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UTube and YouTube – so close but yet so different

I heard about the troubles with UTube a few years back, but hadn’t heard anything surface since… until now.

UTube.com is the website for Universal Tube, a tube and pipe manufacturing company found in Toledo, of northern Ohio. Back in 1996 Universal Tube opened its website http://www.utube.com to the public in hopes of driving buyers through an easy online purchase process. It was a success! About 75% of their current business now goes through their website which was getting about 1,000 hits per month… prior to YouTube.com.

After the launch of YouTube.com, Universal Tube’s website popularity increased many fold. At first thinking that it was free advertising, Universal Tube did nothing… however, now, with their servers crashing under the weight of 150,000 hits daily raking up hosting costs upwards of $1,700 per month they are giving second thoughts. That’s not the end of it though.

As smart as most internet users are… cough cough …many that find UTube.com are not looking for pipes and tubes… surprise! I myself, an avid domain name checker for the common misspellings or similar words, just to see what sites there are, or to check domain availability, visited UTube.com once the video monster YouTube.com first came to popularity. And apparently users aren’t too happy to find giant green pipe making machines when looking for videos of people eating their own boogers.

Universal Tube is filing suit with Google for Time and Expense charges related to the site mishaps. Some users when finding UTube.com send nasty emails cursing and ridiculing them for not being YouTube.com… the world is full of morons.

I personally can’t see much of anything coming from this suit though. As I said in a few posts ago (Read-Only Moderation is Crucial) “According to present day, internet law, website owners are not liable for comments users make on their site”. Does this apply to other sites? I would think so. Google, being the company that it is, might decide to help out the little guy a little bit if the suit is dropped, along with a plan to help smooth the uneasy waters.

This is really an unlucky turn of events for Universal Tube.

If I were the owner of Universal Tube here is what I would do:
1.) Email all my clients telling them that we are changing our domain to a less known and less trafficked outlet
2.) Sell the domain UTube.com for tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands or even… millions) of dollars in a domain auction.

This would help the company in saving on server costs as well as putting a pretty penny in the pocket for the domain sale. I am sure Google would be willing to buy the domain for more than a few dollars. Just think of the 11 years spent at UTube.com as an investment towards the end goal of selling the domain.

Another option is to just park the domain and let it sit there raking in dollars through ads…

If only I was the one with 150,000 hits daily… what a day that would be 😀

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