YouTube giveth and sometimes YouTube taketh away.
That lesson is being driven home again this morning to a boatload of bloggers and mainstream journalists - including this one -- who couldn't resist posting a YouTube clip of a funny commercial for a Long Island newspaper's iPad application. On many blogs and news sites today, hitting the play button on that 30-second clip produces nothing but an unsatisfying message: "This video has been removed by the user."
The video -- which I won't describe in case you haven't seen it -- had produced some 600,000 views between last Friday and early Monday morning ... and by that point it was clear that the viral momentum behind it was building up to an Internet must-see.
However, someone for some reason pulled the plug on the YouTube version that was being posted most widely. I learned of this from a Buzzblog reader who left a comment on my post that helpfully linked to another version on YouTube, which I used to replace the deactivated one (you can go watch it now here if you haven't already).
As for others whose posts are now showing nothing but blanks:
PoynterOnline, a site for journalists that on Monday had trumpeted " Newsday ad for iPad app goes viral," isn't spreading anything as I type.
ShootOnline has the commercial's back story for its audience of advertising types, but not a working version of the actual commercial.
The New York Observer? Can't see it.
So what happened? Who knows. Trying to ascertain the fate of a video removed from YouTube is an exercise in chasing ghosts.
Maybe whoever posted the viral version got tired of the attention, or a letter from a lawyer.
Maybe Newsday got possessive ... although why they'd do that is beyond me.
Maybe someone at Apple decided that all the laughter generated by an abused iPad wasn't helpful.
Or maybe Steve was not amused.
(Update: Statement from Newsday and additional speculation here.)