Rescuing lost videos from YouTube

I have some old videos that I posted to YouTube years ago. I no longer have the original files on my computer, but is it possible to get copies from YouTube itself?

While YouTube frowns upon downloading other people's video clips and does not provide its own built-in tools to do so, you can get copies of the videos you have uploaded from your own YouTube account. That is, of course, if the videos are still posted on the YouTube site and have not been removed.

Start by logging into your YouTube account. Once you have signed in, click on your YouTube user name in the top right corner of the browser window. In the menu that appears, choose Video Manager. On the left side of the Video Manager screen, click Uploads and select a clip to download. On the Edit button next to the thumbnail, click the arrow and choose Download MP4 from the menu.

YouTube allows you to download up to two of your videos an hour, so it may take some time to get copies of everything if you have uploaded a lot of clips over the years. The site has other restrictions for downloading videos from your account: You may not be able to download clips you had posted if those videos use copyrighted content or other restricted material.

By AZADEH ENSHA

Personal websites have been around a long time. But now, Internet users have a dizzying array of free, feature-rich services to choose from — no coding skills required.

Still, Brian Blau, a research director at the technology research firm Gartner, said the free model has drawbacks. "The free is always the hook. What they'll sell later is shopping carts and all these other add-on services.''

Still, for Web users seeking to promote their work or business on a small budget, these sites are useful. Below is a roundup of some free platforms.

QUESTIONS WORTH ASKING Having a wealth of services to choose from is both good and bad. Simply because a company offers 300 fonts doesn't mean you need anywhere near that. So before you get started, ask yourself three questions: What am I looking to get out of the site? What features must I have? And which ones can I live without? Figuring out these answers before settling on a service can help you avoid potential pitfalls down the line.

GENERAL-PURPOSE WEBSITES

When it comes to creating personal sites, the formerly AOL-owned About.me is a great first option. About.me offers social media buttons, a mobile application and a simple signup. But if one of your must-haves is themes, look elsewhere. About.me doesn't have them, relying instead on existing About sites (showcased under directories) to help inspire other users.

Weebly is a better alternative if you want themes. The company offers more than 100 of them. A large majority of its services, including domain name transfers, are free.

If your top priority is social networking, consider Flavors.me. The site aggregates and posts photographs, blog posts, status and other updates from more than 30 services, including SoundCloud, Instagram and Tumblr. Like Flavors, DooID is big on social network integration. The site places your profiles on a single landing page, along with a vCard button on the Web version so others can download and import your contact data.

If customer service support is high on your list, Wix is a great option. The company's contact form offers support in nine languages. Additionally, Wix has a call center in San Francisco with more than 70 agents to field questions from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern time. On the user end, Wix has an HTML5 drag-and-drop editing tool, integration with the image editor Aviary and hundreds of fully malleable templates. On the downside, such malleability often comes with more upkeep.

Breezi is less laid-back than Wix, which means that you can't, say, drop an image anywhere you like. But this more restrictive model also makes it less likely that you'll run into broken links and screen resolution issues. Most impressive is the company's relatively new design engine, which generates designs on the fly.

Breezi lets you select your category, then you can choose and lock in colors, fonts and other features until you're happy with what you see.

SHOPPING AND SMALL BUSINESS

For business or brand promotion, Facebook Pages is a popular option, mainly because of the social network's built-in billion-plus users that page owners can turn into likes and dollars. Users can also create promotional discounts for their customers.

If you're in the market for a fleshed-out online store to sell big-ticket items, but you don't want to pay for an e-commerce solution like Shopify, try Etsy. The site lets users create a store to sell handmade goods and vintage items, like furniture and greeting cards. Store owners pay 20 cents per listing, and Etsy takes a 3.5 percent cut of the item's selling price. For smaller shops, Big Cartel also provides a similar service, with a clean, customizable interface, a monthly fee instead of individual transaction charges and the ability to sell a wider range of goods. But its free version lets you post just five products, and you won't get the built-in traffic base that comes with a community marketplace like Etsy.

If you want to create a site for a single item, there's Gumroad. The site is especially good for independent artists seeking to sell their documentary films, songs and books. Like Etsy, Gumroad takes a cut of your proceeds, though it also accommodates deposits in over 190 countries and has a simple checkout process.

To advertise a bake sale or create a lost dog flier, try Smore. The service is an easy way to create and publish posters online, with the ability to embed videos and Twitter posts.

PORTFOLIO SITES

For professional or resume sites, look into Zerply. Like LinkedIn, your Zerply page can highlight your education, experience and biography, and users can endorse others. For professional writers, two good sites are Muck Rack and Contently. Both sites allow journalists to showcase their work, including published articles. For graphic design and art portfolios, Carbonmade is a good way to show off your illustration skills, though its free version allows a maximum of only five projects and 35 images.

Rescuing lost videos from YouTube 07/07/13 [Last modified: Friday, July 5, 2013 7:43pm]

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