YouTube adds “retail links” to online stores

YouTube on Tuesday added links to online stores in a move crafted to pump more money from the hot video-sharing website Google bought nearly two years ago in a 1.65 billion dollar stock deal, according to media reports Wednesday.

“They spent a ton of money on this thing and it is natural they want to make a return,” analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group in Silicon Valley said.

Google has bided its time working on ways to “monetize” YouTube without alienating notoriously transient Internet users that could easily switch to Hulu, Daily Motion or other rivals in the online video-sharing arena.

“Click-to-buy” links are being discretely placed in control panels below YouTube videos to invite people to visit online shops iTunes or Amazon.com to buy music, books, films or other material related to snippets watched.

“This is just the beginning of building a broad, viable e-commerce platform for users and partners on YouTube,” said a message on the website.

“Our vision is to help partners across all industries offer useful and relevant products to a large, yet targeted audience, and generate additional revenue from their content on YouTube beyond the advertising we serve against their videos.”

Links to online stores are making a U.S. debut on videos of EMI Music artists and of the Spore computer game recently released by Electronic Arts.

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