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Selling on YouTube? Maybe not


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If you’re looking for a potential franchise, you could probably do worse than going on the popular video site YouTube, but not much.

We tried it. Tipped by a video podcasting “expert” who noted that there are more than 8,000 videos found under the search term “franchise” on the billion-dollar, Google-owned site, we instantly thought “big story idea” and went to look for ourselves.

At first, we suspected our tipster had underestimated the number of videos—our search turned up more than 9,000 possibilities. Yet we quickly realized the vast majority had nothing to do with the type of franchises we write about in the pages of this magazine.

Instead of franchise videos for the likes of Subway or Marriott Hotels or Cactus Car Wash we got videos by “Dem Franchize Boyz.” We came across hundreds of spots on movie “franchises” like Pirates of the Caribbean or video game franchises such as Final Fantasy. We found videos of New York Knicks basketball player Steve Francis—nickname: “The Franchise”—among numerous videos of pro sports teams, which are franchises. Yet this magazine has no sports section. And most of our readers couldn’t afford that opportunity, anyway.

Nevertheless, we did manage to locate a couple of companies that used YouTube technology to post franchise opportunity videos on the Web. Most were simple—a video for venerable exercise company Jazzercise was a one-take operation by a woman using a camcorder at a company display.

Others were professionally done, including one by Texas-based RV rental company, SunShare RV. The video was initially produced so the company, which has 16 stores mostly in the South, could display DVDs in RV parks around the country in the hopes of attracting avid RVers to the franchise.

The company then decided to put the video on YouTube. Clay Weger, the 39-year-old who founded SunShare in 2000/2001 after being unable to rent an RV for his family, did not exactly come across as a YouTube-franchise evangelist. “It’s been OK,” he said. “We’ve received about a dozen inquiries.” One of those inquiries came from Alaska. None of them, however, have pulled the trigger on a sale.

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