YouTube, Chad Hurley, Steven Chen, look what you've wrought. The YouTube founders launched their video site thinking eBay sellers would use it to spice up auctions, or geeks would use it to improve their dating chances. They surely never thought that their video site, now owned by Google, would spawn Silicon Valley's newest entry-level job: YouTube watcher. The gig is just as depressing as it sounds.
Big media companies like Viacom, constrained by the limits of copyright law and Google's recalcitrance, are forced to pay companies like Los Gatos-based BayTSP, which specializes in snooping file sharers and protecting copyrights, to slog through YouTube's bloated index searching for infringements. That makes for a solid eight-hour day for BayTSP's "video analysts." Contracts prevent employees from discussing their tedium with friends and family, but they were allowed to open up to a Wall Street Journal reporter in the clip above.
And after all the eyestrain, when enough videos have been flagged — like the 100,000 clips cited in Viacom's Google lawsuit — what reward do employees get? New office furniture. Hooray! Indeed, the job is so ennui-inducing that WSJ reporter Kevin Delaney can't even bring himself to emote once during his office tour.