Friday, December 5, 2008

Video Sharing Sites Reviewed

So in my last entry I talked about how I wasn't only going to upload my videos to YouTube anymore, instead I was going to distribute my vids across multiple sites, in hopes that the Copyright Police wouldn't be able to find me. Well the last few days I've been experimenting by uploading videos to each site. Here is a quick breakdown of what I thought.

My site:
Veoh has a lot of things going for it, especially it's sleek design. It's very clear and uncluttered. The video quality is pretty good too, but it's still Flash video, so it's not like it will get much better anywhere else on the web. I like how easy it is to edit tags and the option to download is nice too (it even tells you the file size), but the catch is you must have the Veoh Player in order to watch the videos on your computer. Still, a cool option. The one thing that sucks is that Veoh recognized my Lacey Schwimmer video as being copyright-infringing, so it blocked it. None of the other sites I've tried blocked it, including Dailymotion, which is like the Blocking King apparently. Also, my views on Veoh have been small compared to the other sites. Overall, I like Veoh but I'm wary of how it handles copyright, especially since it's owned by the media companies.
Pluses: great design, good quality video
Minuses: probably strict on copyright, maybe not enough views to justify the hassle?
Grade: B

My site:
Dailymotion is probably the most similar to YouTube out of all the sites I've tried. You can do a lot of things with your videos, like add it to a blog, a channel, a jukebox (?), and a videowall (??). Yeah not sure what the last two are, but you can do it if you want to. The process for editing your video details is easy and the player automatically pauses (unlike the Tube where it takes you to a totally different page). I especially like the option to watch the videos in high quality by simply hitting the "HQ" button at the bottom of the video screen. Then again, the HG video quality is about on par with the regular quality on and maybe even Veoh. But what really sucks about Dailymotion is how crazy strict they are on copyright. I don't know what kind of filtering software they use but out of the 5 videos I tried uploading, it only allowed 2. And all of them at the upload point. Anyway, it was really annoying and they never tell you why it was rejected. At least YouTube tells you this! So yeah I'm gonna keep trying to upload to Dailymotion but I will probably give up on it soon if it keeps blocking my videos.
Pluses: similar to YouTube in design, HQ button, seems pretty social-networky
Minuses: crazy about copyright
Grade: D

My site:
Out of all the sites I've tried, I prefer Metacafe by far. it's a little more busy than Veoh but less cluttered than Dailymotion. I also like how you can edit the video info while the video is playing! That's pretty cool. Tagging and editing tags is simple as well and you can also track the changes you make to each video. Overall, Metacafe gives you a lot of ways to adjust the metadata on your videos. Video quality is almost on par with Veoh as well and much better than Dailymotion's non-HQ quality. But what I especially love about Metacafe is the community aspect of it. When you upload a vid, it goes out to other users for review, and they will rate your video (or flag if its inappropriate). None of my videos were flagged and all of them made it online so I guess copyright isn't a big thing. And I got the most views by far on Metacafe than on any other site (probably because of the review process). In fact yesterday I got more views on my 5 Metacafe videos combined than I did on my 50 YouTube videos combined. That's crazy! The one thing that might suck is how picky the community is. On YouTube it's common to get 4 or 5 stars from someone, but on Metacafe you are lucky to get a 3! And the few comments that I have gotten have been mostly negative. But still at least people are watching!
Pluses: good interface, community aspect, lots of views!
Minuses: picky users
Grade: A-

My site:
I really like as it is probably the most unique of the video sites I've come across. It definitely has a very simple design, less sleek than Veoh but more inviting. It seems more geared towards actual Internet TV, with each video you upload considered an "episode" of a show (the show being your account: 'buffmetube' in my case). The video quality is the highest I've seen of all the sites minus Dailymotion in HQ mode. What's more, gives you the option of watching the video in the original format it was uploaded in. Ironically the video quality is not much better, but the audio quality definitely is. Still I found the loading process for this option to be really slow (I uploaded MOV files). Hopefully that will work itself out later. also processed my videos the fastest in comparison to the other sites. My view counts have been small but yet larger than the rest of the sites except for Metacafe. Finally, gives you a good amount of stats on each video, including daily summaries of views, how many views in each format, and where the views came from (either from or from an outside site like Truveo or AOL).
Pluses: great design, very high quality Flash, option for viewing in original format, lots of stats, easy to upload
Minuses: problems with viewing in original format, not very social-networky
Grade: B+

My site: 5250233
Yahoo! Video is kinda like a combination of Veoh and Dailymotion. The look is warm but not cluttered. The video quality is good (but the player screen is somewhat small). It definitely has a social-networking feel, but I don't really get a sense of a community around it. The front page consists of Featured Videos, Featured Playlists, Featured Networks etc etc. but on the video pages there are the usual sharing and commenting options (it all looks very similar to YouTube). So yeah this site strikes me as a place where you have to let your viewers know you are there or else no one will ever find you. I could be wrong though. The upload process isn't a problem and I haven't gotten blocked or anything so I will continue to use Yahoo! and hope things will pick up there for user-generated content.
Pluses: warm and nice look, easy to upload
Minuses: not friendly to UGC?, not really social-networky, small video screen
Grade: B- B
UPDATE 12/5/08 - I really like Yahoo's embedded video player. It's the only one with widescreen. I'm switching the grade to a solid B.

My site: umm, I don't think I have one
Google Video is weird in that it isn't really it's own site, instead it acts more like a search engine for other videos across the web. I don't even think I have a central place for my videos. So yeah, there is literally no social-networking aspect to Google Video, which makes it not useful to me at all. What's more, the video quality is the poorest out of all the sites I've tried and harkens back to the early days of YouTube. I don't think I will be using Google Video at all.
Pluses: ?
Minuses: no central video channel or site, not social-networky at all, poor video quality
Grade: F

My site:
I was excited to upload my videos to MySpace TV but apparently the site is looking to dethrone Daily Motion as the Ultimate Copyright Nazi. I uploaded a few videos and got blocked from ever uploading again unless I take a "Respecting Copyrights" online course or some junk like that. Umm yeah, no thanks. I use MySpace more as a portal anyway, and while having the video right there would be convenient, I don't want to risk having my entire MySpace account removed because of their silly copyright bizness.
Pluses: ?
Grade: N/A

So there you have it, my rough and very non-scientific review of all the major video sites. There are others out there that I haven't explored and I plan on doing those soon. Overall, in addition to the almighty YouTube, I am definitely going to keep uploading to Metacafe and as those were my favorites, and I will also upload to Veoh, Yahoo!, and Dailymotion but keep a suspicious eye on those as well. I'm pretty much done with Google Video and MySpace TV.

If anyone has any thoughts on these sites or others I'd like to hear about them!

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