YouTube Red, a new subscription service, sounds a lot like the porn site RedTube.

The Name of YouTube’s New Subscription Service Sounds an Awful Lot Like a Porn Site

The Name of YouTube’s New Subscription Service Sounds an Awful Lot Like a Porn Site

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Oct. 21 2015 2:53 PM

The New Subscription Service YouTube Red Sounds an Awful Lot Like a Porn Site

YouTube promises that Red is all-ages.

Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

If your biggest complaint about YouTube is that you don’t pay enough to use it, today’s your lucky day. On Wednesday, YouTube, which already controls a massive portion of streaming video market share, announced a new ad-free subscription service. And inexplicably, its name sounds like a porn site.

As the Next Web’s Natt Garun reports, the poorly named “YouTube Red” will grant subscribers access to original content—including series from existing YouTube stars—for $9.99 a month. While Garun advises us to get our “mind[s] out of the gutter,” it’s hard to ignore the proximity of YouTube Red to RedTube, a popular porn site.


YouTube may be a victim of its own success here. Tube has become a metonymy for video streaming more generally, which allows RedTube to allude to the services they provide by merely evoking it. Red, likewise, suggests sex, thanks to its (similarly metonymic) association with red-light districts. RedTube’s name makes sense, then. YouTube Red, by contrast, seems all but arbitrary. Is it meant, perhaps, to evoke the color scheme of Netflix? Did the company somehow not know about its nomenclative twin?

I reached out to YouTube, hoping to answer these questions, but have not yet received a reply. This post will be updated if I do.

Update, 3:20 p.m.: While I still haven't heard from YouTube's PR team, Garun writes in a separate article that a YouTube executive addressed the question in a Q&A session. According to Garun, the executive claimed that the company's research indicated that "the term ‘red’ is often associated with YouTube. It has a lot of meaning in terms of love and the red carpet." When asked directly about RedTube, the executive claimed that YouTube wasn't concerned. Maybe it should be.

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