo9aI%26fmt%3D&image=&skin=http://www.ukulelevids.com/player/skins/&backcolor=010101&frontcolor=FDF2F3&lightcolor=FDF2F3&screencolor=000000&icons=false&controlbar=over&autostart=true&repeat=list&stretching=fill");
so.write("mediaspace");
</script>

Maybe someone who knows Javascript better than me could shed some light. But if it's not the YT player I wouldn't think you get view counts.

I'm a bit rusty with Javascript but it looks like they throw on their own player (the pause/play/tracking etc controls) and their own skin, but the file is still hosted and played off Youtube, so they're possibly getting around any embedding restrictions. Would one of the people affected please try disabling embedding on one of your videos and then checking if that same vid is still playable on ukulelevids?

Here's the WHOIS results showing who registered the domain:



Registrant:
Elibin Gentingon
Lot D48, Taman T&G Fasa 3, Jalan Lotong
Kota Marudu, Sabah 89107
Malaysia

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
Domain Name: UKULELEVIDS.COM
Created on: 20-Jan-10
Expires on: 20-Jan-11
Last Updated on: 24-Aug-10

Administrative Contact:
Gentingon, Elibin tupusku@yahoo.com
Lot D48, Taman T&G Fasa 3, Jalan Lotong
Kota Marudu, Sabah 89107
Malaysia
+60.60198808406 Fax --

Technical Contact:
Gentingon, Elibin tupusku@yahoo.com
Lot D48, Taman T&G Fasa 3, Jalan Lotong
Kota Marudu, Sabah 89107
Malaysia
+60.60198808406 Fax --

Domain servers in listed order:
NS1.UKULELEVIDS.COM
NS2.UKULELEVIDS.COM


Googling that name doesn't show promising results, especially with one result stating that said name and email address is on several other domain registrations, and he's tied up with reselhost.com, who have stats like:

support@namecheap.com is a contact on the whois record of 1,412,604 domains

Ukulele JJ
11-06-2010, 09:21 AM
Yeah, just looks like they're appropriating content from elsewhere and just slapping a bunch of ads alongside to make money.

I'm there too: http://www.ukulelevids.com/profile/UkuleleJJ/

Totally shady, but I don't guess there's much you can do as long as you're allowing embedding.

JJ

bazmaz
11-06-2010, 09:33 AM
I do see the concern, but thats the way youtube works - outside the uke world there are a million sites that syndicate ukulele content -

I runner a blogger blog, and that even offers me a widget I could include that will stream videos randomly by keyword - If I put a keyword of ukulele in, it may well show your videos too.

When you put a youtube video up, you have the option to stop embedding, but if you dont you are effectively giving licence for your content to be streamed by whoever -

Youtube get the credit, and your vid gets the hit count. If you click on one of the vids on this site, it will open up in Youtube too (I think)

But yes, it is a bit shady. Then I would say that, it overtook me like a rocket on the Top50 uke sites listing!!

Brad Bordessa
11-06-2010, 09:54 AM
Youtube get the credit, and your vid gets the hit count. If you click on one of the vids on this site, it will open up in Youtube too (I think)

Nope, they don't click over to YT. I don't know if they track views or not, but I'm thinking no.

It's not that the videos are getting embeded (if you could call it that). The problem (for me) is that they've pulled all of my channel info from YT (except for a link to my site - how convientent) and have got an UkuleleVids page for me. It looks like I'm affiliated and I don't want to have anything to do with an operation like this.

EDIT: Wow! Top 50 Sites has had a huge overall jump in hits over time. I remember when the top site was getting 5000 hits. Now there are 10 sites with over 3000 hits. More people are googling 'ukulele.

bazmaz
11-06-2010, 10:07 AM
Hippie Guy - thanks - if they are not linking back to YT, then thats bad - somebody should alert YouTube, as I'm sure thats not how it should work (that said, I would have thought YT had this sort of thing covered)

bazmaz
11-06-2010, 10:10 AM
Just clicked on my channel here - http://www.ukulelevids.com/list.php?q=pauljmuk&sa.x=0&sa.y=0&filter=on

When I play one, they play on the site embedded, but I can still click through to Youtube by clicking on the screen bottom right.

I suspect that this is just fancy embedding. I embded ukulele vids I like to my blog - which I suppose is no different, though I do give credit!



The comments also seem to pull across from YouTube, but oddly, you cant add to those, and the site has created its own comment box - not happy!

UkuEroll
11-08-2010, 02:16 PM
Yikes!!! I just looked,and I'm on there too.......glad I never showed my face.

Pippin
11-09-2010, 03:34 AM
I did not look for anything that I have online, but I am not concerned with this. The vids are click-through. If this site tried to host all of these videos, storage would be huge and band-width would be a serious issue.

All my songs are copyright protected, but, I am not concerned.

knadles
11-09-2010, 05:46 AM
If I understand this correctly, this Prismotube product essentially inserts someone else's site over YouTube like a shell. The visitor sees the ads on the shell site and the shell site collects all the money, but YouTube provides all the infrastructure and does the heavy lifting.

I know YouTube/Google isn't hurting for cash, but this is at best unethical and at worst outright theft. They won't be getting any views from me. Looks like a lot of Prismotube users are complaining that Google has deindexed their sites. Boo freakin' hoo for them.

Bsteves
11-09-2010, 07:03 AM
I was hoping my first post on this site would be a video of me playing my ukulele or a question about buying a new ukulele. However, as I'm a bit of a computer geek for my day job I thought I'd chime in now on this subject.

Google and Youtube actually encourage this soft of thing. They've gone so far as to create several APIs (application programming interfaces) so that people can make sites like UkuleleVids. I'm guessing Prismotube is simply putting these APIs together in a easy to use package and selling it and I'm pretty sure Google is okay with that too.

If you interested in more about Google APIs, here's the overview page.
http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/overview.html

In the end, UkuleleVids aggregates the ukulele videos in one place which is potentially useful to someone interested in ukulele videos (I still prefer to do my own searches on youtube). People who submit videos to YouTube get more views and potentially more money from Google (if they have ads in their videos and get enough views).

Why does Google/Youtube allow this.... look around the UkuleleVids site, it is covered in ads, ads hosted by Google.

There are rules of course, but they are fairly generous, and I don't know why someone would risk deindexing by breaking them. But it sounds like it does happen.
http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/terms.html

Okay back to practicing a song on my little Makala pineapple so I can eventually upload a video for critique.

knadles
11-09-2010, 07:25 AM
Bsteves-

Thanks very much for that post. I didn't know about the YouTube API. I checked out the terms of service and this seems relevant:


You agree not to use the YouTube API for any of the following commercial uses unless You obtain YouTube's prior written approval:
[...]
the sale of advertising, sponsorships, or promotions on any page of the API Client containing YouTube audiovisual content, unless other content not obtained from YouTube appears on the same page and is of sufficient value to be the basis for such sales.

I'm not a lawyer, but if Ukulelevids has, as it appears, just lifted content from YouTube without adding "other content" of "sufficient value," they could be on shaky ground. Although if the ads are hosted by Google, I guess Google doesn't have much to complain about.

Bsteves
11-09-2010, 07:58 AM
In my mind it's functionally really not too much different than if I embedded a YouTube video within a post here on the forum. UkuleleUnderground.com will potentially get some ad revenue from users coming to the page to view the video. The "other content of sufficient value" added by UU would be our discussion of the video here on the forum. From the looks of it, UkuleleVids.com has added a local commenting and rating tools, but nobody seems to use them much.

Personally, I'm not a fan of UkuleleVids.com. I find it a bit sterile, with too much automated video gathering. I prefer hunting down videos on YouTube directly, subscribing to those people who put out good ukulele videos on a constant basis, or waiting for someone here on UU to post a link.

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 08:11 AM
I'm not a fan of it at all.

I think the point knadles is making is that the API allows people like me to put YT vids on my blog, but thats not all I do - I like to vids now and again to provide variety.

This website however is nothing but a lift from YT

It gets worse though - it doesnt even work properly - if you click the "most viewed" tab at the top, you dont just get uke vids, you are getting all sorts from YT, including, sadly, some that look pornographic.

I think its a cheap attempt to make revenue - the owner doesnt give a stuff about ukulele.

Clicking top favourites likewise doesnt seem to be showing anything uke related. So not only is the site owner trying to make a cheap buck, the site doesnt work properly

Question - when I open site it seems to be branded "Ukulele Mike". I do like his YT lessons - surely he has nothing to do with this?

janeray1940
11-09-2010, 08:18 AM
I think its a cheap attempt to make revenue - the owner doesnt give a stuff about ukulele.

Question - when I open site it seems to be branded "Ukulele Mike". I do like his YT lessons - surely he has nothing to do with this?

Two good points. I sent Ukulele Mike a link to the site and he told me it wasn't his. But - he seemed fine with what they were doing.

I suppose a hit is a hit, regardless of how the viewer gets there. So in terms of exposure, maybe it's a good thing for some people.

bazmaz
11-09-2010, 08:47 AM
Yes its exposure - but its not totally ukulele themed - the site, plainly, doesnt work. I dont want young uke fans clicking this site, clicking on "top rated" and finding inappropriate videos.

UkÚDan
11-09-2010, 12:00 PM
I tried UkeDan in google and was directed to w.videowap.tv, whcih looks vaguely similar to ukulelevids.com. None of my vids showed up, though.

ukuDaily
11-17-2010, 11:09 AM
I don't like it as it minimizes the work all us other bloggers do. I have two features on my site, ukuDaily.com. The first, which I haven't kept up with lately, is daily featured videos with an interview with the musician. I stopped doing it because it was taking about 10 hours per week to keep up and I would rather spend 10 hours playing my uke, not my keyboard.

The second feature is aggregating ukulele blog content on my site. The big difference between me and the ukevids guy is I don't display all of the article, but instead an excerpt and then provide a link back to the original author's site where the viewer can read the rest of the article. It is kind of a public service. You don't have to go visit 30 ukulele websites to see what's new. You can just go to one.

All that said, in the 8 months that my site has been operational, I think I have made $4 in ad revenue. I guess I should give the ukevids guy props for finding a way to make a few bucks on his site, but I think it is a bit unethical stealing someone else's work to do so.

dktoller
11-19-2010, 04:12 AM
UkuleleVids.com isn't anything special. The software PrismoTube $90 (http://www.alurian.com/php-video-script/) (and probably others) makes it very easy for people to set up sites like this. They are basically putting a shell on youtube content and collecting the ad revenue.

For your amusement (maybe I'm famous, eh?):
impressiveonlinereviews.com/dog-training - dktoller (http://www.impressiveonlinereviews.com/dog-training/video-poster/dktoller.html)
technologymania.it - dktoller (http://www.technologymania.it/video-poster/dktoller.html)
www.antiques.bestvideostoday.com - dktoller (http://www.antiques.bestvideostoday.com/video-theme/dktoller.html)
thekhmerpost.com - deach69 (http://thekhmerpost.com/khmer-news/watch-video/YptiV_gx5-s&feature=youtube_gdata/deach69/for-adellethegreat.html)

Most of these are poorly done and don't add any value for the viewer. Further they lack significant youtube features like subscribing, favorites, commenting, etc. It's just a money grab. I'd be very surprised if the web site owner even has a ukulele.

It's shady that they don't cite or give credit to the source material. In the end it's youtube/google who is losing money. They can try to do something about it -- or not.

I also wonder if this sham is just a fad: once users realize what's going on and find a real ukulele site they'll quit visiting such pages (right?)

hoosierhiver
11-19-2010, 04:44 AM
Wow, I' just googled myself and found that I'm on several sites like this including one called "better youtube". Bemusing!