I've been really excited to see the feedback about the new Web License. Asking people to pay to embed a video has raised questions and responding to them has been an interesting experience. If nothing else, it's eye-opening to see what people are assuming about our business.
For example, Mike Masnick at Techdirt wrote an article called "Viral Video Producers Want To Charge You to Embed Their Videos." Then, Steven Hodson at Inquisitor follow up the Techdirt article with "Common Craft Seems to Forget What Makes Viral Video... Well Viral."
Both these articles assume (mostly incorrectly) a few things:
1. Viral video is our business/marketing model
2. YouTube is required to build a business on video
3. Our Web License is focused on viral distribution
It's really interesting to me that, after 3 years of making nearly 30 of our own videos, people still think we're a viral video company. We haven't had a viral hit in a very long time, or thought we could build a business on viral videos. In fact, I'm not sure successful businesses can be sustained that way. I assumed, perhaps optimistically, that a visit to our web site would make that clear.
Now I'm wondering if what has appeared on a few blogs is a widely held perception? Are we not explaining our own business well enough?
The truth is, we make high quality educational videos - videos that help organizations and individuals accomplish goals. These are videos (unlike most viral videos) that people are happy to pay to license because they are useful. The best we can do is make a quality product and attract people and organizations that want to buy it. Part of this strategy is making commoncraft.com the home of our videos - not a host like YouTube.
The Web License model is something that (as far as we know) has never been offered before. In the context of purely viral videos, it would be a very difficult model. But the value of our videos is not so much in blog posts or viral distribution, it's in solving problems for people and organizations whose job is to inform and educate others, on and off the web. That's where you'll find us in the future.