Lunes, Hulyo 6, 2009

Bad News: No Source File Downloading for Vimeo Free-Users

The other day, I was about to upload a video on Vimeo when I noticed this note from them:

It says:

Please note: We have changed the way our download feature works. From now on, the original uploaded source file will be removed after one week from the upload date. However, the encoded version will always be available for download.

When I clicked on the Learn More link, it brought me to their blog and there, they explained in detail why they are limiting the usage of this feature to Vimeo Plus (paying) users:

Since the very beginning, Vimeo has retained the original video files that you upload, and allowed you to grant people permission to download those files. We always take these original files and convert them so that they will play online and in the Vimeo player. We kept the original files for download because we wanted you to be able to save your video exactly the way it looked when it left your hard drive. This aspect of the service was not a huge burden on us when the site was younger, but we’ve had to take another look at what we are realistically capable of offering for years to come, while making sure the site stays on budget. Original file storage of every file for every user is a massive cost, and we have noticed that only a very small set of users actually ever download their own files. We want to keep original file storage around as a feature for people who use it, but we can’t continue to do it for everybody.

I’m one of those users who finds original source file downloading very useful. As we all know, converted video files are very much different in terms of quality; source file downloading allows me and my readers/viewers to share raw, high-quality videos in a flash. It allows collaboration with other video bloggers much more manageable. And that’s what I liked about Vimeo - it’s video sharing and file storage rolled into one site.

Vimeo’s reasons are pretty understandable. I know it was a hard decision. But something about their new policy bothered me:

This new one-week policy applies to all basic accounts’ videos uploaded from this point onwards. For videos that were uploaded before this blog post, those original files will be available until August 1st, to give you some time to download them if you need to. After August 1st, those files will also be removed.

It’s one thing that they are removing a pretty nifty feature from basic users but doing it retroactively just leaves a very bad taste to most. I suggest they just leave old source files in their system and start the new policy with newly-uploaded videos. At least the free-users’ panic mode will be reduced to a minimum.

Well it’s not the end yet. The converted video file will still be available for download in mp4 format and Vimeo Plus users won’t be affected by the change. Now, I’m thinking - do I upgrade to Plus for $60 a year? Or do I just stick with the converted (less quality) files? I really don’t have patience (and the time) for other file hosting services.

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