Vid.me video platform, a video platform that prided itself on being a place for content creators, not advertisers, is shutting down. They made this announcement in a Medium post. As an aside, what will we do about all those posts when Medium shuts down?
Vid.me positioned itself as the bastion of video liberty after the first adpocalypse on Youtube which brought on stricter content rules. But they had already simplified the sharing of videos via a simple drag and drop upload system that empowered even people without accounts to share videos via simple shortURLs. Since it was so simple, people shared tons of videos, including videos that didn't belong to them so soon enough Vid.me had the same freebooters and pirated problem that all platforms battle. While Vid.me's views and reach grew, so did the amount of pirated content on the platform, and as with all platforms it soon became one of the issue Vid.me had to tackle. Hoping to become a viable competitor to cable, Vid.me stumbled on the rights issue as everyone has, ever since YouTube's knowing exploitation of copyrighted work without permission became their growth strategy.
Vid.me creators have until December 15 to download their videos, after that the files will be deleted at noon PST. All Vidme channel subscriptions will be suspended, and subscriber-only videos will be exclusively accessible by their video owners, effective immediately. New signups and upload have been disabled.
Vid.me co-founder Warren Shaeffer explains in his Medium post what went wrong. The TL;DR is that they can’t find a way to make money in the face of internet giants Google and Facebook. They're also well aware that most advertisers want their ads to complement “brand-safe” content, and when you post pretty much everything that anyone wants to upload without moderation, you're not a simple "brand-safe" buy. Warren also reveals how Google's ad monopoly has made things difficult for upstarts; "Few advertisers are willing to negotiate direct deals with platforms that don’t have enormous scale, meaning ad-revenue rates are lower for newer platforms." What about viewers paying for what they watch? Another sound idea that couldn't work;
"Although we introduced direct fan patronage as an additional business model, the profit margin was insufficient to cover the high costs of storing and delivering video."
8 out of ten most popular apps are owned by Google and Facebook. And to make things worse, both giants have popular apps owned by them that pull users back into their networks. What does this have to do with it? Tracking. Facebook and Google have more data on each user, than any new platform can hope to gather. Google and Facebook can target users based on their dreams at this point, and advertisers have grown addicted to the ability to stalk users around the web. Despite if this means having your Super Bowl pre-roll ending up in front of an Isis propaganda video. Advertisers now demand that the giants clamp down on the jungle of content that made them giants in the first place, so this symbiotic relationship is turning sour on all sides. The unfortunate victims are copyrights and, in a sense, free speech. You're still allowed to say whatever you want, as long as you don't do it on Google or Facebook where people can actually hear you say it. Peoples rights to their own work died when Viacom settled with Youtube after a seven-year legal battle. Even Google video called Youtube "a rogue enabler of content theft" back then. Quotes revealed in the lawsuit showed that Youtube was not only aware of, but also encouraged stolen copyrighted content on their platform in order to grow. YouTube founder Steve Chen wrote to staff that they should:
"concentrate all our efforts in building up our numbers as aggressively as we can through whatever tactics, however evil."
Warren from Vid.me offer up three key things to think about in case you want to launch your own video platform. Monetization , infrastructure costs , and audience building. When going up against two giants who practically own the digital ad market, in a world thatäs now grown up on pirated content, you will have a difficult time playing it straight. In short: Google killed the Vid.me star
On the upside, this means creative digital ventures (based in LA) have an opportunity to hire any of these talented folks who have experience with building a video platform.