I received an interesting email the other day from the folks at Revver announcing they were planning to come out of Beta and launch Version 1.0 soon. This could be big news for the Angry Alliance, mainly because Revver opens up the possibilities for getting paid. And getting paid would make it far easier to spend more time on the growing the Angry Alliance.
The promises from the Revver team included that the upgrade to the service will make it easier to "syndicate and share" videos. I'm hoping this means they are changing the site to make it more community oriented and easier to interact with other users and viewers. Because this is an area where Revver is sorely lacking at the moment. When you start with YouTube, it's pretty easy to see how to respond to videos, interact with other users and promote your own videos. Revver (Beta) has gone for the stereotype Web 2.0 clean interface. It looks very slick and spartan but it isn't any help with working out how to get your videos seen.
The angle Revver always trumpets is that you can get paid for your videos. Revver shares ad revenue whereas YouTube keeps it all to themselves. This line is being increasingly focused on in media reports as well. There's a constant suggestion the YouTube is perhaps exploiting its users and profiting from all the videos uploaded without sharing the wealth. This makes some sense on the surface but it really is missing the central point.
All those millions of videos were uploaded to YouTube with no expectation of being paid in return. That mountain of creativity was born out of people's desire to be seen and recognised. And YouTube has provided that in spades. Millions of views daily. Thousands of subscribers to the most popular YT "celebrities". In simple terms, this is what people want and are getting from YouTube.
I have no idea what Revver's business plan is, but I hope for their sake it isn't competing with YouTube on numbers. I'll take a wild guess and say this isn't their plan because they don't need all of the YouTube contributors to migrate to their service.
They just need the best ones.
They already have ZeFrank (the gold standard for video bloggers). And when it comes down to it the vast majority (90+) of highly viewed videos that were loaded on YouTube with no serious hope of remuneration simply can't make the leap to an environment where they can make money. The reason for this is they are based largely or in many cases solely on other peoples work. Look at the "most viewed" listing on YouTube and nearly all of them are straight out clips from other shows, music videos or people dancing to someone else's music.
And you can't make money from someone else's copyrighted material. You may have some talent and I'm not about to argue in favour of the insanely restrictive copyright laws inflicted on the majority world but the person who own the music you dance to is going to get paid a long time before you get paid for the video of you dancing in your bedroom. But for people like ZeFrank who are producing truly original work that sponsors are willing to place their ads on, the future is looking interesting.
Revver are starting to announce the sort of deals that could well attract others looking to make their vlog hobby more professional in the dictionary sense of the word. The most interesting deal they have already signed is with ninemsn.com.au - probably unheard of outside Australia but the home of the most trafficked websites in Australia. It's an alliance between the dominant commercial network in Australia, Channel Nine, and MSN. Its reach is increased by the fact Channel Nine is controlled by the Packer family company Consolidated Press - owners of several high profile magazines and newspapers.
The most interesting possible deal they have floated is for delivering videos to mobile platforms, mainly phones. This is really the perfect medium for the standard lo-res 3-5 minute vlog. And if you develop the sort of work that people want to pass on to their friends, mobile phones could be a significant cash cow. God knows the phone companies are looking for things to convince their users to use high bandwidth applications on their mobiles.
So we're at a crossroads. YouTube is the undisputed king of eyeballs. But Revver just possibly has a viable long-term business model for both themselves and their performers. There are a few other things to explore on this topic. Revver have some very interesting points in the terms of service they have released for version 1.0 (I actually read the TOS before clicking "I agree" for the first time in my life). And at the end of the day, performers getting paid by the company that hosts their videos may have nothing to do with who wins. More on this later.
We live in interesting times. You might yet get yourself a fully-professional full-time blogging and vlogging Mr Angry.