Look Out YouTube, Here Comes Metacafe

Tech News Web 2.0

The Economist.com (subscription required) has an interesting article on Metacafe, one of YouTube’s main competitors. Arik Czerniak, co-founder of Metacafe, explains how YouTube shows little interest in solving two key problems for Internet video that may be holding back this relatively new online content: quality control and incentives for contributors. Metacafe, the largest independent online video site since YouTube was acquired by Google, is doing its best to be noticed by fixing these issues.

YouTube is plagued by by thousands of amateurs videos, most of which remain unpopular or shared only with a couple friends of the author. Only about 10 percent of YouTube’s videos breakout into main stream success. In contrast, about 90 percent of Metacafe’s videos are the extremely popular ones. YouTube may be the leader in online video (see chart to the right) with approximately ten times as many video views as Metacafe, but comparing the two sites just by the video views of each site’s top 200 videos, Metacafe actually wins!

Here’s how Metacafe works: The up-and-coming video site actually chooses and promotes “good” videos to the front page. It also rejects nearly half the submissions just because they are duplicates.
The site has about 100,000 volunteers which watch and rate the content. And as a final screener, Metacafe uses a proprietary VideoRank
algorithm, which measures, among other things, how many viewers watch the
clip to the end, etc. All these procedures combine to help create a site much like YouTube but minus the obscure and less popular.

Of course, just how “good” Metacafe’s content may be is still fairly subjective. The site sometimes has soft porn like videos on the front page, though rest assured it’s the most popular soft porn. But that just reflects the system’s definition of “good” and is only a small part of the overall varied content. Plus, any content designed more so for adults is usually labeled is some way.

Co-founder Czerniak also explains how Metacafe offers videographers a better way to be noticed or recognized. He says that uploading a video to YouTube is like an aspiring actress “driving to
Los Angeles and waiting tables to get noticed by a producer.” Metacafe recently added a monetary incentive for these aspiring video makers called “producer rewards.” Basically, users who license their content to Metacafe get paid $5 for every 1,000 views. A martial artist from Toronto, Joe Eigo, made close to $23,000 from uploading one of his videos.

So if you have your own video that you think is interesting, that is, “good,” why not give it a go on Metacafe?

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