VideoEgg Cracks the Code

Article ImageBaffled by the difference between .3gp, .3gp2, .avi, .dv, .mpg, .mpg4, .mov .mqv, .wmv, .asf? Hung up on how to upload these pesky digital video formats into your business Web site, blog, eBay account, or online store? Unsure whether your format plays nice with your customers' preferred players? Well, the mystifying business of publishing digital video content online just got a whole lot easier.

David Lerman, Matt Sanchez, and Kevin Sladek founded VideoEgg, Inc., in 2005 to help simplify the process of publishing video online. The company's product, VideoEgg Publisher, which debuted in late March, allows end users to easily capture, edit, encode, and upload digital video content online. Its "universal adapter" is able to read dozens of video formats and capture directly from hundreds of devices. Given the powerful force that digital video is becoming in online markets, the company believes VideoEgg's time has come.

I'm inclined to agree. The company provided me with a Beta version, and the ease with which this tool allows one to upload digital video online is phenomenal. I was able to post a three-minute video captured on my digital camera to a Blogger account in less than five minutes after downloading the VideoEgg Publisher plug-in. Even though my digital still camera shoots poor-quality video, I was impressed with the results that were processed by VideoEgg's software and returned via Flash 8.

VideoEgg plans to support the service with advertising, but this is still a few months off (early users will be able to do "Egg" ad-free). At that time, ads will be embedded either in the player or in context, though users will be given the opportunity to opt out of those ads for a fee. Despite its video focus, the company will not be using television-style ads for its service. According to VideoEgg co-founder Kevin Sladek, "you don't want to stick 15 seconds of repurposed advertising from television in front of 30 seconds of user-created content—it's not a good viewer experience." The company's advertising approach has been influenced by its early adoption of Flash 8, which allows them a great deal of flexibility in terms of what they can do with ad content. As Sladek says, "we can do interesting layering and insertion and will be able to put together a very compelling offering."

Those who want their video content free of ads will be given the option to pay or play along: payment options will be offered on two levels--outright payment or partnership. According Sladek, "we are very much a partner-focused organization. Our primary goal as a business is getting our VideoEgg Publisher into as many partner sites as possible and to as many users in the whole range of communities and services that are already the heart of the Web." He adds that the partnership level allows a business not only to get video about that business into their Web site but also "to extend video posting features to the people who use that business' site."

To date, VideoEgg's largest-profile partner is SixApart, the blogging company whose offerings include TypePad, Movable Type, and LiveJournal. In April, VideoEgg expanded its partnership potential with the launch of an integration kit where "this whole diversity of communities and services can get the Publisher, put it into their pages, and deploy the solution in a couple of hours." While not ready to make its rate card public, Sladek says advertising revenue will somewhat determine how much each level will cost. He adds that so far they've been "surprised and pleased by the diversity and intensity of the interest" in the publisher. Given all this, it seems highly plausible that VideoEgg's "aspiration to become the way people put video on the Web in all the places they care about" may become a reality.