I DOUBT THERE ARE TOO MANY GEEKS that can say they have searched for and watched more travel videos than me. If I have stumbled upon any truths in my search for vids this is surely one; YouTube is a sucky place to search for travel videos and a sucky place to watch them.
Why YouTube Sucks for Travelers
‘Travel video’ is a pretty vague term. I define a travel video to mean any vid that expresses and explores a sense of place. This can be a video log or a timelapse, a documentary or a surf vid… the styles and formats of travel videos vary widely.
YouTube is filled with these place-based videos, and a growing legion of travelers dedicated to creating original content. Yet the website does a piss poor job of curating and presenting the myriad of travel-related media.
It should be noted at this point that it is far easier to actually search ‘travel’ in the search window and use the ‘Filter & Explore’ drop down to zero in on channels, tags, upload date, and view counts. My beef is that there is no dedicated ‘Travel’ category on YouTube despite the wealth of travel footage available.
Travel and Events?
To start, Travel doesn’t even get its own category. It has to share its confusing, convoluted space with Events. Events, the most inane and vague of descriptors, seems to be left for videos that fit no other category.
To get to the Travel & Events category either click Browse in the top nav bar then scroll down the categories or click on the Categories drop down. Here dwell the lesser sub-categories, in this basement of YouTube. But once you have found the Travel & Events your efforts are not rewarded.
Here’s an idea, how about just travel? There are so many videos created by travelers that you would think that it warrants its own category… but alas, no. Videos filed under Events run the gamut of Japanese talent shows, wedding ceremonies, and video game footage, making it impossible to untangle the genuine travel videos from crap that is unwatchable to 99% of the general public.
Few category choices
Currently the major categories on YouTube are limited to Videos, Music, Shows, Trailers, Live, Sports, and Education.
The lesser categories such as How to and News and Politics are banished to the shitty subcategory dumps that seem not to be monitored or curated at all. The lack of categories on YouTube leads to convoluted pages of videos that have little or no relation to one another. YouTube’s overly simplified category system does little or nothing to actually categorize anything travel related.
Because of this lack of category choices the YouTube user browsing the Travel & Events page is subject to both Middle Eastern government types talking at a podium and full length Ukrainian pop concerts. There is footage of a funeral in Greece along side a POV video of a jarring roller coaster ride. What do these things have in common? Absolutely nothing.
These are not travel videos!
I could venture to call 7 out of he 28 videos displayed on the T&E page travel videos, and that is applying a very liberal interpretation of the term. This is pathetic. If only 1/4 of the videos in T&E are actually travel vids then something needs to change. And it wasn’t like the other 21 could be described as ‘Events’ unless you take event to mean anything that happens on planet earth.
I don’t read Japanese
9 of the 28 videos displayed were in languages I could not read. Sure, I could learn Arabic and Japanese, OR Google could use its translator service to automatically make readable the video descriptions in the desired language. Seriously Google, you need to start to teach your pet YouTube some new tricks.
No love for travel video producers?
Each year there are more and more travel video producers uploading reviews, timelapses, vlogs and accounts of their travels. YouTube is the final destination for most of these travel vids and so it is the responsibility of YouTube, who makes an ass-ton of money on the content its users upload, to curate and make available the content we create.
I clicked on the Sports category and to my surprise it was devoid of nearly all of my complaints for Travel! How could this be? There was helpful subcategories and the whole layout was cooler and more intuitive. If I had the unfortunate predilection for obsessing over sports I would be very happy. It made the Travel seem even more like some second thought catch-all for useless garbage.
Creating a travel category that stands alone and would bolster a greater travel video community, creating more videos and making more money for YouTube. So what’s there to lose?
3 of the 7 ‘Popular Channels’ in the Travel & Events category are various video outlets for iJustine. This is about 3 too many, no disrespect to the cute little queen internet video self promotion, but it is simply idiotic to suggest the ijustinesiphone channel to someone browsing for travel content. If I wanted to watch tech reviews or iJustine playing with her bangs in the rear view I know where to look, and it shouldn’t be here.
What you can do?
Upload elsewhere. Vimeo called, they want you to join the party. Vimeo lives on the exact opposite side of the travel video rainbow as YouTube. There, HD travel groups are cranking gorgeous content daily, and it is easy to find! Join a group and share the love. And upload to Tripfilms to earn rewards for your vids and share them in your Matador Community blog.
Don’t sell your vid short by limiting yourself to YouTube.