Here’s One Thing That’s Wrong With The New YouTube Comments

    November 17, 2013
    Chris Crum

Google recently implemented a new commenting system on YouTube, which integrates Google+ into comments on YouTube video pages. Maybe you’ve heard about it.

Have you had any problems with the new YouTube comments? Let us know in the comments.

As you know, a lot of people haven’t taken too kindly to the change, and have voiced all sorts of complaints. Personally, I can see both positives and negatives, but it’s obvious that a lot of users (including the all important video creators) are upset.

One thing about the change that is clearly making the system less effective as a discussion platform is the way that people share content on social media in general. People are sharing links to YouTube videos on Google+ without thinking about what they’re saying being a comment on YouTube. If they are thinking about that, they’re not trying very hard.

Let me illustrate this in an example.

There’s a new Google Webmaster Help video in which Matt Cutts discusses blog comments and link spam. Cutts is the kind of guy who when he says something, a lot of people are interested. That means a lot of people are going to share this video. And they have been on Google+. They want to share it with their followers. Sometimes, they’re just saying what the video is, and sharing it.

For example, one user’s comment while sharing the video was, “Matt Cutts dishes out advice on commenting with links, and recommends using your real name in comments.”

And that’s fine for Google+. In fact, it makes tons of sense. You’re explaining the video you’re sharing, so your followers know what it’s about, and can decide whether or not they want to watch it.

As a YouTube comment on the actual video page, where people are already watching (or have already watched) the video, it doesn’t make sense.

How is a comment that is basically a description of the video a good point of discussion? As I write this, that’s the top comment (out of 66) for the video. And there are a bunch of others that essentially do the same thing.

So yeah, this is a pretty cut and dried example of the new commenting system destroying the discussion around a video. It’s basically more like trackbacks than comments.

While Google obviously wants to see more engagement on Google+, I really can’t see this particular approach having much of a positive impact. In fact, it’s causing people to hate Google+ and write songs about how much they hate it (warning: NSFW language):

On the initial video Google uploaded illustrating the new system, there over 34,000 comments as of the time of this writing. Many of them include Bob and his army. In case you haven’t seen Bob yet, he looks like this, and often has tanks, rockets, helicopters, guns, etc.

YouTube Bob

Here’s the current “top comment” for that video, by the way:

Do you think Google has some major issues with its new YouTube commenting system? Would you like to see them go back to the old style or just make improvements to the new version? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.