NEW YORK YouTube has begun testing new ads that direct users to purchase items featured within individual videos played on the popular Google-owned site.
These text-link ad units -- called "Click-to-Buy Ads" -- appear just below YouTube's video player alongside the common community tabs that allow users to share and rate clips. Google has initially inked deals with iTunes and Amazon to sell various products using these links, including songs from EMI Music and the recently released Electronic Arts game Spore.
Though in the past YouTube has been able to target e-commerce advertisers' messages to specific content channels and genres, click-to-buy marks the first time the company has enabled brands to cherry pick individual videos, said Google officials, who indicated that the new offering would eventually be tested by marketers across numerous industries.
In addition, Google executives said that these ads might at some point be used to monetize user-generated content, a task that has proven difficult to date for the search giant, and the Web video industry as a whole.