I tried writing a clickbait title and then I felt dirty. I apologize, but now it’s time for a story.
There I was in line with my family for a ride at Disneyland, when my phone buzzed with two email notifications from Vimeo. Vimeo- the video hosting site where I have paid for a premium membership for the past 9 years. I figured they were emailing me to say they love us and to offer to feature one of our videos (you know, stuff friends do). However, this was not the email they were sending.
They were writing to inform me that 2 of my videos were flagged for using copyrighted music and that my account would be receiving 2 strikes. The videos, which were 7 and 8 years old respectively, were flagged and instantly removed from Vimeo (no way to recover the master files).
For starters, the record labels were well within their rights to flag these videos. The songs in the videos were unlicensed and, to be honest, I totally forgot they were still among my video library. For the past several years I have legally licensed each song I use for film projects, but the videos that were flagged were posted before licensing sites were so ubiquitous. I should have removed them.
That being said, it would have been nice if Vimeo sent a quick warning email that said something like…
Hey loyal customer of 9 years,
Your video was flagged by a record label and they want to hunt down your family and eat your children. In the meantime, we are going to make your video private, which will give you a moment to either dispute the claim (which I wouldn’t have in this case) or remove the video file and safely save it (which I would have done).
Love always and forever,
Your pal of 9 years, Vimeo
Instead the email looked like this:
While waiting for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree (that ride is like a 6 out of 10) I had to text my buddy Tony (aka my hero) and give him my login credentials for Vimeo so he could log on and make all of my videos private, so I didn’t receive a third strike. Thanks, Tony.
We get it, “three strikes you’re out is catchy.” However, in baseball, you have a moment to breathe between pitches. If you receive your third strike, in most cases, you get to bat again. Your team isn’t obliterated. I got a text from a buddy last week who experienced the same thing.
See that, three strikes all at once. You’re out. No more baseball for you.
I made the decision to switch my video library to YouTube for the following 3 reasons:
1 – Vimeo isn’t what it used to be: When I joined Vimeo, it was really the only premium streaming option for wedding filmmakers (does that term make me sound fancy?) and it was the industry-standard for hosting so to speak. Today, there are many resources for wedding videographers (and video creators in general). YouTube does have ads, but that is a revenue stream for artists and I won’t get sued. Win-win. Also, the difference in compression between YouTube and Vimeo is negligible considering most people watch videos on their phones. To top it all off, once I stop paying Vimeo for my Plus account, they will delete all of the videos I uploaded while being a Plus member…so like everything. I understand they have to pay the bills and servers are expensive, but this is a ridiculous measure for the company to take. I will not renew my account in 2019.
2 – SEO – We always ask clients how they found us and a majority of our clients find us on Google (or Instagram, but I will save that for another post). Google owns YouTube, which means YouTube is prioritized in search results. There may be some Bing users left it in the world, but most humans rely on Google for search results. We are happy to provide the content, if Google produces the results. I can count on two fingers (which also happens to be the amount of strikes I have) the number of client referrals I have gotten from Vimeo over the past two years.
3 – The rise of YouTube as a platform for creators – YouTube has continued to evolve over the years. YouTube channels, as you likely know, are now fully customizable, which wasn’t the case back in 2011 when I joined Vimeo. YouTube may still be full of amateur vloggers and silly videos, but there are also a ton of legit professionals using it to host amazing content. YouTube is free and is more popular than ever. I am happy to ride the wave. Feel free to subscribe here 😉
Though my tone may be snarky, I am legitimately bummed out by the lack of support Vimeo provided through this process. I would have loved even an hour notice before giving me the strike. I acknowledge my fault and will continue to use licensed songs. I don’t like Coldplay that much anyway.