Vimeo Is Better Than YouTube for Sharing Video?

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Someone recently dropped me a line to tell me that Vimeo was better than YouTube. Me, being the easy-going guy I am, said “OK.” Of course this might have been a clever plot on their part to get me to check it out for one reason or another. Again, I’m easy-going, so I did.

Vimeo is not YouTube. Better than YouTube? Well that’s purely subjective and depends on what exactly your definition of ‘better’ is. Vimeo certainly is different, that’s for sure. Where YouTube at times seems all about pumping out craploads of video (which is a lot in case you don’t know the highly technical term ‘crapload’) in order to get people to look at them. The value of the content is often questionable and the quality of the videos viesar wildly. But that’s not to say that YouTube is bad, it’s just what it is, really.

Borneo Dispatch Video #8 “The Summit” from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

Vimeo on the other hand is positioning itself as a community of professional creators of high-quality video. They don’t accept commercial video, yet isn’t most video commercial in some respect? A music video from a band is commercial as it’s trying to get you to buy their songs. A film is commercial as it’s trying to recoup cost, get the people involved further work and generally be ‘discovered.’ So technically Vimeo should only accept artistic video which is made simply for art’s sake. Of course if they adhered to that, there would probably be almost no content there and it would all need to be anonymous so that no one was given credit, discovered and given heaps of cash to make new, commercial videos. So we’ll just say that Vimeo doesn’t allow overt commercialism in its content. It also doesn’t allow you to upload anything that you yourself haven’t created.

Another major facet of Vimeo that sets it apart from YouTube is the community aspect. Where YouTube comments and networking generally adhere to a ‘ U R KOOL’ or ‘U R TEH SUK’ line of thinking, Vimeo is more about professionalism and supporting each other. They   say that any community that allows irrational behavior will decay and that Vimeo is “a positive community of people who respect the videos you make.” Comments generally look like this:

  • Thanks for the vid
  • Excellent
  • Amazing

Then from time to time you get something really useful like:

  • Excellent job composing each shot. The symmetry and angles and proportions are terrific. (author: dewde)
  • I don’t like very much the 4/3, but this clip is full of creativity, and the effects are done almost perfectly. So: Cool vidéo ! (author: Jean-Come Bouden)

Not your standard YouTube tripe to say the least.

When you signup for Vimeo you have 2 options, free which nets you 500MB of upload space per week, 1 HD video per week, no HD embedding, basic player customization and some other stuff. The Vimeo Plus account, $59.95 a year, gets you 5GB a week, unlimited HD, no banner ads on the site and more.

But Chris, What’s it all for?

Well, if you want to do some viral video marketing, this is not the place. If you want to add a revenue stream for your videos, this is not the place. If you want to host your videos somewhere and then slide in pre, mid, post-roll ads, it’s still probably not the place.

No, Vimeo seems to be a place to create video and have people tell you it’s awesome. It’s a place to upload music videos, film trailers, videos made as academic projects and of course purely artistic videos.  It’s a place to get a pat on the back, or a quick tip. It’s a nice happy place where criticism is constructive, the streets are clean and everyone is happy. It might be Video Utopia, if such a thing existed.

It’s a place to gather in groups (the largest of which are film and music – both commercial categories I might add. Oops, there’s that “C” word again.) and discuss the finer points of the particular interest.  Vimeo also offers channels which are like groups but are more about showcasing particular styles of videos like time lapse, slo-mo and documentary (30,500 channels at present). It’s a land where experimentation takes precedence over huge computer-generated effects and where content trumps commercialism… If it were a cable television station it would be the Indie Film Channel.

In short, it’s not of value to marketers, advertisers and anyone who wants to turn a profit by getting their video in front of as many eyeballs as possible. It’s more a place where you go cut your teeth on making video and getting tips and help when you want to do something but aren’t sure how.

Is it ‘better’ than YouTube? Maybe the quality of the video and probably a lot of the content are. Maybe the community is more supportive. But they’re completely different services and are aimed at completely different types of people. Sure, they’re both pretty good at what they do but I can’t say one is better than the other. I’ll just stick to my statement that they are certainly on opposite sides of the video sharing scale.


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