"It's a great deal for Google in that they now have the power of a network that can act promotionally, which is something they lacked," said Ian Schafer, chief executive of Deep Focus, an ad agency that has promoted movies on YouTube. "No one is able to monetize traffic like Google has."
But Li, the Forrester analyst, said Google needed to tread carefully and not try to turn the site into a moneymaker by filling it with ads. Google has always shown restraint with its highly targeted search ads, she said.
Although some of the copyrighted material makes some advertisers nervous, they're intrigued by the enthusiasm of YouTube's members. Advertisers are uploading their own videos so YouTubers can share and respond to what essentially are commercials. The company in August began letting advertisers create "channels" filled with clips they produce themselves, and then in turn sell sponsorships to other advertisers. For example, Fox Broadcasting's "Prison Break" TV series sponsored a channel devoted to Paris Hilton's new album.
But like other popular videos, the ads have become fodder for community satire.
Lisa Nova, a budding filmmaker from Hollywood who edits film and does "corporate annoying stuff [that] isn't fun," posts her sketch comedy on YouTube in her spare time. She's parodied videos from Diddy and LonelyGirl15.