The YouTube Creator blog has announced that the video response facility, originally meant to encourage fan engagement and community interaction, will cease to exist from 12th September onwards. The YouTube team inform us the reason for the removal of this facility is the philosophy of "replacing little-used features with better ones".
Looking at Google's stats, YouTube viewers' engagement via video responses has been extremely low. The YouTube team saw only a 0.0004 per cent click-through rate for video responses, this statistic is more plainly explained as "only 4 out of every 1 million users who sees a video response clicks on it". So a new route to bring more context to a video, within comments, is being looked into.
YouTube is currently looking into enabling the sharing of (YouTube) video links within comments as a replacement facility. These links should "drive more engagement" thinks the video website's programming team. Currently the video uploader can put a web link within the video description but the comments can't include links of any kind, even if the original uploader wants to add such a comment in reply to someone.
While the YouTube team are still fiddling around the back-end, with the intention of implementing sharing video links in comments, they suggest that video response videos be described thus "with specific titles, hashtags or descriptions (e.g., Video Response To Taylor Swift's Video "22"), so you can find these by searching for them".
Existing video responses aren't going to disappear down a virtual plughole but will still be "available and discoverable" says the YouTube blog but it does seem like they will be ousted from the area directly under the video they are responding to as part of their retirement. I just hope that whatever replaces video responses won't be infested with spammy video links for 'blue pills', 'free this and that' and 'work from home and get $500 per day' type flotsam and jetsam.
Creative spamming attempt using YouTube video responses