YouTube Coup: 5 Members of the Video Sharing Website Graveyard
It’s not uncommon to hear something along the lines of the phrase “Did you see that video of (so and so) doing (this and that)?” at some point during everyday conversation. If you use Twitter or Facebook, it’s also likely your newsfeed is flooded with different videos your friends and family find interesting.
When you want to see the latest viral video clip or look up a tutorial, YouTube probably is the first place you’ll look. It has grown tremendously since its inception in February 2005, and the name has found its way into everyday language. Although there are other video hosting sites floating around the web, the most popular videos often are first uploaded to YouTube, especially since it is free for users and viewers. Further, since YouTube was acquired by Google, it has been integrated into a lot of plugins, apps, and other services.
Due to YouTube’s profound success, similar websites have found it difficult to compete for popularity in the user-generated video content market. Thus, over the past decade a number of media sharing sites have been acquired or forced to go offline, 5 of which are notable.
Revver was founded in 2004, but launched in October 2005 – just months after YouTube made its debut. Although you might think the idea to monetize videos via advertising was YouTube’s idea, Revver actually was the first to do this and offer advertising revenue to individuals who submitted videos. They also had an affiliate program where users could make money for sharing videos through email and social media.
Unfortunately, Revver did not gain the same popularity as YouTube despite a revamp of the site and new promotions. After LiveUniverse acquired Revver in 2008, they ceased making payments to video creators, causing users to drop the service. The site completely shut down in 2011.
Founded in January 2004, Putfile was a website that offered free photo and video hosting. Videos were rated on a scale of 1-5, and the number of views each received was recorded. In order for Pufile to stay afloat financially, advertisers paid for text ads on the site.
All seemed well until 2007, when Putfile was sold to a consumer electronics firm. In October 2008, visitors could no longer make accounts or upload new videos. Shortly after, in April 2009, the site went offline for good.
Users on the social media website imeem, founded in 2003, communicated with one another through music and music videos; they were invited to stream, share, and upload content. Advertising revenue kept the site running.
Interestingly enough, imeem was the first website to develop song/playlist widgets that users could embed on their personal sites. Imeem also was the first music sharing site to receive licenses from each of the four music labels in the United States – which meant the ability to stream and share music on their website was legal. However, they were bought by MySpace in 2009, and were shut down right after.
Yahoo! Video, now known as Yahoo! Screen, was launched in 2006 as an Internet video search engine that spanned the entire World Wide Web. By the summer of 2006, the website also gave users the ability to upload and share their own videos.
While this continued for a while, after a remake of the site in 2008, Yahoo! decided to only host videos belonging to them. In 2010 users could no longer upload videos, and in 2011 all content uploaded by users was deleted. The service then changed its name to Yahoo! Screen.
Twango began in the early-to-mid 2000s as a varied media sharing site. Basic membership was free and visitors could browse for free as well. It did allow video uploading, but users also could add photos, documents, and music files. One of the benefits of Twango for users was the ability to organize and edit their files and data.
Nokia bought Twango in 2007, gave it a new name (Ovi), and removed the upload limitations, but by 2012 the service wasn’t as successful as hoped – it was shutdown in May 2012.