I occasionally get asked questions by Pirate site operators… which sounds cooler than it is. Normally, the questions involve a lot of four letter words, inquiries about my intelligence and/or paternity and a great deal of confusion about “where the hell I get off”.
However, in this hailstorm of affection, the occasional valid one comes through. This week’s winner was from a site that specializes in gathering tube site videos, music and other files into one location and then linking off to them. The argument focused around the fact that the site isn’t bad because it “doesn’t host any files” , “is just linking to other free links that are already available” and “some people like the extra traffic”.
Compelling, but let me point out a few issues:
STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. Aggregators don’t just pull from “good” sites. They pull from anything they can find – Torrent, Tube or Thumbnail. So while they may be doing you the courtesy of re-posting your cool YouTube video promoting your product, that video may be listed with a mess of free pirate sources.
OH MY BRAND. We like certain promotional channels because they offer exposure and consistency. As companies and creators we partner with these channels because they will respect our brand and we know them and what they do. You agree to post your stuff on Twitter, Facebook for YouTube for example because they aren’t going to overlay your product video with something that is totally against your product’s standing and potentially detrimental. You agree to their rules and their terms and conditions and they are expected to enforce them. They are controlled environments Aggregators offer no such assurance. Your video, mp3, or image can and will appear on their site, next to whatever advertisement they decide will fulfill their monthly quota… be it porn, spyware, scam or competitor.
DOWNLOAD. Many aggregators, particularly YouTube Converters, offer the ability to download the video or song. Occasionally artists ask me “How did this many copies of my song get out there?” Well, one part of the answer is that you posted it on YouTube and these helpful site owners made it available to anyone who can click “download”.
All of which leads to my biggest point: THIS AIN’T VIRAL. You posted your video on YouTube because you wanted people to see it and learn about your work, maybe share it on their Facebook page and Tweet it to their feed. All of these channels swarm with new potential viewers, buyers and fans. They are the viral epicenters. Being included on an obscure site that is only looking to sell advertising is not going to increase your bottom line or your fan base. These sites are in it for one reason only, to make money selling advertising, and if they can use your product and keywords to increase their traffic they are more than happy to do it.