2/05/08 As of yesterday YouTube has replaced its list of 'Most Viewed' videos on the site's 'Videos' section with a varied selection of sponsor-friendly videos that the site calls 'Most Popular'. Where users normally see videos with high view-counts that have become popular due to viral spreading and community activity, we now see videos like the new MacBook commercial that gets showcased on the 'Most Popular' #1 spot while having very low view-counts and even lower ratings. YouTube will no longer give massive exposure to its community's video productions and instead is now tightly controlling its Videos pages to attract more sponsors and a more mainstream audience.
The consequences are drastic, YouTube's 'Videos' front page used to give its community so much exposure that it allowed the instant birth of global grassroots movements such as Anonymous and that it was even a deciding factor in the 2008 US presidential elections as it was constantly being flooded by Obama speeches and fan videos. YouTube's decision to finally move the site into a more profitable direction is understandable, since the Google-owned company has long been struggling in this area. But it is a great loss for (what used to be) Internet celebrities, online communities and activists around the globe who found YouTube to be the only platform for such massive exposure at no cost but of their own creativity.