Motionbox – Best Online Video Sharing So Far

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There have been big changes in the online video space since I wrote a comparison post of the companies in the space (Flickrs of Video) last November.

Some things haven’t changed: Flickr still hasn’t released a video product, and YouTube (TechCrunch posts here) is still the reigning champ of online video with just massive traffic growth and mindshare.

But new tools are coming out to make sharing videos online even easier. Both Video Egg and Grouper (TechCrunch posts here and here) have downloadable clients that allow encoding to flash on the desktop (saving users from uploading very large files to the service) and some very basic editing features. Grouper also allows users to string together multiple video files (VideoEgg does not yet allow this). Also, while working from the desktop is easier than online, you must install the software. Grouper is not available on the Mac. VideoEgg has a Mac client that works with Safari, but I cannot get it to install on my new Intel based Mac.

New service Motionbox, which will launch in the next few weeks, goes way beyond all of this. CEO Chris O’Brien and investor Derek Idemoto came by to demo the service to me last week and, well, I’m impressed.

Motionbox doesn’t have a client uploader like Grouper and VideoEgg. You must upload the full video files to the service. And while those uploads are a pain, Motionbox has very good reasons for doing this.

To get what Motionbox is doing, take a YouTube and add a ton of really great editing, mashup and deep tagging features. Like YouTube, Motionbox transcodes files to flash to reduce file size and standardize viewing. But they also store the original files and allow you or those you authorize to download those files and/or purchase DVDs with the files.

Editing and Mashups

I also had a chance to test MotionBox’s video editiing tools. When editing a video, Motionbox breaks it down visually into frames (see screenshot above). Users can edit the file extensively, including linking several video files and removing any portion(s) of files. Mashups with other users’ public or shared videos can also be created using this editing feature. Frankly, this goes way beyond what anyone else is doing, including VideoEgg and Grouper’s current offerings. All of these changes can be pushed back to the original quality files for downloading or DVD burning.

Deep Tagging

Like YouTube and other services, Motionbox allows tagging of video files. But they also allow deep tagging of parts of video files. Open a file (see screenshot above) select a portion of the video, and tag it. Viewers later will be able to skip right to that clip of the video by clicking on the tag. Longer videos can now easily be broken down into linkable pieces. This is a huge leap forward over competiting services.

Chris gave few details on pricing and limitations on files sizes, other than to say that any limits will be time based v. file size based like YouTube (which has a 100 mb file size limitation), and many or all of the restrictions will be lifted for premium users (expect a $25/year premium subscription fee).

Sign up to be notified of the Motionbox launch here.

  • Programmer Helper

    Good Information about SEO.

    • Arshad

      i love seo and that is why i blog about it .

  • weatherman

    When I hear SEO, I think snake-oil. The whole industry is tainted by the stink of pseudo-science. Go to the SEO conference in NY and you’ll see every Tom, Dick and Guido with their own special recipe of SEO that’s guaranteed to beat the competition. I call shenanigans on the whole industry.♦

    • tappingcreativity

      While you are calling shenanigan’s, your competitors who are using SEO are eating your lunch.

    • Ryan Fish

      I too have the same instinct. I think the site’s content should speak for itself and we shouldn’t spend our entire time making a turd look like an organic, dark chocolate brownie.

      That being said, if you write or build a website you want people to see it, and you want it to appear pleasing and efficient to them.

    • Terry

      You are on the money with your thoughts on SEO. Just another avenue for scammers and hucksters to display their wares (snake oil that is).

  • Sandra G

    There are SEO companies to hire, like SEOmoz, and others to avoid, like in almost every industry, there will be some shady people. Some have had great results and are highly respected. If you go with someone to do SEO, always check their portfolio and call their clients.

    • Aaron S.

      Excellent post and I totally agree. If you can talk the talk you better be able to walk the walk.


  • Christopher Olson

    I still don’t get how people can ignore SEO in their sites. Everybody can get their foot in the door with some unique content. Those who complain that content ruins the look and feel of a site need to re-evaluate their design skills.

  • Andrew

    SEO is very important, especially if you don’t have a lot of money to spend on PPC. Make sure you remember to have unique description meta tags that are relevant to your title and content.

  • Curbob

    SEO isn’t easy but it works, just using a couple SEO basics, I’ve taken the website for the company I work for from page 20 on google to #1 and #4 on two terms that have millions of searches. SEO helped alot it also helped that it seems many of our competition isn’t using SEO

  • wayne golliday

    It just goes to show that even the large companies with their million dollar SEO budgets can still fail badly at SEO.

  • links for 2009-02-05 « Brain Music –Gadgets, Neuroscience, Music, Social Media, Health 2.0 & More

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  • mas2124

    This is a great post and the interview sheds a lot of light on SEO for businesses. I agree that SEO is huge, and even though it may seem daunting or like there is not really one right answer, that does not mean we shouldn’t pursue SEO for our companies or even that there aren’t certain fundamental keys that everyone could easily follow: repeat relevant and highly searched terms throughout your site content, don’t overwhelm your site with ads, include key terms in your page titles, etc, etc, etc.

    I do, however, think that Mr. Spencer is writing SEM off too quickly (because it’s in his better interest do so). Of course if money is an issue (as it is with so many people and companies these days), getting clicks for your organic listings is a benefit because it’s free. Bulking up your SEO, however, is not free. Also, even if 85% of people click on organic ads (and that percentage is debatable), the conversion rate on those clicks is actually lower than the conversion rate for clicks on paid search ads, when the query is a term you are bidding on in your PPC campaigns. It’s amazing what being able to tailor the content of the results can do for your business, if you do a good job.

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  • Ben Yoskovitz

    I’ve found smaller companies are more eager to leverage SEO and recognize it’s value.

    And in my business – recruitment – it’s growing quite popular. Companies do recognize the fact that job seekers are using search engines (namely Google) more and more for job hunting (whether they do so passively or actively) and very few companies leverage SEO to attract people. It’s definitely a growing trend in HR / recruiting.

  • Hugo

    I spend most of my waking hours either working on an enterprise SEO program or pitching an SEO program to a Fortune 1000 company.

    I’d say that, more or less, for every one example of a big company ignoring and/or failing at SEO, there’s another company that’s making huge strides in the right direction.

    And remember that, like happiness, SEO is a direction not a destination!

    • weatherman

      spoken like a true snake-oil salesman

  • Andrew Shotland

    SEO is a leap of faith like any other marketing tactic. That said it’s probably more reliable than many other marketing tactics and can have an amazing ROI. The challenge with enterprise SEO is that for most companies it is often not part of a strategy. Usually it’s treated as just another tactic that needs to be bolted onto the hundreds of other priorities – and treated like snake oil.

  • twitch

    My question is this: If you hire an SEO company — why do most of the SEO companies have very little traffic? Shouldn’t their traffic be high or is it that their SEO tactics only apply to OTHER websites?

    • Vengu

      Haa why dont all doctors have aids??


      That’s because SEO is still unknown to many internet users.

      Most people search “entertainment” , “shopping” , “obama” , “paris hilton” , “sports” etc…

      And a website to have many visits it needs to have a lot of content, and SEO sites have less and it’s also focused on SEO which again is not common to all.

  • Warren Schirtzinger

    I don’t understand why anyone would pay money for SEO. It’s so easy, it’s like falling off a log.

    For example, I have no training or experience in SEO and all I did was follow a few tips that I found for free on the Internet. And now I show up #2 on Google (out of over 30 million sites!!!) when you search for “high tech marketing.” It was a near-brainless exercise that anyone could do in a few hours.

    anyone want to buy the golden gate bridge?

    • Stanford

      @Warren Schirtzinger:

      Why would anyone pay someone else to wash their car? It’s so easy.

      For example, I took a sponge and some soap, and next thing I knew my car was clean!

    • Nick Man

      @Warren Schirtzinger:

      Google Trends does not even carry any data on “high tech marketing”. Your shooting blind.

      If your nice to Aaron, maybe he’ll hook you up with a copy of his book ;)

    • Sekhar Ravinutala

      Not to take away from your achievement (which is great), but ranking high is relatively easy if you have the keyword (or part of it) in your domain name. You obviously can’t do that with all the keywords.

  • aaron wall

    @Warren Schirtzinger
    Nice ranking, though does anybody care? Do you rank for anything competitive that gets real search volume?

  • Jeff

    Great info, thanks for posting on the front page of TechCrunch for those of us who don’t usually read TechCrunchIT. Its got me thinking about my own employer and how they are doing with SEO.

  • C vos man

    PageRank is largely based on backlinks, and the SEO’s featured in this article just scored bigtime.

    The definition of an SEO: someone who knows the real value of a link.

  • alquma
  • Shawn Drewry

    Natural SEO is just keeping your content fresh with relevant links. That’s all :-)

    • John Adams

      I totally agree with this. SEO is about writing great content for the audience, refreshing it regularly.

  • Vengu

    ” The Maybelline site is all Flash and not friendly to spiders.”

    You may want to check on that mate! Search engines can off course index flash content!

    • Tom

      Well of course the page can be indexed, it’s a matter of what gets included. If all that is indexed on the page is a reference to an swf file, what good does that get you. Yes, Google announced last year that they can “read” flash now, but that’s still only text in flash files. If, like many do, the words in the flash file are part of an image, it doesn’t get read.

      And indexable or able to read certainly doesn’t equal friendly.

      • Stephan Spencer

        I’ll chime in here too. Tom is right on the money. And indeed, Google has made great strides in extracting text from Flash files. However, Flash “documents” are nonetheless at a disadvantage in the search engines compared to their HTML counterparts because of Flash’s absence of semantic markup. Without the contextual cues of what is a heading vs. a subhead vs. body copy etc., spiders can’t accurately weight more heavily the more important text in the Flash file. In addition, many times what appears to be text in a Flash movie is actually art; it may have started as text but was converted to outlines then further manipulated graphically by the designer. The bottom line: although Flash can provide an engaging user and brand experience, it hampers SEO.



    No one is searching for the term “high tech marketing”. Start ranking for “vegas flights” and then we’ll talk.


    Oh and Aaron Wall, correct me if I’m wrong, but no SEO value in these No follow links right.

  • Ajax Jones

    So are there any SEO agencies that provide a money back guarantee?

    • Vengu

      Search for “SEO money back” in google :-)

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