Grouper, a video sharing site we’ve covered a number of times before, has launched a very cool new feature that could disrupt the crowded world of online video sharing. Viewers can now add their own video comments to Grouper videos and the comments can be watched inside the same embedded player. In just a few weeks the embedded players themselves will be able to record the video comments – right now you have to click through to the Grouper site to record.
Here’s a WordPress blog post with an example of the new feature, though not all videos autoplay like this one. Account registration is required to leave a video comment, but it’s a remarkably painless registration. Comments appear without approval but can be removed individually by the publisher of the original video.
Text comments are possible in Grouper, but as they say – text comments in response to videos are usually boring.
Grouper used to operate exclusively through a Windows desktop client, but the company told me that since it enabled web based sharing in October its user numbers have grown from 1 million to 8 million. The company was originally funded by its founders (who sold Spinner.com several years ago), a number of angel investors and a $1.5 million investment from Deutche Telecom’s T-Online, the 3rd largest broadband ISP in the world.
The company’s business model is primarily based on corporate partnerships. MTV, for example, has videos featured on Grouper. In another interesting partnership, the company recently announced that Grouper would be folded into the software for Logitech digital cameras. That’s a pretty big deal.
The good news just doesn’t quit for this company. They also told me that they’ve hired Chris Amen-Kroeger, former Director, Streaming Network Operations for AOL and VP of service delivery at Salesforce. Amen-Kroger starts work at Grouper on Monday.
A very compelling feature set, great user experience, big partners and an experienced team. Grouper is a company to watch and a service you might enjoy using.