I’ve experimented with a few different hosts for my videos over the last couple of years, but have always gone back to YouTube for one reason or another. I’m currently at another crossroads, prompted by an email from YouTube. They offered to put adverts on one of my videos (my most popular video with 127,000 views and counting – that’s what happens when you put ‘Naked’ in the title) and share the revenue it generates with me through Google Adsense. In the image below, you can see a screenshot of this video with the ad in place.
Monetizing my videos? Sounds interesting. And it had me re-evaluating my video hosting solution again. There are three different hosts that I like, all for different reasons. YouTube is one of them, along with Vimeo and Blip.tv. They all have pros and cons, things that I like and things that I don’t like. How did my evaluation of them go, and which one will I be using?
Vimeo has a very neat player, with controls that are built into the video screen and disappear when the cursor is removed from the video. The community is pretty neat too and the whole web page design is simplification perfected, but remains colourful and classy. It wins on features too, with widgets and stats. But, the free version is limited. The hosting limitations are no problem for me, with more than enough space per week for my current needs. But that could change. However the current bugbear is that a free account can’t embed HD videos on blogs. Which is exactly what I want to do. There is a way round this, using VodPod. But that is extra work. Another way round this is to pay the $60 fee for full membership. No thanks.
Blip.tv has the classiest looking player of them all, but the web site and Showplayer are a bit plain and boring. They do kick ass for features though, beating YouTube and Vimeo into the ground, and include the ability to have adverts on your videos. You can choose prerolls, which basically play a short advert before your movie begins. A good idea, but there is a huge flaw. These ads can last from 7 seconds to 30 seconds. I would be ok with a 7 to 10 second ad, but a 30 second ad? No thanks. And I can’t choose the maximum length of these ads, so I have to turn them off. Monetization opportunity lost.
You can have your own domain name associated with your account and in theory can post direct to WordPress.com blogs using shortcode. But I haven’t figured out if there is a way to change the size of the player to suit my blog, which is crucial. Blip.tv also fails to accept the .mts2 format that I produce videos in, which means converting them. Extra work.
So YouTube, the perennial favourite of video uploaders. I feel YouTube has never been developed properly by Google and taken onto the heights it should be achieving. But it does have plus points. If the number of views your vids receive is important, then YouTube is king. Embedding and distributing YouTube vids is also a piece of cake. But it’s such a shame they haven’t updated the look of the site. Like most Google products, including Blogger and Gmail, you get flexibility and massive space allowances and all for free, wrapped up in a blocky, plasticky site that looks so late 90’s. I’d love to have the ability to customize the look of my page well beyond what is currently available, and have my own domain name. I’d even pay a reasonable sum for it. Perhaps not the $60 Vimeo asks for though.
I’m going to be sticking with YouTube for now though. It comes down to the extra work Blip.tv and Vimeo produce. It also comes down to peace of mind. My video collection is growing and I want to know that the host I choose will still be about in 10 years. You? I’ve put a poll on the right hand side of the blog. Which host do you prefer?