Placing bets on the outcome of certain events long ago left the cozy confines of the sports world and took up residence in the world of the weird, wild, and wacky. This is especially true in Britain, where wagers can be placed on everything from “who will be the next Pope” to “how many years until we’re struck by a massive asteroid”.
Betting is about to get just a little bit wilder as BetTube was launched on Friday; and if the Tube doesn’t give it away, BetTube is devoted to betting on YouTube, namely on the potential popularity of videos.
Players can choose any video that falls to wager on, though the primary objective will be to find new videos with low view counts that could prove popular within the next 24 hours. Players and their video choices will be randomly matched up against four other players who can also choose which video they’re going to back. The goal of the wagerers is to pick the video that will increase its view count by the greatest percentage of views within the next 24 hours, as opposed to the actual amount of views. Thus videos with much lower view counts have a higher probability of drastically increasing the percentage of times they’ve been viewed.
BetTube is currently only accepting play money wagers, but there are plans to implement real money betting in the future, once the system has been analyzed, and any necessary tweaks are made to the format.
A major concern however will be to ensure the system won’t be gamed once it moves into the real-money betting phase, and that the site doesn’t devolve into a bunch of social media powerhouses simply flexing their marketing muscles to promote videos and get views, while the average bettor is left at a great disadvantage. Any time the bettors can directly influence the outcome of their bets should be cause for some concern.
If nothing else it will be an interesting experiment and a possible precursor to future betting possibilities involving the internet. However its success and longevity may prove as fleeting as the many viral videos it will take wagers on; in the limelight one minute, forgotten the next.