Video Advertising

Post - December 16, 2011

I try not to make a habit of discussing things like advertising on this site. As much as I tend to be a “community guy”, business decisions are not made by committee and asking people what they think of increased advertising usually ends up in a very bad place. So this is really just my way of informing you of changes and the reasons why.

First, a little history. If you’ve been with us since the beginning, you probably know how I feel about things like video pre-roll ads. In fact, I just blogged about this recently on my personal blog. Pre-roll ads are pervasive on the internet and most folks are pretty much used to them. But because we have sponsors on this site, I never felt compelled to use them for financial gain. I want the viewer’s experience to be as convenient and pleasurable as possible. That sentiment holds true today. But after having a conversation with our content host, Blip.tv, it’s pretty clear things are a-changing! I was informed that if I do not turn on video ads, I will most likely be looking for my own video hosting solution very soon.

Now if you don’t play in the world of web video, you might not know how big of a deal this is. Just for reference, the Guild videos are hosted on a paid server and I pay hundreds of dollars per month to serve those up to what amounts to a very limited audience. Imagine what the cost would be to serve our free archive of videos where download numbers are over 2 million per year! Something like that could do do some serious damage to our bottom line.

So as I see it, we have no choice but to comply by turning on the ads. How does this affect you? Well, it might not. If you download our videos using the links above the video player or if you use something like iTunes or our mobile applications, it doesn’t affect you at all. The ONLY place these pre-roll videos show up is in the embedded player on our site. The ads are typically 30 seconds and they can cover just about product. We have no control over what ads show up.

*UPDATE* Blip.tv is now removing the ability to share our video files directly on our site as this bypasses their ad system. Currently, the only way to download the videos without ads is to use iTunes. We are hoping to develop a solution as soon as possible.

This is certainly not ideal, but I can’t begrudge the host’s decision. We have been receiving low-cost bandwidth for over 5 years now and turning on ads is a small price to pay for the service we currently enjoy. I just wanted to make sure everyone knew exactly why this change was taking place before the complaints start rolling in.

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