By now you know that I've been hooked on YouTube for a number of months now (watch my videos here). If you are also among the 'Tubers, you know that for some weeks now the site has been plagued by technical issues, mostly revolving around the messaging systems.
You'd think by now a basic email application would be easy to build into a site and keep up, but apparently not so. Worse than the constant error messages has been the complete lack of communication from YouTube staff on what's happening, or if there's any hope of a fix.
Enter LiveVideo.com. It looks an awful lot like YouTube, but the video quality is a bit better and the audio blows you away with full, true, stereo sound. Oh, and the messaging systems work.
This week it seemed like a mass exodus occured once certain notable 'Tubers began to promote their LiveVideo vlogs on the 'Tube. I, too, have claimed my username (kenrg) and started to cross-post my videos. A few people have made Farewell to YouTube videos and shifted over entirely.
(There have even been a few conspiracy-minded 'Tubers asking if LiveVideo could be a project of YouTube itself to test out new features before rolling them into the original.)
Now, today, YouTube has finally mentioned the technical issues on their blog, "Our engineers looked into it and discovered an over-enthusiastic spam filter." We'll see if that cures anything. It may be too little too late.
YouTube is still far and away the market leader when it comes to online video. But the ease and speed with which a small competitor can snag a large group of their users should be a wake up call to them. In the Internet age there are no customer loyalty guarantees. In the time it takes to shut down a site for overnight maintenance another site can cast its spell on your users.
Yes, I said I opened an account at LiveVideo. I like a lot of the features that they've introduced (and that wild stereo sound), but I'm not leaving YouTube yet. I'm still rooting for them to get their act together. I'm also betting on their new masters from Google giving them a swift kick in the pants.