If we call it “video hosting”…

“It’s not you, it’s me…”  Those classic words from the worst of breakups.  When you spin that to the relationship between yourself and a social-media platform, specifically a video hosting service, then it’s about you.  “Really, it’s all about you. Hang it around your neck, let it cause you back issues and run up your chiropractic bill.  I hope it keeps you up at night.  Hugs and kisses, signed: yet another client you lost due to your own arrogance and stupidity.”

“No, David, don’t hold back on us.  Tell us how you really feel about it!”

It’s a status blog and the struggle has been all too real.  If you happen to read what I have to say on some related rss feed, I hope the information saves you some work and no small amount of your valuable time.

The problem:

They’re a pill.

YouTube, while certainly the biggest and most prolific video hosting service, can certainly help you build an audience and a subscriber list.  That is, if they don’t use their shadow-banning tactics of playing 45 minute commercials on either end of your video with 5 minute commercials interspersed.  Those marketing messages are almost never watched and therefore don’t benefit the channel where the video you are watching is posted.  Those commercials are usually advertisers who YouTube and Google also don’t support for whatever ideological reasons and they use them to demonetize videos (because viewers don’t sit through the long messages) while they charge the marketer for whatever they can.

More blatantly YouTube will regularly hold in question, or “for review” videos that are posted by channels whose content they don’t support while viewers rack up views for which the channel is making no money for their channel on advertising that is still being shown.  While the channel owner is making nothing while “under review”, YouTube is still capping revenue from running ads on the content.  They also tweak their search algorithms to limit appearance of certain channels and related topics in searches which limits the reach of the channel and message of the video.  Sneaky, underhanded, malicious, and lacking in any moral character by any measure.

I had known about all those issues as I have seen them surface on one video content publisher’s channel after another.  I imagine that the FTC and our representatives in Congress might have something to say if more of them knew what “streaming” or “monetization” referred to let alone what “being online” might mean or what a “download” might be.  Half of them would want to check their daily calorie chart if you offered them access to your RSS-feed.

These people who make up rules for our lives that the rest of us are required to dance to are very much behind the times.  While one of our youngest members of Congress might give us hope for approaching modern tech culture, I hold no hope for any understanding of intellectual property rights or how such things could support business and therefore the tax revenues that they count on for purposes that we can discuss on some other politically-oriented blog.

The problems with social media and how they slant all options on the billiard table to roll into their own corner pocket were pulled into crisp focus for me when I took my website to member-access for proprietary video content.   I train and educate people on the financial skills that they should have been offered in high school.  I also offer services and education to help people both accumulate wealth and protect it from those who would gladly take it from them on Wall Street and in taxes at the federal level.

Upgrading the Video Host:

When I considered using my current video host at YouTube, I noticed several issues that defeated the monetization and security of my own content.  The following graphic outlines the issues at YouTube:

An analysis of the paths that lead away from your channel or site back to YouTube’s benefit.

In addition, while I searched for solution with other video hosts, each one as a default offered the viewer on the face of the video player (or easily accessible) the option to download a copy of the video file for which I’m charging access.  If I’m trying to monetize my information and the training I make available, allowing people to download it and distribute it certainly defeats that effort.

If you sign up for a class at a local community college or continuing education series, you get to attend the class, learn the information, and you pay (sometimes handsomely) for the experience.  You can’t rewind, and if you want to repeat the class, you pay again.  I offer training on personal financial skills which many people would benefit from, which they can access in the privacy of their own home, pause, review, and repeat until they really have a command of the content.  That is also offered at a fraction of the price one might pay for similar training at a brick-and-mortar college.  YouTube and other video hosting services simply defuse that entire process by making it possible for others to steal your work.

Vimeo bounced me into “banned” status with my first upload because I didn’t have a premium account for the type of video I posted.  It took me an hour to have my account reset so that I could sign in and delete my account.  They set an email to inquire why I had left.  I explained it to them, “No, no… be assured, it’s you…”  BitChute, an attractive alternative related to a more open and less restricted content, is not tooled to handle proprietary content.  While I offered the BitChute folks some feedback and suggestions, I have yet to get a reply let alone an offer of how they might help.  When I last looked, they were 80% distant from their funding goal for the month, or 20% funded.  I smell a missed opportunity…

The Current Solution:

jetpack logo

I landed at a WordPress affiliate also marketed by Automattic as a component of the popular plugin suite called JetPack.  For $99 annually they offer a suite of utilities which include “video hosting” along with unlimited storage and a CDN or content delivery network.  The CDN, as I understand it, stores your larger files such as graphics and video on servers around the world where the transfer rates and times are less likely to hold up page loads offering a smoother web page viewing experience for your site visitors.  The staff who carry the title “Happiness Engineer” are genuinely nice people seeking to help you with whatever issues you face with their service.  The service, however, is a far cry from the functionality that would allow the platform to perform as a video hosting service.

The other moving part of the solution was the implementation of a video player.  After some initial reviews, I settled on FV Player by Foliovision.  They offer a very robust video player with many, many options to control how your videos play on your site including logo customization (subscription level) and higher level attempts at thwarting downloads and controlling access to your content through HLS, Encrypted HLS, and RTMP technologies.  Before I downloaded their player I had been searching for solutions for days and I found references and guides to this in the online FV Player documentation day one.

By comparison, the JetPack option player only functions as a component of the Gutenberg block editor; recipient of scathingly negative reviews at its inception and an automatic pass for me.  I gave it another chance with my recent JetPack upgrade and my opinion hasn’t changed.  It doesn’t fit the way I work in any way shape or form.

I sent the project lead, who was good enough to contact me directly to assist, a list of items that would need to be addressed if they expect to serve as a video hosting service.  I hope that they address the issues.  The staff are nice, the annual fee is reasonable for a suite of system plug-ins, and the platform being offered, serviced, and already integrated into the popular CMS WordPress has very real possibilities.  I wish them well, though kick-off has been less than a smooth transition!

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