So why did YTMND begin a slow death in 2006?
A number of reasons. One was unoriginal content. YTMND users were just straight ripping crap from other sites, movies, and TV shows. That’s okay, but it’s much more viewable on YouTube, which could capture the same video and audio quality. There’s no point to viewing that stuff compressed to hell and with nothing added.
Furthermore, bad YTMND users drowned out the good ones. Bad users formed voting blocs and downvoted sites from users they didn’t like, regardless of site content. This was bad, but much, much worse than that was just that bad users flooded the site with crap content. Users self-moderated, of course, but it’s difficult to try to pick out the gems from a torrential downpour of diarrhea.
Not trying to overinflate my ego, but I imagine other content consumers followed the same path as me. In college I would have a lot of free time, so I would just monitor the “recently created” and vote on sites. I’d give good sites a 4 or 5 so that they would rise to the “up and coming”, where they would be voted on by more users. The highest rated of these would then go to “top rated this week”, the cream of the crop. Max’s favorites would then be moved to the Hall of Fame.
Over time I stopped visiting the “recently created”, because there was just too much crap. I only check out “up and coming”. Then there was too much crap there, so I only looked at the “top rated this week”. You know what happened next for me.
I imagine the big content creators had a similar fate. They would spend a long time creating a site, post it, it would gain in popularity, and they would bask in the Internet fame. As time passed, however, they would post a site and would have a different result. It would maybe get downvoted, maybe get upvoted, but it was increasingly being ignored. Good site were now being lost in the shuffle. As content creators were ignored, they left the site, and it began to die.
Also, I think the site was way too much for one man to maintain. Max had his hands full and was not able to satisfy his users’ requests for features. As they saw their pleas continually ignored, even more users began leaving the site.
And it was hard for Max to monetize the site. With all content user-created, it was difficult to get advertisers to get on board. YouTube figured it out by becoming ubiquitous, but it was much harder for YTMND. The best example is the following YTMND:
This site has over 9 million views. Pretty significant for YouTube and absolutely massive for YTMND. But this site was a huge money loser for Max and YTMND. With so many users using bandwidth to view the site and no advertising revenue to make up for it, Max was deep in the hole. Also, this site is terrible. There is no original content, just the comedian Tom Mabe’s stolen material.
I went to YTMND today and the 1, 2, and 3 in the “top viewed today” sites are all from 2005 or 2006. Furthermore, these all have barely over a 1,000 views for today. In the height of the site’s popularity, all of the top viewed were well into the thousands of viewing for that day.
Nowadays, YTMND lives on barely. There is also a YTMNDtv channel on YouTube. Many of the YTMNDS on YTMNDtv have way more views than they ever had on the YTMND site itself, due to YouTube’s popularity.
There are a lot of videos on YouTube that continue on in the same vein of humor as YTMND. I am partial to videos by Jimbomcb that use Team Fortress 2 as a canvas. Some of my favorites:
Still, it’s sad to see a piece of Internet history fade away. I’m reminded of this article on the Washington Post:
The most pertinent quote:
“YTMND is more than just an excellent work time-waster. It's the perfect manifestation of how the Internet enables artists -- and would-be artists -- to express themselves in ways not previously available.”
That spirit lives on in an area of YouTube, but I kinda liked having it in all in one place.
Here are some more of my favorite YTMNDs.