I think that 2018 will be the year of the alternative social network. There's dissension in the ranks. People are mad at Facebook for censoring news. Twitter is banning people for expressing their opinions, and Youtube is demonetizing channels right and left.
Minds recently crowdfunded a million bucks, Gab.ai is fighting Google. Voat wants a piece of Reddit. And I could go on and on with the rest of new social networks that are competing for our mindshare.
So today, I would like to introduce you to Vidme.
What is Vidme?
Vidme is a new-ish video sharing platform. Some say Vidme is a mix between Youtube and Reddit, some call it the Imgur of video. But I see it as a video sharing platform, one of few that seems to have the basics nailed down and is gaining some traction.
Vidme describes themselves as a platform with one mission: To build the world's most creator-friendly video community. People are talking about it, and some of the features make it attractive to new and existing content creators.
Vidme has raised a little over 9 million dollars since 2015, it appears that they started with a seed of 3.2 million. Later on, they raised another 3.2 and just recently they raised an additional 6 million dollars.
I know there are other platforms that have been around for a long time that have challenged Youtube's dominance in video; and I intend to talk about those as well in a future blog post but for now, I wanted to cover Vidme and tell you about my own experience with it so far.
What's so special about Vidme?
Vidme has some interesting features that are intended to help content creators.
The strongest features attracting creators to the platform are the monetization options. While Youtube takes roughly 50% of the earnings from ads and the other part goes to the creator, Vidme has two main ways to generate revenue, and the lion's share of the revenue goes to the creator.
One such feature is paid subscriptions, the other one is tipping. They also have an ad revenue share program in beta right now, similar to Youtube's but with a 70% cut going to the content creator.
The platform used to be ad-free, but with the rollout of ad revenue sharing system, it seems that the ad-free experience is going away.
I don't mind ads except for the fact that about half the times that an ad was about to play, I was served just a black screen for a few seconds then the video would just start playing. Hopefully, it's just a glitch.
Show me the money!
Subscriptions start at $1.00 and work on a monthly basis; a subscriber can choose to pay a dollar or more each month to benefit the video creator.
Tipping works on a per video basis and the viewer decides how much to tip. Both of these options incentivize the creators to keep creating top-notch, relevant content.
Vidme takes a 10% cut of the revenue from those two options. This percentage split alone is a great incentive to join the site.
The only problem is that Vidme doesn't have the traffic that would allow creators to make a significant amount of money, yet. Hopefully, it grows more in 2017 and truly blooms in 2018.
There are some creators that have joined in from Youtube and have quickly received hundreds of subscriptions. But many of these are people that have over a million followers on other platforms already so many people are just following them.
Even so, Vidme is still fresh, and small allowing people like you and me to build a following there with little competition.
Vidme is also bouncing around the idea of having a merchandising system built in. No word on whether it will actually happen or when.
The idea of a merch store builtin to the system is innovative, but to me, it seems like out of the scope for a site like this, and I don't have a whole lot of faith in it. But it could work.
They have a sense of humor
Recently with the backlash that Youtube has been receiving, Vidme took an opportunity to take a jab at it with a promotional video. See below.
That's alright in my book. They capitalized on an opportunity and at least seem to be paying attention to what's going on over at Youtube. Now if we could just get a proper responsive embed for WordPress, that would be awesome.
So how big is Vidme?
When I emailed Vidme to get some current stats, they reported to me that they have about 25 million unique visitors "touching the product." I found that wording a bit interesting, but I'm guessing that it's just what we know as unique visitors. I was not able to find a number of creators or active creators, but if 25 million unique visits per month is accurate, then that's pretty damn respectable for a 3-year-old website.
I do have to wonder though, this same number has been reported for almost a year now. Are they being coy about their numbers or has their growth plateaued since December of last year? I'm not sure.
There's potential there, even if it's not without controversy.
I know there are lots of haters out there taking cheap shots at Vidme. I've watched the videos and read some articles.
But having the experience I have with startups, marketing, and product development, I think they are not giving the platform a fair shot. From what I can see, the "issues" some people like Eli the computer guy are complaining about are growing pains of a fast-growing company.
Most of the complaints seem like whiny rants that lack business insight. I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. It seems that Vidme has been implementing changes as it receives feedback. They hosted an AMA on Reddit about 7 months ago where people got a chance to ask questions and give feedback. I think it's time they do another one.
It'll be a challenge to get under 1000, and even more so to get into the top 100. In contrast, Youtube is number 2 while Vimeo is at 94.
But I challenge any startup to get to 25Million unique visitors per month while hosting and serving video; arguably the toughest type of content to host and manage.
Why should you care about Vidme?
You should take a look at Vidme, create an account and use it for a couple of reasons.
They're a new company and new companies need support. Small companies need patronization from users because this is what keeps them viable, and in this specific case, it isn't good to have one single site dominate a total space as Youtube does.
When a company like Youtube becomes as big as it is, they start shaping culture, they start shaping thought, they become an entity that can control the media. They shape language, just like you "Google" stuff, people are "youtubers" and if you need to fix your broken washing machine, you'll "youtube" a video about it.
Youtube has fueled entire economic systems and with one change in policy, they can sweep it all away and drive people to lose a significant amount of revenue even if such outcome is unintentional, that's not a good thing.
It is especially disconcerting when you consider the type of issues Youtube is facing. Censorship, demonetization, and changes to the partner program status, are amongst the most notable problems bubbling up over there.
At the very least, you should try Vidme so it gets a chance to play in the big leagues. Maybe they'll fail, maybe they will be worse than Youtube. But if they don't get enough traction to prove themselves or hang themselves, we'll just never know what could have been.
I have faith that they can make it.
I think the timing is right, the product is good enough. That's not to say that there aren't some issues and needs for improvement, but that takes time and I think they're doing a good job at communicating with the users and working on improvements and trying new things.
If those reasons don't appeal to you, maybe I can appeal to your selfish nature and tell you that the site is young and open. It's not crowded yet.
From a practical perspective, it seems like it would be easy to have videos noticed and featured if you produce good content. Vidme is like an unexplored world waiting to be settled. A place where you can carve a nice little niche for yourself.
If you aren't a huge Youtuber already, it's refreshing to see that Vidme has very little competition within the site and thus you may be able to make a good amount of money in comparison to what Youtube has to offer.
And who doesn't like money? If you are already on Youtube, you can easily import your videos or just upload them to Vidme simultaneously. It would only take you a minute to fill in the title and description. Scheduling your videos in advance is available so that makes things easier.
Where can you find out more?
I'll be covering stuff about Vidme like I do for Youtube and other social networks here on my blog under the Vidme tag. And if you want to stay current with up to the minute news and discussions about it, the best place I found was the Vidme Reddit here.
Vidme is a newish video sharing platform with some innovative features built in. Their goal is to help content creators by providing monetization features built directly into the platform. The site is growing and it has a little over 9 million dollars of funding. It's not crowded so it may be easy to carve a little niche and build an audience there as the site grows.
I'll write a little bit about using the site in a future blog post, but for the time being, you can find me there under Notagrouch. While I'm not leaving Youtube anytime soon, please join the site and follow me there.
- Vidme Launches Paid Subscription Option To Diversify Creator Revenue Streams - Tubefilter, Vidme Launches Paid Subscription Option To Diversify Creator Revenue Streams, http://www.tubefilter.com/2017/05/11/vidme-paid-subscription-feature-diversify-revenue/
- Vidme - Timeline | crunchbase, Vidme, https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/bit-kitchen/timeline#/timeline/index