Media

A new frontier for gambling: betting on viral videos

Above:

Image Credit: BetTube
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Think you can predict when a video is going to go viral? BetTube will let you “gamble” on which ones are going to take off.

The Munich-based company opened its beta publicly today, which means you can go test the product out and figure out if it’s as addictive as it seems.

BetTube, a play on YouTube, let’s you watch videos from the Google-owned site and place bets if you think the video is going to be a particularly popular one. But don’t get too excited about bringing in the big bucks for your insane knowledge of what the Internet loves — you can’t bet real dollars just yet.

“I am working hard to be able to offer real money gambling,” said founder Clemens Ley in an email to VentureBeat. ” I have gotten some legal advice and I think that there is a chance that I will succeed.”

For right now, players will sign up and get free money, which cannot be converted into real money or prizes.

Despite the obvious lack of risk involved at this point, BetTable represents an interesting influence of Internet culture on the gambling world. While there have been some technological advances in the machines used for gambling, Ley is unimpressed with progression of gambling in the twenty-first century.

“I think that there is a lack of innovation in the gambling industry. Most providers only offer sports bets and casino games,” said Ley. “Our aim is to channel the energy that people put into gambling into something productive. In the case of BetTube we provide a fun game that produces a prediction for the newest viral videos.”

There’s a hint on a future business strategy in that last sentence. If BetTube starts predicting with enough accuracy the likelihood of whether a video will go viral, it could sell that to advertisers easily.

The company is going to run into trouble if the true gambling element of BetTube isn’t installed, however. Without the risk, the site is little more than a place to come and vote on a video — and without incentive, it’s hard to get people in the door.

“We are working on games similar to BetTube that can be played for real money,” said Ley. “This is legally very challenging, so I cannot say for sure when and where we will be able to provide these games.”

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