The pitfalls of putting advertising on your videos

I started putting video on the web back in the mid-’90’s, when the only codecs around were Cinepak(Quicktime), Windows Media(early), and MPEG-1. Youtube hadn’t even been dreamed of back then; you had to host your own videos. The content creation and encoding tools were very limited, and incredibly primitive. I left my job as a network administrator to become a video compressionist for a startup, and my new management didn’t have any idea how difficult it was to deliver quality content, when you are driving the encoding equivalent of a Model A.

Meanwhile, I was trying to find advertising to put on my content. One of the early forays into that arena was with; I was hand-editing every single web page, with complicated Windows Media parameters. The pay rate was favorable to begin with, but after a few weeks, I started noticing that they were only serving up preroll ads before every 2nd or 3rd video playback. A few months after that, they weren’t serving up any ads at all. A year later, and all of the hand-coding that I had done, that was pointed to their web server, was suddenly not working. My videos weren’t playing, and the company eventually disappeared. AOL now owns the URL, but there’s no website for it.

One of the more notable failed attempts that I experienced was with They had some seed money, that they used to create a cool platform, and they were serving up ads. They had a good support forum, and noble intentions. So I started a blog for my content, hoping to automate the procedure with the Revver WordPress plugin. After awhile the problems with the platform weren’t being addressed, and the company got sold to someone who refused to honor the previous commitments that the company had made. A number of very upset content creators never got paid, and all of us had to rework our html and our video footage once again.

Fast forward to 2013. I once again gave my current content to a recent startup, named Blip.TV. They also had a good platform, and they paid on time. Last fall I got an automated email stating that I was being paid the balance of my Blip earnings, but nothing more. A few weeks later, I noticed that the content that I had deliberately chosen to give to Blip instead of Youtube, was no longer playing back from my websites. There was an error message in the Blip.TV video window, something about the terms of service? It seems that Blip.TV was bought out/merged/whatever with a company called Maker, that apparently has over 60,000 channels on Youtube. The Maker T.O.S. says that they want only web series, not quality niche video. One of the examples of the kind of content that they kept was video of a couple of guys dressed in white, squirting themselves down with some kind of liquid. I guess that someone thought that it was funny? I wasn’t very amused when Maker cut off my content streaming, without even the courtesy of an email to me. The content just suddenly disappeared, but at least I think that I got paid everything that I was owed.

I suspect that, in the end, Maker will go the way of Revver and Like many these days, they are trying to hedge their bets against Youtube, the 800lb gorilla in the room. When I gave content to Blip.TV instead of Youtube, I was trying to do something similar, and now I’m paying for it. The lesson for you, the content creator, is that you always have to hedge your bets, and be prepared for the worst. You’ll have to re-encode content repeatedly over the years, and if you give any kind of content to Youtube, Facebook, whatever, the website page that those companies create with your content won’t belong to you.

Dan Euritt

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