What Happened to Tags on YouTube?

What Happened to Tags on YouTube?You may have noticed that tags are no longer visible on a YouTube video’s watch page — you know, the sometimes endless stream of words underneath the video itself. One reason for this is that actual viewers never really used them. Did you ever click on any of those tags to find different videos, or discover new ones? The other reason is that many abused the system to drive more traffic to their own videos.

In Google Groups, you can find countless complaints by users about some of their fellow YouTube partners. Certain individuals were abusing the tags and giving their videos misleading titles just to make more profit through ads, yet the content presented was hardly anything valuable. Unfortunately, there are thousands of these duplicate trash content videos. Now, tags are private and invisible on the watch page of any video on YouTube. Yet, on the back end side of things, they’re still very important for appropriately categorizing videos.

So, from now on, only those who upload can write and view tags for a video. On the Google+ page of YouTube Creators, it says: “Please keep providing tags when you upload, though — they’re important tools to help promote and connect your videos.” Making tags private is a long overdue decision.

For this reason, our own Chris Pirillo believes in the importance of quality over quantity. One shouldn’t try to exploit a system, looking for loopholes, instead of making an effort to attract a legitimate audience with quality content. Attention is far more valuable a metric, by far — and that cannot be gamed.

When was the last time you ever saw (or clicked on) a YouTube tag?

Image: Google YouTube Logo

Article Written by

He's a writer and photographer living in Sweden. Technology, philosophy, and films are some of his other interests. In 2008, Maximilian completed a BA in creative writing in London. So, being a writer has been important to him for a long time -- although he prefers to be called a "storyteller."