Well it’s a new year and I wanted to give you folks a little heads up concerning what’s on deck and what’s on my mind.
It’s going to be a very busy year for me. The Guild is now on a schedule building 4 projects per year. Sadly, that doesn’t leave me with as much time for free content production as I’d like. So I plan on trying a few experiments where we provide heavily edited versions of Guild projects as “episodes” on the free site. Of course we’ll continue to provide technique and product-related videos as well as our Whisper Minis. I am also in the process of getting some help on the business and editing side of things. We have a lot of content just sitting on the hard drive waiting for someone to take the time to edit it down. On deck are the following: a wooden-geared clock project from Guest host Rick Urschel, a tour of the Thorsen House with Darrell Peart, my Clear Vue Cyclone and ductwork installation, and a free version of the Dogon Platform Bed project.
The New Book
Woohoo! I’m writing a new book! This will be a full-size book on the topic of Hybrid Woodworking and it’s backed by a major publisher. So obviously the pressure is on. In fact, I’m writing this blog post when I really should be writing! This project is pretty massive for someone like me and it will easily consume the next few months. If you don’t hear from me for a while, you now know why! I suppose it’s time to put on my hipster glasses and head to Starbucks.
I wrote an article in late 2011 about our Video Advertising in an effort to explain our situation. You’d be surprised how many complaints we get each week about the fact that our videos have ads, but I digress. Unfortunately, the video situation is getting worse before it gets better. Our host, Blip.tv, no longer supports direct downloads of videos. Direct downloads bypass their advertising system and consequently, they are now blocking them. This is why you no longer see download links posted with each video. Currently, the only surefire way to get the videos on your hard drive is to use iTunes. If you’re using something else to download the videos, it’s only a matter of time before Blip.tv blocks that too.
This has caused us to start searching for a new way to present and host our videos. No big deal, right? Wrong. You might be surprised to know that our silly little videos are now being viewed/downloaded over 3 Million times a year! With over 230 episodes in the archive and more being added each year, that number won’t be getting smaller any time soon. Further complicating things is the fact that we like to provide not only the standard web version of our videos, but also a high quality HD version for set-top boxes like AppleTV, Tivo, and also local television networks. It’s a recipe for some very expensive hosting bills and it’s the reason why just about any other major player in the woodworking world does not allow their videos to be downloaded. Well, I would imagine the desire to keep people on their website is an even larger driving force, but that’s just not how we work. The sad fact is the days of “free” podcast hosting are dead and gone. The landscape of online video has evolved and we must evolve with it.
I WANT to provide advertising-free videos. I WANT to let you download our videos at any time on any platform. And I WANT to produce oodles of free content for the world to enjoy. But there are now technical, logistical, and financial reasons why these things might not be realistic anymore. We are researching our options and if there is any way for us to continue to allow unlimited free downloads of our videos, without putting us in the poor house, I will.
And just a quick note for those of you who know something about online video hosting and are prepared to tell me about Vimeo, YouTube, or something else. All of these online services have one thing in common: they don’t give you permalink access to your files for direct download. Putting the video into an embedded player is not the problem. YouTube will provide that service for free. The real issue is hosting our video files for direct download.
Well, that’s it folks. Thanks for sticking with us for all these years and I hope this sort of “inside baseball” transparency helps you understand what we do and why we do it. As much as some people like to think we are a big corporation with numerous employees and deep pockets, we are still the same small family-run business we have always been. We are just a lot busier now and our newest employee is still in diapers!