YouTube Trickery

Who among us hasn’t occasionally embedded a YouTube video into a blog, LMS, or other resource? And while YouTube’s “related videos” feature is an outstanding way to find even more videos of cute boxer dogs, occasionally Google’s sense of “related” can lead you to some awkward places. For example, perhaps you’re kicking off class discussion with a short film clip, or an interview, or even Ricky Gervais discussing the finer points of literary theory, and at the end of the clip YouTube offers some patently inappropriate related videos. Naturally, everyone wants to watch *that.* (I’ve also had situations where shy students embedded YouTube clips into presentations, and then were mortified at the “related videos” suggestions at the end.)

Yesterday, as part of a post on The Six Best YouTube URL Tricks,” Eric Ravenscraft reminded us about how easy it is to disable related videos when embedding YouTube clips. (It won’t work for direct links, unfortunately.) The key is to make sure the following string is appended to the end of the URL: ?rel=0

This is easy to do when copying the embed code from a URL page. If I wanted to embed the video of the boxer above, I would click the “Share” link, and then “Embed”:

As you see, the “Show suggested videos” box is ticked, and there’s not a marker in the URL to suppress related videos. So, at the end of the video, YouTube will make some suggestions:

Clearing the “Show suggested videos” box will add the URL marker:

So, this time, related videos shouldn’t be shown:

Unfortunately, you can’t add ?rel=0 to a regular YouTube link–or, rather, you could, but YouTube will truncate it automatically. This is only available for embedded videos. Within that limitation, it is a good way to make sure that you have as much control as possible over what turns up on screen during your presentation or class.

It’s worth checking out the entire post at LifeHacker for a few more YouTube hints. Do you have a favorite YouTube workaround? Let us know in comments!

Photo of Ajax in the front seat after the vet is by me. / Creative Commons licensed BY-2.0

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