According to web ranking engine Alexa, YouTube is the third most popular web destination in existence. That’s not bad for a site that’s been around for all of 6 years. To date, there’s not been much in the way of significant criticism or controversy on YouTube, so this doesn’t look to change any time soon.
Nonetheless, alternate video sharing web sites exist, some of them rather popular. We looked just recently at some of the music streaming services on the web. Now we go over the list of streaming video sites if, for whatever reason, you want to expand outwards from the world of YouTube.
With 70 million unique monthly visitors, Dailymotion is second only to YouTube among video streamers. For the most part, it seems because there isn’t all that much in the way of important differences between the two. Both offer videos that can be found through channels, tags, or through suggestions, both have an extensive library, and both attempt to thwart copyright infringement using various types of auto-detection.
One thing you can do with Dailymotion is log into it directly using your Facebook account, with all of the automatic sharing that goes with that. It also contains a group called “MotionMaker” which is specifically for the creators of original content.
Needing to differentiate itself from both of the above competitors, Metacafe shifted their focus in 2006 by attempting to procure high-quality, professional videos. The program paid users for creating videos that were viewed at least 20,000 times and satisfied a few other quality-control metrics. While this created for some interesting art, the program failed to prove any profitability, and it received the ax just two years later.
Going to the site now, one gets the feeling that they are trying to keep this specific momentum going by filling this gap with as much sponsored and Hollywood driven material as possible. Their home page now makes you wonder if you accidentally stumbled upon a MySpace sister site. Search for the content you want, though, and you find a good enough selection, with Facebook commenting architecture. We had to wait through more pre-video advertisements on this site than any other, though.
It’s surprising that this site isn’t getting more attention. ScienceStage is a user-content site that is centered around communication between those in the sciences, including teachers, engineers, researchers and scholars. The site utilizes an attractively bare-bones design that keeps the focus on the work being done.
Anyone can upload video or audio content, and even live video streams and research papers. The content makes it to the user’s “Stage”. From there, groups are formed (either public or private) which allow users to share data around that group’s intellectual focus.
Gawkk takes a different approach to video streaming. It doesn’t actually host video content, but allows the user to created embedded lists of content found elsewhere on the web. The site is very simple, but does allow users to create lists and share content with each other.
Though its star is not what it used to be, MySpace shouldn’t be counted out. They are still one of the most popular sites on the web, and now that they are partnered with Hulu there is a chance that they might have enough oomph still left in them to be a moderately important video hub. This is especially since that was the central theme behind their change in focus in the first place. Perhaps they can do it right this time.
Vimeo puts a strong emphasis on creating a true artistic community. While this makes it a popular hub for the amateur content producer, more established musicians have found it a good place to release new works: Beck, Moby, Britney Spears, Björk and Nine Inch Nails have all used it for this purpose. They are also a home for indie filmmakers. One interesting group is not included in this, though. Gaming videos are no longer allowed for bandwidth reasons.
Vimeo lets users register for free accounts or have paid subscriptions that allow greater limits in video uploading. The site is popular enough that their second “annual” Vimeo awards will be held in Spring 2012 (the first one was 18 months prior), with speakers such as indie film directory Morgan Spurlock and science fiction author Bruce Sterling.
For those of you who want to introduce your child or your student to video sharing in a safe environment, there is SchoolTube. This is a heavily moderated site aimed at children from kindergarten to the 12th grade. It was created in response to the banning of most video sharing sites in school environments.
Only SchoolTube employees and registered school officials are eligible for moderation, and commenting is restricted to a few pre-set replies to prevent schoolyard antics. The content runs the gamut of just about all common educational topics, but also includes socially-focused areas such as “Community & Public Service” and “Green & Environment”.
Speaking of which, we come to OneWorldTV, a video sharing web site centered around social activism. Established in 2001, it is now one of the oldest video sharing web sites online. While it still has not achieved the critical mass of a YouTube, it has a dedicated following, with the slogan “Where the good guys gang up”. Significant focus is placed on developmental problems in third-world countries.
OpenFilm’s focus is specifically around the generation and sharing of independent films. Strengthening this purpose is its Advisory Board, comprised of film industry veterans such as Robert Duvall, James Caan and Mark Rydell.
As proof of the energy invested into its site, OpenFilm recently held its first “Get It Made” film competition. The winner of the contest will receive $200,000 to take their short film and turn it into a feature.
Rounding out our list is MaYoMo, short for “Map Your Moments.” The idea behind MaYoMo is to be a hub for citizen journalism. The user can upload video news which is then tagged by location and time, letting others create news timelines. Whether you consider this a good thing or not, they also allow the same format for virtual worlds such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, Half-Life and if it’s available in your area Four-and-Three-Sevenths-Life.