Thursday, May 13, 2010

More Choice for Users: Unlisted Videos

(cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

Melinda teaches high school in the Bay Area and recently reached out to us with a problem. Her students just finished a video history project that she wanted to share with their parents and classmates. But she was concerned about posting the videos publicly because she didn't want the whole world to find them (frankly, neither did her students). Melinda told us YouTube's private sharing options -- a 25-person cap that's limited to other YouTube users -- didn't work for her. She needed a better option to privately share her students' talent.

Later today, we'll be rolling out a new choice that will help Melinda and other people like her: unlisted videos.
[Update: Unlisted videos are now available.]

With this feature, you can mark your videos as "unlisted." This means only people who have the link to the video will be able to watch it. It won't appear in any of YouTube's public pages, in search results, on your personal channel or on the browse page. It's a private video, except you don't need a YouTube account to watch it and there is no limit to the number of people who can view it. You'll get a link when you upload the video and then it's up to you to decide who to share it with. Unlisted is the perfect option for that class project, video from last summer's family reunion or your secret Broadway audition tape.

Just remember, the video can be viewed by anyone with the link, so only give it to people you trust! For more information, check out our Help Center page.


Ian M. said...

As useful as this will be for Melinda and others like her I foresee a wave of amateur porn and sex video leaks all with "secret" unlisted YouTube links.

Not that this will bother me as I won't be hosting all those files, and I won't have to see anything I don't want to see.

JarrettLoaiza087481 said...


Aza said...

@Ian_M., is that really an issue? There's already plenty of porn, spam and other material that makes it onto YouTube every hour as it stands. The flagging system allows users to bring the stuff to YouTube attention for removal, and a high percentage of it does get removed, I suspect.

I suspect the cost of extra bandwidth and storage is far less than the cost of a more effective approach to attempted prevention?

If people combine porn uploads with spamming Unlisted video links, I'd expect a similar end result... at least some of those getting the spam are likely to flag these videos as well. Time will tell, though.

I've been hoping for some usable semi-private feature like this for a long time. I don't want to be harsh, but the existing privacy options have been largely useless, at least to me, since most of my RL friends and relatives are unlikely to create a YouTube channel, just to watch my private videos.

Also, my understanding from other users is that any account without a perfect record is currently unable to use this feature, so those that try to spam using this, are likely to find that they'll lose the feature for any channels where they try it.

Your point does actually suggest to me one credible reason why that that move may have been made... it's something more than a few users are not too happy about, now that the feature exists, especially if they don't have access to it due to some long-ago single strike against their account.

Ian M. said...

@Aza, your probably right that it won't make that much difference to the spam situation.

Needing a perfect record will prevent casual spammers and people who have made a mistake, but have a real investment in their current channel from posting Unlisted Videos.

However, many spammers will just make a new account if there current account gets banned. So I have doubts that even a one strike policy will really cut back on spam links.