The First 48 Hours

October 16, 2007

So you may have noticed the recent trend of youtubers inserting title cards at the end of each video asking for ratings, favorites and comments. Everyone from WhatTheBuckShow to the vlogbrothers to that fallofautumndistro kid are doing it. But why? Why do they care so much if you think their video is worth four stars, or five?

It’s because YouTube has a few charts. One ranks the Most Discussed, while another ranks Top Favorites, another, Top Rated, and so on. The videos placed on these charts are done so by the YouTube community and their actions (rating, commenting, etc.) ((except in the unfortunate event of a cheater who creates hundreds of dummy accounts to favorite and rate his or her own videos – in which case, they should watch out for the YTwatchdog who will soon be biting them on their asses)).

Videos remain on these charts (and display their positions as “Honors” on their video page) for 48 hours after being uploaded. These first 48 hours are crucial exposure time for a new video. Unless later featured, most views and comments any given video receives happen in the first two days after being uploaded. After this time, the video falls off the charts, looses its Honors and, usually, its audience.

The only exceptions to the above are the videos which are so popular that they land on an All Time list. The All Time lists are similar to the above, only they rank Most Whatevered of, well, all time and don’t only focus on the last 48 hours.

I usually end up rating about half way through watching a video; by the center frame/thumbnail I know whether or not I’m enjoying it. I then usually wait to comment until the end, making sure I don’t miss anything. But I also only rate if I’m going to give the video five stars. A one star rating, when you don’t plan on leaving a constructive comment as to how to improve, just seems mean.

As for the recent trend of actually visually asking for ratings and comments, etc, I can only guess that we do it as a reminder.