Guide for submitting online videos

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Since last June, videos distributed on YouTube have been able to be listed in IMDb. Previously, there were more rigorous standards for inclusion of online videos, but those standards have been dropped. (The former standards allowed online videos in if they had received significant national-level mainstream media coverage, had someone really famous in the cast or crew, or were official spinoffs of a mainstream theatrical or television title -- there may have been other criteria but I can't remember them now.)

The main discussion of YouTube videos being allowed into the database can be found in the thread at As staffer Thomas Porter wrote: 

We are not interested in video clips, random camera phone footage, or many of the other bits and pieces that help bump up that 72 hours of footage [added to YouTube every minute]. We are still only interested in complete bodies of work ... and that is what I meant by a ‘considerable amount of work going into making it’. 
I believe that we could also use a guide to submitting online videos as part of the FAQ. In particular, the guide should address the following issues:

1. What title type should be used? Web series are normally treated by IMDb as if they were television series in the title format "Series Title" (2014). By that logic, should single online videos not part of a series be listed as TV movies: Single Program (2014) (TV)? I don't think they are typically listed that way, but it's not clear how they should be listed.

2. What kind of Miscellaneous Links are needed for an online video? While I would prefer if online videos were required to provide a Miscellaneous Link other than a link to the video itself on, if that's all that is needed then the guide should say so.

3. What is considered a "complete body of work"? I realize that there likely needs to be some flexibility in defining it, so I would expect the guide to use words like "usually" and "generally" in this context. Would it be accurate to say that having on-screen titles and credits is a major factor in determining whether an online video qualifies for listing in IMDb?

In addition, there is still a page at which says that the eligibility rules for online titles can be found at However, has been removed and clicking on that link produces a 404 Error.
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gromit82, Champion

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Posted 6 years ago

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bob the moo

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This is a great thread – thank you for creating it and the links it includes.

Just to prevent it being lost in the ramble on the subject, can I ask the question now as to why do STAFF not allow users to contribute a draft of policy statements? I do not mean the whole world, but those users that would be considered "reliable"....I mean they already designate users here Champs (which means respected, trusted and appointed by the company) so why not make more of that trust and respect?

Drafts of pages that badly need reviewing but understandably are down the priority list, could be drafted – not to be official because users said so, but rather just to cut out the donkey work at the start – put something under their nose that is 80% done and probably 70-80% what IMDb would have written themselves.

Okay, personal agendas/opinions will be in there too, but that is why it gets handed to staff to least saving them 80% of the effort – and the online eligibility policy is a perfect example of this.


Anyway, back on subject:

I would say that the Contributor's Help board thread unsurprisingly contains an element of snootiness associated with this – contrasting online titles with "real" films in a way that is okay if you focus on one example of an iPhone clip, but it betrays a wider opinion.

I watch and add/add to a lot of short films to IMDb, short films that are often never subject to a festival run but have been made for Vimeo or YouTube as their platform to allow distribution through blogs, fan-sites and so on. I totally agree that IMDb should not accept titles which are people mucking about on their phones, but anyone who thinks that opening the database to allow the inclusion of online platforms is a terrible idea simply does not understand the volume of awesome short films being made with websites and general online distribution being the model.

The previous IMDb guidance has some good aspects, but for some reason includes unreasonable expectations – "staggering" number of views, "significant" media coverage, a "very" or "extremely" well known person is the cast or crew. There does need to be a definition of public interest, and I agree that "being publicly available" is not the same as "being of public interest". But "number of views" is not a guide either – a clip of a panda sneezing will understandably get millions of views, but a short film of 8 minutes and a crew of 40 students from CalArts will not simply because it is not as easy a watch and less frequently shared.

I think we all agree though that IMDb need to create a policy on this – and it must be a policy that stops the "LOL look at dis fail" clips put on YouTube by the second, but allows actual short films to be included.

note: I am not an IMDb employee, nor in any way affiliated with IMDb
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LuvsToResearch, Champion

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There was a time, bobthemoo, when such contributer involvement was allowed., indeed, solicited. We drafted, collaborated, and submitted via the Contributor's Help Board. We offered up changes to Guidelines which were accepted and implemented.

We also collaborated in coming up with new Genres (five) complete with descriptions and examples. All of this was done with input and guidance from staff. However, we have recently been told by current staff that the staff member who collaborated and told us that the Genres would be implemented should not have told us that. So, no new Genres.

I suspect there were changes made behind the curtain , unbeknownst to the Contributors involved, and "poof" no more collaborative changes. Some of the Contributors were, and still are, a tad miffed about all the time and effort put in for naught. But, such is life.

Your suggestions have merit, and would certainly help in the contribution, editing and assistance to others processes. So, I will add my "me too!" In hopes that senior staff will agrees and once again pursue Contributor assistance on the Guidelines.
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Will, Official Rep

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Hello everyone,

Thanks for all of your comments and apologies for the delay in updating the submissions guides to reflect the changes of policy. We do care about the views of our top contributors and appreciate your involvement. Gromit82, as you can see your draft has made the basis for the online video title eligibility section, thank you.

As you are all aware we are limited by the title types so we have documented the required formats for the different types of content until a time when we can display the information in a better way.

We have made the amendments to the guides which can be found by following these links -

Thanks again.