Vimeo is not very good
(This is kind of a rant about Vimeo's website. It might be better in ~tech, or ~comp. Feel free to move it.)
I've always preferred using Vimeo to YouTube for finding interesting videos because it's more oriented towards artists than people just uploading random stuff. As mentioned in the recent What Creative Projects Have You Been Working On? thread, I had some nature videos I shot of hummingbirds and wanted to upload them somewhere. My spouse had uploaded videos to Vimeo before, so I thought I'd put them there rather than YouTube because I don't like dealing with Google.
The site is a hot mess. I've hit the following problems after lightly using it for 2 days. I uploaded a single video and set it to be public:
- No way to enter keywords or tags. Searching will only find your video if you mention the search terms in your title (and maybe your description).
- Some of their own pages are broken or missing. If I go to "categories" and click on "documentary" it shows me an error message saying the page doesn't exist. If I click on "arts" or "music" I go to that category and see videos available.
- No information on how to add your video to a given category. Is it done automatically? Is it done by someone on the staff noticing and adding it? I have no idea!
- My video has gotten a few views from people here, so it is uploaded and available for anyone to see. But if I search for "hummingbird" and limit the search to videos uploaded in the last 7 days, my video is not displayed. Why not? Who knows?
- I ran the iOS app without logging in and it showed my account but said I had no videos, even though others were able to see them. Logging in shows the videos and confirms that they are set to allow anyone to view them. WTF?
- I attempted to send them a message telling them about the broken links. When you go to the help section and click on "Contact Us," you get a fake chat window that's just a bot that will pick keywords out of your question and reply with articles that don't answer your question. In fact, they even ask below each one, "Does this answer your question?" with a button for yes and nothing else. There's no way to say, "No, this was unhelpful." If you scroll to the bottom of the list of articles they recommend, there's a button to send a message to their tech support.
- I'm on the free tier, so I wasn't expecting any sort of answer to my help question, but still wanted to let them know so they could fix it. But that didn't work either. They have enough sense to copy your question from the chat bot into the tech support form (nice!) but it strips out any URLs. (Thanks! Very useful since I was trying to report a broken URL!) But it doesn't matter anyway because after you choose a category (none of which are correct) and attempt to submit your form, nothing happens. You press "Next" and the button turns into a spinner for a few seconds, and then stops and turns back into the "Next" button. Nothing appears to have been submitted, but no error is presented.
- The site is full of dark patterns. I get that they want upgrade revenue coming in, and I have no problem with that. But they do things like have a blinking icon in your video's settings for "interaction tools." These are things you can do to monetize your video, or whatever. Stuff I will never need. All the options in this section require a paid upgrade and there's no way to turn off the blinking beacon (except, I assume, by upgrading).
I was considering upgrading to their bottom-tier paid account, but after seeing how much is broken, I have to wonder if they're circling the drain? I get using chat bots and forms to make it easier for their support people, and making sure users know about ways to upgrade, but this is ridiculous. Anyone else run into this?
I believe Vimeo makes the most money as a video hosting site, as opposed to a sharing one, as they can't really compete in the latter category. Although it does, as you mentioned, have some browsing features, they've clearly not the company's main focus.
It's unfortunate then that, to this day, I've never had a video hosted by Vimeo load without interruption. I've wanted to love Vimeo for as long as I can remember, but I've more or less completely given up on even watching anything hosted on their platform.
That's interesting for you to say. Vimeo has its issues, but playback has never been one that I've witnessed or even heard of.
Anecdotal as well, but I used to have frequent buffering issues when playing videos on Vimeo too (but no other streaming sites), before I switched ISPs last year. Whether that was the fault of Vimeo itself, or my old ISP though ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It's funny because for years I thought YouTube was just hopelessly broken. Literally any article I read that had an embedded YouTube video refused to play it. That's about when I stopped going to YouTube voluntarily. It turns out that it was some limit on the number of views they allowed for embedded content. So if they article was even mildly popular, then embedded videos just wouldn't play for most readers. I'm not sure how they expected users to understand the problem, but eventually they fixed it. I'm sure they thought, "Well people will just click on the YouTube button in the player to play it at the site," but I had no idea that was a thing at the time.
Yeah, and I'm fine with that. I'm just surprised at how poorly they handle even hosting. I didn't even mention the weird UI glitches I get. For example there's a certain area of the page where, if I approach it from below, one of the menus at the top of the page opens up and obscures whatever I was trying to do, but if I approach it from the side, it doesn't happen.
The only people I know to use Vimeo are filmmakers that use it to share their work on a more "respectful" platform (maybe it brings more fidelity to the table, IDK). Vimeo also allows you to control access to your video via password, which is very useful when submitting short films to a bunch of festivals.
IIRC, Vimeo allows for better quality video than YouTube does. Sure you can upload 60FPS 4K video to YouTube, but they will always re-encode your video no matter what and that will degrade the quality somewhat.
I think that's a bit outdated though, because their current quality levels are much better than they used to be and it seems that they have invested a lot more care in their backend processing. Years ago I uploaded a video to Youtube that was encoded in some arcane format and when Youtube re-encoded it, it completely borked decoding it; the video turned into a flashing rainbow. The crazy thing is that as of a few years ago, they have re-encoded it and it displays properly.
Yeah. I can see how cinematographers, color graders etc would prefer sharing their videos on a platform that won’t introduce any changes to their work whatsoever.
Thanks for sharing. I use Vimeo, but my use case is very different from most people, I guess: I only use it as a place that can serve my videos for free to the Internet. I don't care so much about getting views from strangers on Vimeo itself, as I share the video link via other means (email, other social media), and get (direct) hits that way. As such, Vimeo has been meeting my needs so far.
Is it feasible for any service to compete with YouTube, be competitive, and stay profitable? Or is the YouTube monopoly impenetrable?
That depends on what you're looking for in a competitor. Sites like floatplane exist, or nebula - not really a video platform, more of like patreon + video hosting. Free viewing, free uploading, discovery, and so forth aren't really provided.
As for youtube style platforms, yeah, there's no way. Video hosting is incredibly expensive, and unlike, say, Netflix, youtube actually has waaay more video, and way more videos where viewership makes them peanuts.
Honestly, youtube is a miracle; that you can upload videos for free, at resolutions up to 8k, for free, with no video time limit, and have unlimited amount of people view it, for free, is insane. On the vast majority of videos, just on a bandwidth basis, forget employee costs, youtube no doubt loses money. Even with the new policy to put ads on all videos.
Honestly, it's difficult to know if even today, with Youtube's scale, if they're actually profitable. Their exact numbers are bundled together with Google's on the alphabet earnings, so all we know that the sum of Google + Youtube is profitable. And obviously it's strategically useful for Google to own Youtube, so I don't doubt they got their moneys worth.
But it means it's very hard to replicate youtube when it provides so much for so little on the consumer's side when you can't make use of its data to enhance the rest of your business.
I see this statement a lot and wanted to know how expensive, results from this calculation based on this data are:
$0.1125 per minute for 8K@60fps
Which is ridiculous for a number of reasons, one of which because that's not even close to the norm. More realistic is:
$0.0102 per minute for 1080p@30fps
A penny a minute isn't much and with scale the price per minute goes down, it will still all add up and can be quite a lot with a popular video. However, that site seems to be using higher than actual costs when compared to Amazon's current price list, which of course includes their profit margin and Google isn't paying anywhere close to it. An older video by CGP Grey puts the price per view at around $0.0025 with a "view" being 30 seconds.
When people say video hosting is incredibly expensive, they're talking about more than just bandwidth and storage costs. The biggest expense in developing and maintaining a video hosting service is very likely going to be the employees. Developers and engineers aren't cheap, and neither are lawyers. If it was cheap everyone would be doing it.
p.s. And the fact that even Amazon owned Twitch recently stopped storing VODs past 14 days for non-partners hints to the fact that even though they only charge fractions of a penny per GB to customers, that cost still adds up pretty quickly at scale.
If by "everyone" you mean a select few people savvy enough to know about and use peertube, sure. But peertube still has a long way to go yet before it can ever hope to compete with the big centralized services. It is probably our best shot at ever being able to break away from them though, I will give it that.
That's pretty much what I was planning to do, but I thought, hey I might as well add some tags in case anyone browsing the site is interested. But after hitting all these problems, I'm thinking I shouldn't bother. Which is weird because I'd be willing to pay the bottom-tier $7/month for those features if they existed. But given the other problems I had, I have no confidence that things will work correctly after paying them. So I guess I'll just upload my videos, share them among friends, and leave it at that.
I wanted to check the dead links in the categories pages, as that seems like it would be an easy thing that they should be noticing. But you can't browse around the videos without a login, so I went to make one.
But then, on the login form, the pre-ticked box which says
I agree to receive newsletters, product updates, and exclusive offers from Vimeo.is displayed white on light grey, and is completely unreadable until I select the text. If the tick button hadn't been there, I probably wouldn't have noticed that there was even text there at all.
A screenshot of what I saw: https://imgur.com/a/IbcQyUC
If that's the sneaky sort of GDPR-violating company that they are, then I probably don't want to create an account at all.
Oh wow, that's unbelievably shitty. Thanks for pointing it out! I'm pretty sure I didn't notice that. I'm sure the email I gave them will now be full of crappy newsletters. Ugh.