Following Netflix, YouTube launches alerts for sluggish ISPs

Working to message the general public at a time when the FCC is crafting new net neutrality rules, YouTube has stolen a page from the Netflix playbook, launching a campaign that encourages users experiencing sluggish streaming performance to blame their ISP.

First reported on by Quartz, YouTube is sending onscreen message to the buffering screens of frustrated users, "Experiencing interruptions?" reads a blue bar appearing below the video. Right next to it: a link reading "Find out why," which directs users to YouTube's Video Quality Report. The report ranks the speeds of the various Internet service providers.

The move comes one month after Netflix tried a similar, more overt tactic, sending messages to buffering screens that directly tied poor streaming performance to the user's specific ISP. That campaign drew legal threats from Verizon, which called it deliberately misleading.

Netflix ended the campaign several weeks after it was begun, calling it merely a test. It could, however, be argued that Netflix's goals were met, as the inner workings of its interconnection deal with Verizon--an agreement Netflix reluctantly agreed to--were widely reported on.

For more:
- read this Quartz story
- read this Re/code story

Related links:
Verizon calls Netflix customer ISP messages 'misleading PR stunt'
Responding to Netflix PR stunts 101: Don't get into a fight you can't win
Verizon ramps up Netflix tiff with cease and desist letter