YouTube's Unlisted Videos: Private Videos With No Audience Size Limits

YouTube is really on a roll lately.  The player page redesign, the makeover on the player itself, and now Unlisted Videos.  What are Unlisted Videos?  Well, they're private videos… in a sense.

Previously, YouTube users could only allow up to 25 other people to see a video uploaded as "private.”  There are many, many situations in which that number becomes inconvenient or downright annoying.  Case in point:  Melinda, a teacher profiled in YouTube's blog announcement regarding Unlisted Videos.  Melinda wanted to share a video of a school project with the students of the school and their parents.  That would amount to far more viewers than YouTube's privacy settings allowed.

It's an interesting side note to this awesome new feature that Melinda actually contacted YouTube about her dilemma, and that's what prompted them to create Unlisted Videos.  You have to love the move by the teacher to try and do something about it, as well as YouTube's classy reaction.  The service is already live, but here's a look at a screenshot YouTube shared:

YouTubes Unlisted Videos: Private Videos With No Audience Size Limits

Unlisted Videos is a way to get a private URL for your video.  It won't be in YouTube's search results and it will not appear on the site for people who are just browsing .  Essentially it's hidden.  Then, as the video uploader, you are free to share that link with whomever you please.  And it will function and look  just like a normal YouTube video… only people won't be stumbling on to it without having first received the link.

The glaring and obvious asterisk is that anyone you share a link with can share that link with someone else if they choose.  They can publish it on their blog or Facebook wall.

This is not a password-protected video or one with added security features.  So, in other words, this is not a tool that you should use to upload naughty videos.  Or videos of you and your friends committing a crime.  This is not intended for use with private shareholder information or trade secrets.  If you want a video to truly remain private, this is not the service for you.

That being said, this is a service that is going to be huge.  Here are just a few of the groups that will become the core users of this thing:

  1. Businesses.  Share ideas, mock-ups, training materials, and presentations with a coworker or client without worrying about it becoming widely public.
  2. Families.  Spotlight-wary parents can now upload videos of their adorable toddler doing something hilarious without the fear of them becoming the next David After Dentist.
  3. Schools.  As in the sample scenario YouTube mentioned, teachers and administrators can now share important or entertaining videos with students and families without creating an argument at the next PTA meeting.  I'm guessing colleges and universities will find all sorts of creative applications for this service.
  4. Shy People.  There are all kinds of singers, musicians, speakers, and other talented people in this world who are also surprisingly shy about performing in public, typically preferring to share their gift with only close friends and family.   Those people will be much more likely to upload a video for private viewing now that they can be relatively certain they won't become unfairly famous overnight.
  5. Churches.  Churches will be all over this thing, using Unlisted Videos for everything from sermons to youth group videos, from children's musicals to prayer requests.

I think this is a lot more important a service than YouTube's casual announcement indicates.  It's going to drive new users to YouTube, and get current users even more involved with the freedom that this kind of thing affords.  Simple, obvious, and powerful.

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About the Author -
Jeremy Scott is the founder of The Viral Orchard, an Internet marketing firm offering content writing and development services, viral marketing consulting, and SEO services. Jeremy writes constantly, loves online video, and enjoys helping small businesses succeed in any way he can. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • http://timschmoyer.com/ Tim Schmoyer

    Personally, I will still continue to make our church and youth group videos publicly listed because I like that it spreads the word about we're doing, especially when I tag and title the video with our hometown and state.

  • Phillip

    This is HUGE! Until now, I've been uploading client videos to a dummy account and setting videos to private. Clients then would log-on with the account information and review videos. This change will make it easier for clients to access the video and pass it around internally without needing log-in information. Way to go, YouTube!

  • http://vismomedia.com/blog/ Michael Bayer

    I love the new feature because now I can send videos to clients easier. We produce videos for businesses and before we had to send the video in a file with a video player. Now we can just upload it to YouTube and mark it as unlisted and send it to the client.

  • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

    ("...really on a roll lately") YouTube keeps the Roll goin'... Try this. As of today (just noticed this AM) try a search for a video inside YouTube. Then mouse over the video title in the results list and POW... something new pops up. All kinds of Info on the video. Yeah, that's cool! Wooooof!

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      cool... I didnt notice that... thanks for pointing that out.

      • http://www.VideoLeadsOnline.com/ Ronnie Bincer

        Something else new I noticed... Used to be when you uploaded a video to YouTube & made it "public" you could see it right away ONLY if you watched it in your "my videos" area or went to your channel to view it. You were not able to get it to show up in the YouTube Search Results for many hours.

        Now (at least the last few days), I've noticed that once I turn a video loose on the public (mark the sharing option as "Public"), it shows up right away! That means people can now find your video that you uploaded instantly! It used to take up to a day or so for them to show up in YouTube search results. Not now. How's that for speeding up response time?

        • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

          instantly? that is very cool. I had not noticed that... thanks dawg

  • SocialVideoGuy

    This is awesome! Being that I am a video creator this will be perfect for my new clients that have never been on Youtube before! Now I can show them there video with a Youtube look and they can approve it from that! Cool!

  • Guest

    This is awesome! Being that I am a video creator this will be perfect for my new clients that have never been on Youtube before! Now I can show them there video with a Youtube look and they can approve it from that! Cool!

  • Guest

    This is awesome! Being that I am a video creator this will be perfect for my new clients that have never been on Youtube before! Now I can show them there video with a Youtube look and they can approve it from that! Cool!

    • Guest

      oops I didnt mean to post the same thing! I was trying to delete and write something else

  • http://www.bedrebusiness.dk Bjørn Johansen

    Hi there,

    That was good news. For some reason I do not get the unlisted option when I upload. Do you know if the feature has been launched worldwide or only in the States?

  • Abraham

    Now I can control the Google results for certain terms without competing with Youtube for the top search result. Just make the video unlisted and post on my blog. This is going to come in handy.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      exactly - great point Abraham. Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000451193276 Liang Guse

    http://golearnweb.com/web-design-blog/wordpress-tags-nofollow.html