The new YouTube Red subscription service, where you pay $US9.99-plus a month for original ad-free streaming videos, has a porn problem — namely, its name is definitely evocative of well-known porn site RedTube.
So much so that even Mark Mahaney, considered the top Internet analyst, titled a note to investors about the new service with a joke about it: “YouTube Red (No, Not Red Tube).”
(For the record, Mahaney thinks it’s a good thing, but unlikely to make a lot of money in the short term.)
The similarities in the names (and in their respective URLs) could cause a lot of consumer confusion and awkward web surfing experiences.
Mahaney wasn’t the only one who noticed the similarity:
I can imagine someone being caught on RedTube and be like “oh man I meant to type in YouTube Red. Whoops”
— Molly (@Foxtrot44) October 21, 2015
When I heard “YouTube Red,” I made the mental association with “RedTube,” and I realised Google has (yet again) not thought this through.
— Nash (@Nash076) October 21, 2015
The name “RedTube” itself is already uncomfortably close to “YouTube.” The addition of “Red” definitely brings the association home.
But, so far, YouTube’s parent company Google has not made any kind of public action against RedTube for the name. And while RedTube got to the whole “Red” aesthetic first, it was founded in 2007 — two years after YouTube.
Maybe YouTube’s expansion into Red territory will be the impetus for the search advertising giant to start a legal, trademark battle.