Some YouTube Thumbnail Data

YouTube is probably the only remaining online video site that doesn’t let you change your video thumbnail. The video thumbnail uses the frame from the exact middle of the clip and there’s no way to change the thumbnail once a video has been uploaded. This was obviously an arbitrary and expedient decision made in the very beginning of the development of the site. Why they haven’t opened things up yet is beyond me. It would mean an immediate and enormous jump in the quality of the information available on the site. Text descriptions are one thing, but a representative still from the video is worth something like 1,000 words.

Aside from making the browsing experience more informative, it would help people promote their videos better. Truth @ 15 Frames Per Second has a striking example of this. There are really only two possible thumbnails for a 15fps video. Either a still of me or a still of Jennie Tarr.


It doesn’t take a genius to figure out which videos will have more viewers. Even removing the exceptionally large numbers for the Webcam Sex video (currently at 1,106,754 views, the #97 most viewed People & Blogs video of all time) the average Jennie-thumbnailed video has 24,769 views. The average Kyle-thumbnailed video has 3,604.

Never underestimate the selling power of a picture of a pretty girl.

UPDATE!: It seems that YouTube now allows changing the thumbnail. Their help pages still claim you can’t, but I was able to select from 3 potential stills at the top of the video info page as of the morning of July 3. There is a note on the page that says it may take up to 6 hours for the selection to appear on YouTube.

This Web Stuff Starts to Pay Off

I earn most of my income helping other people make movies. It pays well and most of the time it’s exciting. But like most people, I want to have some control over what I do every day. So I’ve started a number of web-based ventures. I put all my movies online, I sell Obey Saget merchandise, and I manage a TV blog. Today I’m on the cusp of two milestones. First, I’m about to cross the $100 payment threshold for Google Adwords. The money has been accumulating in tiny increments for a little over a year, and in a few weeks I will earn enough to actually have Google transfer that money into my bank account.

Ok, that’s not a lot of money considering the amount of time it took to earn it, but it does nearly cover my actual expenses. It certainly doesn’t pay for all the work that’s gone into these things, especially TiFaux, which accounts for the bulk of the Adwords income and includes three other people writing dozens of posts every month. That sort of thing adds up, and will most likely never earn any of us any money.

Revver paid me for the first time last month, and I’ll earn enough this month to get paid again. That’s all thanks to the 1-year-later surprise success of “Truth @ 15 Frames Per Second.” My older, less web-friendly movies aren’t pulling their weight. This week Today! the Truth@15fps videos will reach 1 million combined views on YouTube, which is totally astounding, but it doesn’t earn me a dime. Granted, most of the traffic on the site comes from YouTube viewers, so it does indirectly earn me money, but it would be nice if YouTube could figure out a way to pay legitimate content creators directly.

And finally, the Obey Saget merchandise provides the most income out of all these ventures, and takes almost no time at all to maintain. It’s a lesson for the kids out there.