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VidCompare Puts Online Video Platform Comparison Shopping At Your Fingertips
Launched last month, the VidCompare site lets users search and compare from among 58 online video platform providers to find the solution that best fits their needs.
Mon., Nov. 9, by Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen
Learn more about the companies mentioned in this article in the Sourcebook:
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We're just over a week away from the first Online Video Platform Summit in San Jose Nov. 18-19, and the timing couldn't be better for the event. Of all the topics we cover at StreamingMedia.com, the online video platform (OVP) space has been the most popular in the months since we first published Jan Ozer's article "Choosing an Online Video Platform"in April.

Obviously, we're not the only ones covering the space. Just last week, Forrester Research issued a report ranking six of the leading OVPs (Brightcove, Fliqz, Kaltura, Ooyala, Twistage, and VMIX) based on criteria including everything from platform features, scalability, and integration to product strategy, pricing, and market presence. But with several dozen OVPs in the space, the Forrester Report only captures a small, if important, part of the picture. The goal of the Online Video Platform Summit is to help attendees figure out for themselves what features they need in an OVP and draw their own conclusions on which is the best fit for them.

That's also the goal of a compelling new website, VidCompare, which bills itself as a "free comparison service for business looking for an online video platform provider." It's aimed at large corporations and small-to-medium-sized business alike, and uses data collected from the platform vendors themselves as well as independent research to let users search based on their own needs and criteria for the OVP that best suits what they're looking for.

vidcompare

VidCompare was launched in September by Kristopher Drey and Alex Polonsky. Polonsky and Drey both spent years building comparison engines for CNET Networks—including for Download.com and Shopper.com—before Drey joined Fliqz three years ago as vice president of product marketing.

So the first question out of most people's mouths is "How can I trust VidCompare when one of its founders is a VP at one of the very OVPs the site compares?" Drey is well aware of the potential accusations of bias and conflict of interest, but hopes that the quality of data and comparison on the site speaks for itself. "I'm deeply passionate about the space in general, and I can only say to you so many times that I'm unbiased," Drey says. "It's going to have to come with you looking at the site, doing search after search. VidCompare is a data-driven business, if there's any bias, it's in the data itself."The 60 platforms compared on VidCompare are organized on the site by category (video publishing, video marketing, and productivity), delivery (progressive download, live streaming, and mobile streaming), community (viral, publish to search engines, and MRSS feeds), and payment structure (subscription, by delivery, and revenue share).

VidCompare's category breakdown—publishing, marketing, and productivity—is unique, and bears a little more explanation. Drey defines the categories as follows:

Video Publishing—Businesses who typically have a catalog of videos or are prepared to begin shooting and collecting videos that will be placed on their website and distributed via the web for general or paid consumption.

Video Marketing—Businesses looking to promote their company or web site using online video by means of further exposing their brand, increasing site stickiness and length of stay, viral distribution and syndication, and new revenue models.

Productivity—Businesses who need an internal training solution for their employees or a collection of help and how-to video content to be used within a secure environment with multiple log-ins, and accounts.

Beyond the category, delivery, community, and payment structure buckets, users can drill down by the size of business the platforms service and other criteria (including ad support, analytics, APIs, metadata, video format, editing, and several others) to return a list of platforms that match what the user is looking for. Then, as with familiar shopping sites, users can select several platforms and compare them side-by-side. "We wanted to make sure that users can slice or dice anyway they want," Drey says.To further ward off any accusations of favoritism or bias, the search and listings returns are randomized—everytime you refresh a list, the order is different, so that every platform has a fair shot at getting "above the fold" results. "Anyone can show up at the top or bottom any time in any given search," Drey says.The site does accept advertising, both directly and via Google AdSense and the OpenX Market. Vendors can also purchase enhanced listings as well as a spot in the "provider showcase" in the upper-right-hand corner of the home page, but none of this will have any effect on the comparison process itself, Drey says.

Right now, the site is text and data-only, but Drey says that he and Polonsky are working on "phase two" of the site, which will feature player galleries and video demos from providers as well as an "OVP Decision Wizard" that will walk users through a list of questions to help lead them to a list of providers that most closely match their queries.

VidCompare is the first offering from Drey's company, called Compare Services. In the future, he says he hopes to create a "broad network" of comparison sites focusing on areas such as live streaming, mobile video, and content delivery networks.

Drey will be a panelist at the Online Video Platform Summit in the opening session, "Defining Online Video Platforms," at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.