Alex Barnett blog


StumbleVideo - a sign of things to come

Mash-ups will be big. Yet, as Dion Hinchcliffe points out, the number of mash-ups released per day may not be huge today (three per day, according to the data on ProgrammableWeb). But they will be on the increase, and the more APIs there are available, the more mashups we'll see.

Some of these mash-ups will take off. Most won't, but that's the nature of experimentation.

Ultimately, the driver of the mash-up scene will be the driven by the ability to create new experiences developed by merging content, data, functionality and services to create create new value out of exisiting parts whilst finding a business model that can work.

The following will be an interesting case study to track in all these respects. Steve Bryant wrote earlier this week:

"while YouTube's "most viewed" will always be an appealing curiosity, what we really want is the best content and the content that appeals to us as culling and directing us to the best content will be the next big success stories"

Yup, dead on. So, from theory to practice: if the content is there, and the APIs are available, and if Steve's observation is true, then it seems inevitable that someone will run with this idea and make it real by 'adding value' along the way. On cue, in steps StumbleVideo - over to Andy Beal:

"For those of you not familiar with StumbleUpon, it’s a fast growing community founded in 2001, with 1.6 million people “Stumbling” roughly 4 million times each day. When joining, users select topics of interest and then asked to rate web sites presented to them, with a “thumbs-up” or “thumbs-down”. Users can also share their favorites, view their friends’ content, tag and submit new web pages."

I've played around with it tonight. It has a lot of promise - think of StumbleVideo as 'people who liked also liked this'. Collaborative filtering for online video content. As Pete Cashmore of Mashable describes it:

"Just like Pandora or, StumbleVideo uses your ratings to find more videos you might like, and it also allows you to email a link to your friends. What’s more, StumbleVideo can connect you to people who also enjoyed that particular clip."

 Simple. Brilliant. Obvious. The timing is perfect. A missed trick by YouTube/Goolgle?

Back to Andy who points out a potential stumbling block:

"the question of what reaction MySpace, YouTube and Google will have to their content being displayed by a competing video provider. While StumbleVideo doesn’t have any direct relationships with the content providers (Feller says they are working on it), they are using the APIs provided by each of the video hosts. This arrangement should be acceptable, after all, why provide an API, if you don’t want companies to develop mash-ups. However, it would certainly be in Stumble’s best interests to establish formal syndication relationships ASAP, just in case Google or MySpace decides not to share their toys or place limits on the API."

Key point, to repeat:

"why provide an API, if you don’t want companies to develop mash-ups"

Sure, YouTube could switch the APIs off. From what I know, I've not seen anything of interest that has taken advantage of the their APIs to date that would be affected if they did this. The kneejerk, old economics reaction would be to do what Andy hints at - cut a deal or get choked off. What has YouTube got to lose by turning off the API lights? Distribution. The networks are getting behind YouTube/Google. They'll want their cut.

And what for Stumble? Here's the thing. Stumble has a huge user base and YouTube is one of many. What if the Stumble folk didn't want to 'cut a deal', the kind of deal based on some kind of exclusivity. What if they wanted to work with others and do a revenue share with many? That might make sense.

So what about the amateur content creators, the real force behind YouTube? Wouldn't they want a cut? Maybe not, if all they are after is a decent place to host video content and ability to share.

I don't pretend to have the answers, but I do know this StumbleVideo move will be significant and a further sign of things to come. What an interesting example of how many opportunities are emerging in this increasingly networked world.


Update: I pinged John Musser of ProgrammableWeb about the Mash-up numbers above and he explained the 3-per-day number is for six months - for the past two months the average has been 5.2 per-day on his, the range being 3 to 10 per day.

"There were 21 mashups tagged "video" in the first half of the year, and 52 so far in the second half. So, essentially over twice as many per month using those APIs, essentially mirroring the rise in popularity of video online."

Robert Scoble's got an interview with StumbleUpon's chief architect, Garrett Camp, and David Feller, VP of marketing.


Steve said:

I don't have any answers here either, but there's another thing to think about: how does StumbleUpon make money?

Right now they use the old "linkexchange" model, where most of the stumbles are user-generated but once in a while they serve a paid placement.  It'll be interesting to see how they do this with video.  Presumably the paid placements still get hosted on YouTube,Google,etc. in which case they're muscling in on the deals that those sites are trying to strike with content providers.  They'll need a lot more viewers before they nullify the benefits of hosting on YouTube, but they could probably already swamp some of the smaller video sites with hits that generate no revenue.  It also increases the likelihood that providers could choose to self-host their paid placements.  So the added dimension is that this model is sort of an attack on hosts, where the webpage stumbling model never was...

# December 14, 2006 11:12 AM

Deepak said:

That's the part about a lot of these services, many of which are incredibly useful, that I can't quite put my finger on.  In this day and age, the old model of exclusivity and content protection will probably not hold muster (and it probably shouldn't), but then where do the revenues come from?  The old "page view" model is also not going to work with all these mashups and APIs around.  It's going to be very interesting how in a world full of StumbleVideo's, Widgets and RSS (hopefully with content filtering), people can make reasonable amounts of money.  Or am I missing something?

# December 15, 2006 12:32 PM

TrackBack said:

# December 16, 2006 7:49 PM blog said:

Richard MacManus et al have published their web predictions for 2007 (prompting me to update the list

# December 20, 2006 11:35 AM

Robin Good's Latest News said:

Have you been trying to find some cool internet video only to waste a lot of time to find little or nothing? You are not alone. Nonetheless the huge amount of video content now accessible online, finding the quality part...

# January 10, 2007 2:46 AM