As a follow-up to my previous rant on Blip.tv, CEO Mike Hudack left me a message. I’m reprinting it here in full:
I’m the CEO of blip.tv and one of the founders.
I’m sorry that you had a bad experience. And I’m happy that you’re writing about it and giving us a chance to a) answer you, and b) get better. I’ll address your post point by point.
Overall, I’ll emphasize this: we’re dedicated to providing a great viewer experience while making money for show producers. We’re constantly working to balance these priorities, and no one should ever have the experience you’ve had. I’m working with our VP of Revenue Operations, SVP of Sales and EVP of Operations to address your complaints.
Also, I’m around all day. Feel free to call me at xxxxxxxxxxxx if you want to vent more. I’m leaving on vacation at 9p eastern tonight, so try to reach me before 7p or so… otherwise I may not be able to get back to you ntil I get back home :)
So, without further ado, your points…
1) “I couldn’t embed these movies like I wanted to.” – This should just work. The only reason I can think that this wouldn’t work is if you’re using WordPress.com or certain versions of WordPress that block certain embeds. We’re working with WordPress on fixing this, in the meantime there’s a workaround that someone in the comments mentioned.
2) “The same ad. All the time. Every time.” We have a system that, on our destination site, only shows one preroll ad per five minutes. We use different policies on different sites, so it’s possible that you’re viewing in a place where we don’t have that same user experience setting in place. Note that you have to watch a complete ad before your five minute counter starts — this is to prevent people from just refreshing as soon as the ad plays and not watching any ads at all. Please remember that these ads don’t just make us money. They make the show producer money, too. Our mission is to make a sustainable living for producers.
3) “Their servers are crap.” We have extensive monitoring in place to ensure that we’re consistently delivering video to people as they watch it and that there’s an absolute minimum in stalling and buffering. We also use Akamai for video delivery, the world standard in content delivery networks.
If you’re having problems with buffering please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your IP address. We’ll check the connection between our servers and your computer and we can also do live tests to see how streaming is going and if it’s working.
4) “Pop-up ads pop up too often.” We don’t do pop-up ads. We do, however, serve “overlay” ads that cover the lower third of the video player for a few seconds. Clicking “Close” on them shouldn’t pause your video. The ad should just go away. If this isn’t the case please e-mail email@example.com and tell us what ad this happened with.
5) “Pop-up ads are too big.” They shouldn’t be. They should only cover the bottom third of the video player. And they should scale to be smaller on smaller players. A few days ago we had a problem with one of our ad providers sending through larger overlays, and we’ve disabled those campaigns. If you’re still seeing them that’s a problem.
6) “Pop-up ads punish the viewer.” I don’t think that overlay ads that really only cover the lower third punish the viewer. I think they’re actually less intrusive and annoying than thirty second prerolls. Producers who use blip have the option of turning different ad formats on and off, so if they don’t want overlays they don’t have to run overlays.
7) “Volume of ads is far louder than the content, and the volume button is wonky.” I think this is a real problem and we’re working on a solution. The problem is that all of the shows are mastered at different volume levels, and so are the ads. We’re working to come up with a sustainable solution to this.
Co-founder & CEO, blip.tv
The best part of this isn’t that he personally posted on my blog. The best part is that he acknowledged the problems and didn’t try to “re-frame”, divert, or even refute my assertions. This is about the healthiest response Blip.tv could possibly have. It’s an exceptionally rare response for any company larger than 20 people. Especially an internet company.
So, credit where it’s due. Good on these guys. I look forward to seeing the improvements to the service.
(I posted this in “rants”, simply so it would follow the previous post in the archives.)