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Jewish Journal

GodTube likes big bucks

by Brad A. Greenberg

May 14, 2008 | 4:54 pm

I’ve never used GodTube, the evangelical equivalent of YouTube, but apparently enough people have that a London hedge fund thought the company deserved a $30 million investment. The NY Times explains:

When it was formally introduced last August, GodTube was the fastest-growing Web site, as rated by comScore, attracting 1.7 million unique visitors for the month. The traffic remains about the same today. “People thirst for more than just a once-a-week relationship with the Lord and Savior,” said Jason Illian, Big Jump Media’s chief strategy officer. “They desire something that they can live out 24/7.”

Unlike its secular cousin, YouTube, GodTube is proudly filtered: all content must gain approval from the site’s headquarters in Plano, Tex. Vulgar and overtly sexual material isn’t allowed. Neither are videos promoting other religions — for that, there are JewTube.com and IslamicTube.net. (Appropriately enough, the domain name SatanTube.com is for sale.)

Mocking Christianity is definitely not allowed. James O’Malley, a 20-year-old from Leicestershire, in Britain, posted a series of videos last year that jeered at evangelical theology. During a videotaped walking tour of the Natural History Museum in London, he referred to a plesiosaur fossil as a “liar-saur” and noted that volcanoes tended to erupt in non-Christian countries.

“The first couple of videos, where I spoke about Biblical infallibility and homosexuality, remained on GodTube and were treated like any other video,” Mr. O’Malley said. “It was only when I posted a third video suggesting that the earth was flat and that astronauts were part of the ‘round earth’ conspiracy that they finally cottoned on to the fact it was a hoax, and I was banned.”

More in line with GodTube’s spirit is “Baby Got Book,” a satire of the rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot’s ode to the full-size derrière, “Baby Got Back.” In it, Dan Smith, a 34-year-old minister at a church near Cleveland, simultaneously praises godly women and pokes fun at aspects of Christian culture. He dances around with a gold neck medallion reading KJV (for King James Version) and tweaks Sir Mix-A-Lot’s lyrics so that “butt” becomes “Bible” and “she looks like a total prostitute” turns into “looks like Mother Teresa.”

The video has logged more views on GodTube than it has on YouTube. Mr. Smith says he appreciates the exposure, though he prefers promoting his music in places where he can reach nonbelievers, like call-in radio shows. “I just know there aren’t a lot of unchurched or de-churched people going to GodTube,” he said.

I just watched “Baby Got Book” while typing this, and it was worth a few good laughs. Not $30 million, but at least $5. I’m interested to see how GodTube makes money off its popularity.

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