When Icrontic first started to do video content, we needed a place to host it. We didn’t really want to use YouTube because of various restrictions on quality, and the craptastic “mentality-of-a-12-year-old” userbase. We opted for Vimeo because the quality was superb and the embedding options were nice. The availability of HD content pretty much sealed the deal.
We started off our relationship with Vimeo in a gentle way: we posted up a video of a reviewer submerging a Gelid fan in water and we posted a short clip of a funny exchange over beers in the kitchen of ICHQ. Everything was peachy.
Before we went to E3, I jumped in and paid for a premium account because I knew we would need Vimeo to be a part of our toolbox; I thought I had all my bases covered.
Until the fateful day of the Nintendo press conference…
The Nintendo press conference had some good stuff in there; on the way out of the Nokia Theatre, we were handed little cards with the press kit address on them. The press kit contained all the trailers we saw just minutes beforehand. Our team rushed back to the E3 media lounge to get this stuff up on the web. People wanted to see things like the Metroid Other M trailer and the New Super Mario Bros.
The internet access at the E3 press lounge was shot to hell. I made a plea to the guys back at home base: Please download this stuff and get it up to our Vimeo account ASAP! They came through and it was downloaded and posted in short order. Our Nintendo press conference article went up and we were one of the first on the web with the new trailers.
For an hour or so.
I then got an email from Vimeo:
Your video ‘Metroid: Other M – E3 press vid(4968641)’ has been removed for violating the Upload Rules of Vimeo.com:
Vimeo does not allow TV shows, movie trailers, or stuff you found on the web.
Alright, fair enough. I could see how they made the mistake. I responded with a simple “We are authorized press – received directly from Nintendo assets site”.
Then I noticed that they took down all of our game trailers, including The Saboteur that I got from their asset kit, and the other Nintendo trailers.
But wait… That wasn’t all they did. They disabled embedding of all content on our site, even the things we had made ourselves. Sure, the videos were still available by going directly to Vimeo.com and going into our account, but embedding was gone, so every occurrence of a video on our site was replaced with a block that said “embedding has been disabled for this site.”
I emailed them again, asking why this was. They responded:
We see that you are uploading videos you did not make. We’re sorry, but our Terms specify that Vimeo is for uploading videos you create only, and we cannot host this content for you. “I have permission from the creator” does not count as making it. We also do not allow videos from TV, Movies, or something you ripped from the Web. Please take 48 hours to remove the offending content.
I understand their position. Even though I didn’t have TV or Movies, nor had I “ripped” anything from the web. Still, I picked up what they were laying down. Fine. We removed the content that we had not created– namely the trailers listed above.
So we got screwed out of our embedded video content during E3 (when it was very important), and life went on.
Then a few days later, I received another email:
Your video ‘Decals: When will you grow up?(2730963)’ has been removed for violating the Upload Rules of Vimeo.com:
Vimeo does not allow game walk-throughs, game strategy videos, depictions of player vs. player battles, raids, or any other video gaming video that simply depicts individuals playing a video game.
We made that video! What gives? I emailed them:
We have removed all content that we have not created ourselves. Please re-enable content on our site as soon as possible – we are trying to cover E3 here.
To which I received no response.
A week has gone by. I noticed that all embedded videos were still down for Icrontic. Now I was getting very frustrated. I emailed them this morning:
Subject: Still no embedding on Icrontic Gaming
Hello! I paid for a year of Vimeo so we could publish content, and you guys are kind of screwing me over. I understand we can’t have any footage of video game capture; you’ve made that quite clear.
Can you PLEASE re-enable embedding on gaming.icrontic.com IMMEDIATELY so we can continue to publish video content? If this isn’t rectified today I’d like a full refund and I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.
Their response was not really a response at all:
We have processed your refund. Please allow a few days for the credit to appear on your card.
Community Assistant – vimeo.com
I was hoping for some kind of engagement here as clearly I wanted to continue working with them. All I wanted was for them to re-enable embedding for our content that did not violate any terms of service. We shot video of interviewing The Saboteur developers; we had video of us being goofy at a party; all things we had shot and produced ourselves. There was no reason for this content to be disabled.
Now I am pretty livid. We paid for our content. We haven’t had it available on our website for over a week and we even followed their rules and removed the “offending” content. Instead of re-establishing our account like I asked, they simply processed a refund.
Oh, and just because I had drawn attention to my account, they made sure to follow up with another semi-threatening email:
A moderator has marked your account for review for the following reason:Please take the next 72 hours to remove your content from Vimeo. Your purchase of Vimeo Plus has been refunded.
Uploading game walk-throughs, game strategy videos, depictions of player vs. player battles, raids, or other videos that simply depict individuals playing a video game.
We will monitor your account to determine whether you are in compliance with our rules. If you are not, your account will be removed by a moderator.
Now it seems like they just want all of our content gone. I didn’t ask for that. Clearly I was still willing to keep my account on Vimeo for our own content. Now they’re just being jerks.
I started looking elsewhere; I heard a few people mention Blip.TV
I went to Blip.TV and carefully read their terms of service. Sure enough, there was the clause: no video game content and no video game trailers. Their explanation was in plain English: it costs a lot to host this content, we don’t get much value for it, there are other sites that specialize in this, here’s a list, etc.
That’s fine. Fair enough. I won’t even bother signing up, and I appreciate their candidness. But then, I got a note from long time Icrontic member Septimus. He said “Kotaku uses Blip.TV.”
Skeptical, I checked. Sure enough, Kotaku is using Blip.TV to host their trailers, playthroughs, everything. Curious.
I wanted to find out if there was a special program for this. I emailed Blip.TV:
We’re considering moving our video content from Vimeo because they will not allow us to post video game trailers or playthrough content. I was about to sign up for Blip.TV but then noticed that your TOS indicates you don’t allow video game content. That said, I notice that Kotaku is using your site for exactly that. I need to understand clearly before I bother transferring content over: Can we post game trailers and other video game related content? Or did you make a special exception for Kotaku because of their size? Thank you!
They responded quickly:
We focus on providing services to people who are making original, episodic content. Unfortunately gaming videos don’t fit this definition.You may want to check out GameTube <http://www.gametube.org/> — a site that looks like an excellent resource for people who want to share videos of themselves or others playing video games.
To which I responded:
Okay that’s fine, but why is Kotaku allowed to post this forbidden content?
And lo and behold, I’ve gotten no response.
The point here is twofold: First, read the TOS carefully for any service you sign up for. Clearly I didn’t read the TOS for Vimeo and I broke the rules. They responded, I responded, everything was fine right up until they refused to re-enable our legitimate content and then, instead of engaging me, they simply refunded my money curtly. It was a very unprofessional way to go about things. And two, if you are the size of Kotaku, you can break the rules, it’s fine. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.
UPDATE: AUGUST 30, 2009:
To bump this thread, and continue to highlight the ridiculousness of Vimeo:
We’re about to publish a story about a documentary called “Tilt”; which is a Pinball movie. The trailer for it happens to be available on Vimeo. When we went to embed the video (which we did not make, and which does not violate the ToS), we get a message that embedded content cannot be played on this site.
That means we can never embed ANY Vimeo content on Icrontic. They have blocked us entirely.
How completely unprofessional. Thanks, Vimeo.
On that note, Viddler has been awesome to and for us. We solved our issues by moving our content to Viddler.