YouTube Implements Stricter Standards on Content and Thumbnails

Posted on December 6, 2008

YouTubeYouTube recently announced some changes that includes stricter standards for mature content and methods for preventing users from gaming YouTube with false descriptions or thumbnails. The point Youtubers seem most upset with is the thumbnails.
Improved thumbnails - To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You'll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index.
Youtuber Philip DeFrance posted this in the comments. He sounds unhappy with the quality of the randomly assigned shots.
Shhhhh VP be quiet. Let YouTube keep shooting themselves in the foot. It makes them feel like they are improving the website. Why let users make sure there is a steady but related center shot, when they can provide 3 perfectly good blurry possible center shots randomly?!!
Venetian Princess was also unhappy with the changes. She posted this comment.
I understand that you are trying to avoid situations where people abuse the system and game the thumbnails, however this new process is an extreme misfortune to partners. Thumbnails help us brand our content, just like a cover to a cd or DVD. I have spoken to many other partners and all of us are very disappointed with this announcement. Many of us do vlogs or music videos, and we are more than likely going to end up with an unattractive thumbnail mid-sentence with the subject's mouth wide open, a goofy face, or motion blur that no one will want to click on. Even with three options, that is simply not enough. Video thumbnails play a key-role in whether people choose to watch our videos or not. We as partners should have the right to ensure that our thumbnail image is interesting and choose what we want to creatively represent our content, as long as it goes with the video. Many other video sharing platforms such as Revver and Vimeo offer at least 15 thumbnail options. Ifilm,, and Vimeo even offer the ability to upload our own choice of thumbnail. Perhaps you might want to think about offering this as a feature exclusively to partners, so that we can still optimize branding. Even a slider that would allow us to pick any frame from the entire video would be very beneficial. I ask you to please consider these options. The new system is a huge disappointment as far as branding goes. I'm really hoping you will hear our side on this. Thanks
Youtubers may be unhappy but YouTube users may be pleased that an image that has nothing to do with the video can no longer be used to represent the video. YouTube probably should find a happy medium here and find a way for YouTubers - who don't abuse the privilege - to select their own thumbnail if it is consistent with the video clip itself.

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