YouTube’s new revenue model: affiliate links?

YouTube has announced Click-to-Buy on YouTube, a new service that allows users to buy songs or related content they hear or see in YouTube clips.

Click-to-buy links are placed on the viewing page beneath the video with the other community features. YouTube is starting with links to iTunes and on videos from companies including EMI Music, and providing product links for Spore on videos from Electronic Arts.

In an interesting twist, these links will be available on non-official content as well. For example, a user generated clip that features a song without permission will eventually include a link to buy that content on the same page. YouTube is pitching this as an alternative to removing content from the site, so instead record companies or relevant parties actually profit from any such content. There will also be opportunities for content providers to generate income on top of the advertising some already share with YouTube.

Initially the links are only available to users in the United States, with international YouTube sites to follow.

The model makes sense in terms of relevancy, but the angle is interesting, because it’s a traditional affiliate model, and it looks like Google hasn’t done any exclusive access deals here either. At a time where Google is still struggling with making money from YouTube, this may actually deliver the boost in revenue the site needs.

(img source credit: Mashable)