Google Enters Webcam Market

Stephen Yagielowicz

Ask nearly anyone involved in Internet marketing what today’s hotspots are and they will likely mention terms such as “interactive,” “live chat” and “user uploaded videos,” along with current concepts such as personalization and content monetization.

One company on the forefront of profiting from all of the above is Google.

Although some of the Helpouts are available for free, users will need to pay for many of the Helpouts — a process the company facilitates through Google Wallet integration.

A new service offering “real help from real people in real time,” Google Helpouts (helpouts.google.com) popularizes two-way educational video chat by providing live help with a variety of issues via video. Popular Helpout topic categories include Art & Music, Computers & Electronics, Cooking, Education & Careers, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, Health and Home & Garden.

“With Helpouts you can get help anytime from people with expertise across a range of topics — teachers, counselors, doctors, home repair specialists, personal trainers, hobby enthusiasts, and more,” explains a service spokesperson. “You can choose who to get help from based on qualifications, availability, ratings and reviews. Also, you can choose to get help right away or schedule a Helpout for later.”

It is not a new idea, with cam companies such as AWE serving this market for years.

Although some of the Helpouts are available for free, users will need to pay for many of the Helpouts — a process the company facilitates through Google Wallet integration.

The rendering of payment is the final ingredient in Google’s mantra of “Find Help, Get Help, Pay for Help,” and serves as a focal point for web marketers eyeing the bigger picture of what this service portends.

Consider Google’s position: as the owner of popular video sharing site YouTube, the company has access to limitless video clips presented to a diverse global audience, while also possessing robust user data. Google knows which clips are best and which are barely worth viewing if at all, as a result of its data analysis.

This includes robust figures underscoring the popularity of educational, informational and “how to” clips — including identifying those producers and publishers which stand apart from the crowd, due to superior production values, and heavy social media activity.

These clips are the precious wheat smothered by so much chaff — the sea of inferior content that is the result of an open publishing policy — but the very best of these may be worth paying for, especially when they precisely target the viewer’s desires.

The question becomes, under which business model?

It is a proposition faced by adult tube site operators as well: they attract an audience by offering endless content that is “OK” because it is free — but how many tube sites can successfully charge a membership or subscription fee based upon their current content?

Sure, some sites may have a few hidden content gems — would it be more profitable to offer just “the best of the best” as part of a premium video-on-demand (VOD) system?

What if you could get the performers in these top clips to engage in exclusive one-on-one sessions with customers on a pay per-minute basis, echoing the success of the adult live cam market? What if you could combine the best of all these features in one service?

Google Helpouts is one result of this evolution. An adult tube site that links its videos to a performer’s cam profile would be another — but the Google offer is in place today…

Website operators will be among the beneficiaries of Google Helpouts with numerous offers of HTML5 help, coding assistance, WordPress setup and operation, plus other tech oriented assistance covering all imaginable applications. Traffic building, web marketing, social media expertise and more, at your fingertips, customized to your specific needs.

As interesting and helpful as Google Helpouts are, however, it is the indicators of the company’s thinking that may be of most help to many marketers who are grappling with the problems of content devaluation and poor discovery amongst a sea of clutter all while trying to monetize the best of their assets. Maybe an exact analog won’t be found in adult but it’s certain that some forward-looking porn sites will adopt some of Google Helpouts’ strategies for community building and content monetization.

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