Sunday, March 02, 2014

Working Hard To Get Back To Normal - Viddler Shuts Down Free Accounts

Blog videos need to be hosted somewhere on a server. (So do photos - but Blogspot automatically puts them on Picassa.)  When I put up my first video - about ten seconds of a street scene in Amritsar, India - I put it on YouTube.  But YouTube was the big player and I as I looked around for other video server platforms, I found Viddler.  It let me put up bigger files, they looked better, I could insert comments.  There were lots of advantages.

So I opened an account and began loading up my video on Viddler.  Over time, YouTube got bought by Google (who also owns Blogspot), but I stayed loyal to Viddler.  A while ago - maybe a year, maybe a little longer - someone at Viddler sent me an email saying they were shutting down their free video hosting service and I could by a professional membership.  I wrote back I'd been an early supporter and that I have a lot of hits on my blog and people get to see Viddler's name on my videos.  I also talked about how hard it would be to download all the videos, upload them onto YouTube, and then re-embed them into my posts.  I suggested grandfathering in people like me.  They said fine and dropped their plan.

But I got nervous and began uploading most of my video onto you YouTube.  And a couple of weeks ago I got the email I assumed would eventually come:  They're dropping the free video hosting and I have until March 11 to download my videos before they close the account.  Or I can pay $300 a year to keep being hosted by them.  Is that a lot for the video hosting?  I don't know.  I tend to be an anti-consumer.  I think too many people are willing to shell out whatever their cable or phone company tells them.  They just have to have the latest goodies.  Even when the company is making huge profits.  Even when it means the consumer goes further into debt each year.  And that $300 a year is forever if I want to keep the videos showing up on my blog.

So I'm spending a lot of time now downloading my videos from Viddler.  (I do have them on external hard drives, but this way I'm getting them in chronological order with dates that will make it easier to figure out which posts they are in.  And then I'll have to upload them to YouTube.  And then I'll have to re-embed them into the posts they're in.

So, I get to do all this work - there are 535 videos on Viddler - and it will take from blogging time, and I'm sure it will take me longer than the deadline to get them all back into the posts they are in.

Here's a screenshot of my Viddler account.  This is eight of the 535 videos.  I have to hit edit, then manage, the click on the file.  In some cases there's a different file format and I have to play with that and change the name from Viddler's identification (numerical) to what I named the video. 

I figure about 8-10 hours to download, then the time to get them up on YouTube and embedded back here.   If it were just a one time $300 charge, it would be worth it.  But a continuing charge forever?  No.

Working hard just to stay where I am.

And I suspect a lot of stuff people are storing free on 'the cloud' somewhere, is going to get a fee one day.  And you're going to have to make a similar decision about whether to pay or find another way.  And there's no guarantee that YouTube won't do the same thing one day.  And slowly, but surely, the easy access we've had to be our own publishers, is going to disappear.  

[UPDATE March 11, 2014.  It was more than 10 hours, but it's mostly done.  Here's a new post on what I've done and replacing the old Viddler videos with YouTube videos.]


  1. What is actually needed is an automated way to handle this linking and relinking when necessary. I bet you'd pay to use that right now.

  2. This whole thing sucks. I know there is no such thing as getting something for 'free', and I should have learned my lesson after investing so much time Ning (only for it to shift to a fee-paying service one we were all hooked). But it still sucks. I don't have nearly as many videos as you did, but the ones I did have were embedded all over the place...sigh. Le internet.

    1. Kelli, I guess I always expected this to happen, but I also didn't want to set up my own 24 hour a day server to put up my videos. I think that we are still living through the wild west period of the internet, but corporate forces are working to take control. I don't think their intent is to crush all the voices (tho it is the intent for some), but it's to make lots of money.


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