Vimeo have launched version five of their people-driven video sharing tool. The site, owned by Connected Ventures (and through a few levels, IAC), was originally created by Jakob Lodwick as a resource for sharing his short videos with friends and family. The idea grew, but the mission stayed the same – make it easy to share video you create with people you trust.
The new site
The changes are obvious with the new home page, which distinctly lays out options to register or log in, clips that the Vimeo staff features, stuff that you have brought to Vimeo, and a new area, “Vimeo Obsessions”, an area where, presumably, the Vimeo staff finds the latest trends and links to a short video that fits the trend. I’ve seen the “Five Vignettes” meme and the “LibDub” trend both displayed in the Obsessions area.
The video player is new as well, featuring a more boxy and cleaner layout. It feels faster and more intuitive than the previous player, which was sometimes a bit tough to control. The color has also switched away from a red/green to blue, part of Vimeo’s extensive redesign. No stone was left unturned!
Different strokes for different folks
Jakob Lodwick, Vimeo’s founder, has been very vocal in his stance against the increased influence that YouTube’s traditional media partners have on the network’s organisation and structure. In a post to his tumblog (which was extracted from an instant message which was a copy/paste from an email) he writes:
YouTube is oscillating between the chaos of automatic, popularity-based rankings and the stability of old-school, owner-controlled editorial. Both are lame and you can see the miserable effects of either in every media outlet that exists today. I would bet everything I own on a third alternative: user-controlled editorial.
Lodwick’s point is confidently prescient, but it makes sense. We are in an era of user generated content – who is to say that the users cannot decide what content is showcased? Vimeo is making efforts to ensure that the community defines the community; they do not want this to be another stop on the marketing tour. Everything about the site puts the community at the forefront, even the ads are Amazon affiliate ads specially designed by Vimeo to fit nicely into the interface.
Will this new release be enough to convince YouTube users to make the switch? Time will tell, but I think initial prospects are incredibly promising. Vimeo not only has a great product, but a visionary path (unique in this world of a million YouTubes, Google Videos, Metacafes, etc.). Hopefully this vision can carry it to success.
Check out Vimeo version five by visiting http://vimeo.com/