Thank You, YouTube

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The first time I visited YouTube.com there were 56 videos on the site. I wish I could say that, at that early moment, I immediately knew it would be a smashing success. But, frankly, my partners and I spent a moment looking at the fledgling community, shrugged our shoulders and went back to work on VideoEgg.

After all, since the very beginning of our service we’ve been focused on powering video in the social networks and communities where people create and share with their friends. We didn’t understand why people would post the videos of the world on just one site. So much for our powers of prognostication. By now everyone has heard YouTube has been acquired by Google, and witnessing the company’s extraordinary rise leaves me feeling a bit nostalgic.

Now I should say, for the record (and before our shareholders start calling) that I still believe VideoEgg’s partner-focused approach has proven to be the right choice for our company. After all, by quietly building partnerships in YouTube’s shadow, we’ve grown into an Internet video service streaming more than 300M videos every month. But we were definitely wrong about YouTube.

Over the last 10 months, the nascent community we glanced at has exploded into an extraordinary hub of activity. In the process, they rattled every window in the media world. Thanks to YouTube, right this minute executives from Paris to Beijing are thinking about their internet video strategies. Advertisers from New York to Tokyo are integrating User-Generated Video into their media-buying budgets. And every aspiring digital filmmaker knows exactly where his next viral short film is going to be uploaded first.

Of course, for the arm-chair visionaries of the techno-elite, internet video has been a forgone conclusion from the moment broadband first became available to home users. But for the rest of the world, it took YouTube’s meteoric rise to convince them that this is really what happens next.

Dmitry Sahpiro from Veoh was right-on when he compared YouTube today to Geocities back in 1994. These are still early days, and there is lot more to come. The folks over at NBC, for example, have launched a new venture, NBBC, to syndicate NBC’s content across the web.

Dozens of online communities, from Dogster to CarSpace are launching video posting and sharing features. And, at VideoEgg, we’ve just launched The Eggnetwork, a video ad network for social networks which uses interactive video invitations called VIBES (Viewer Initiated Brand Experiences) to invite users to interact with advertiser’s messages after the videos they’ve watched.

Some of these new offerings will succeed, and others will not. But all of them are exist on the new media landscape YouTube has so dramatically brought into relief. In doing so, YouTube has done the world of online video a great service. So, Steve and Chad, bravo, congratulations on the acquisition! And, thank you, YouTube.

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