Breaking into the tech world is hard. It has become a very crowded space, with new startups popping up daily. In reality, a majority of these startups will not succeed. According to a 2013 Mashable article, about 90 percent of tech startups will fail. The reasons can be multitude, but include lack of funds, timing, and promotion. However this does not stop many from around the world attempting this.
When it comes to viral videos sharing/hosting sites, YouTube is king. Besides YouTube, sites like Vimeo have been able to tap into this market. However with the domination of YouTube, this is a may be a deterrent for some. Why go through the trials of a tech start-up when there is already a major force on the market?
Well, a viral hosting site out called Vube took on the challenge. The tech company based out of Austin, Texas is shaping up to be a major contender in the viral video hosting race. I first came across Vube in October of 2013. At the time, an artist by the name of JRAND (in which I wrote an article on) did a song cover contest with the company. Contestants sang covers of his song "Ride" with the contestant who received the most "Likes" winning money. After writing a profile of the company, I kept in brief contact with the President Scott Perkins (where I got the stats for the next paragraph) and kept an eye on the tech start-up, to see whether or not it would be in the 10 percent of successful startups. Since the company was really still a startup (around 7 months old the time the first article was published), it was hard to judge which way it would have gone. While I wanted (and still want) the company to succeed, I found through experiences that sometimes people/companies do a lot of talking/selling, but when it comes down to it, they may not have a lot to offer or show. Companies in all fields have to start somewhere, but it is how they grow that plays a factor in whether or not they will succeed. In the case of Vube, their growth has become very apparent.
The website has grown and changed at such a rate that it is impressive. The site currently has over 2.75 million members. It has over 125,000 videos. While the video amount is low compared to other sites, Vube does strive to make sure the videos are user-generated content. They also revamped the individual profile pages, added a playlist option, and launched a Vube App for both iOS and Android (I tried the iOS app and it works well). The website also detects how fast your Internet is while you are watching the video, and display the highest quality video you can watch automatically.
While all these changes are great, the real question is, is the site any good? While the site itself has gone through some renovations, the core content is still primarily singing, both covers and original songs. Videos of users playing instruments, dancing, and drawing has also become popular. I would consider this a "pro" if a user likes this type of content. On the other hand, it is "con" if you don't. While there is other content on Vube, it is not nearly as visible as these types.
The site is very easy to navigate. The homepage goes automatically to the days "Trending" videos. A new feature is a playlist which allows user to take a video they like and drag it down to the bottom and put it in the quick queue. Since many of the videos are music-related, this may come in handy if the user wanted to just listen to the videos. The site is noticeably not cluttered with advertisements. Vube is no longer ad-free (something I mentioned in the previous article). But when an ad pops up before a video, the user has the option to skip the ad right away. A user will also not see any banner ads at the top or side of the video that can be disrupt the viewing experience.
A user's profile reminds me of the new desktop Twitter layout with a banner photo and a smaller photo on the left. Easy/clickable buttons on the side link a user to the Vube artist various social media accounts as well as a description. Since I do not have any videos on Vube, take a look at popular Vuber derekcate for reference. Like YouTube, Vube is beginning to spawn viral celebrities. They have gained exposure through the site (see the Testimonials page for reference). Like YouTube, I would not be surprised if the public sees some of these users on more of a global scale in the future.
So, if Mashable is correct and 90 percent of tech start-ups fail, is Vube in the 10 percent that succeed? I would say so. Vube is currently on the right path. Is there room for improvement? Of course. No website is perfect and Vube has things that it needs to improve upon. However, I get a sense that the people at Vube know this and through upgrades and other innovations, it continues to grow and make its mark in the viral video world. YouTube is still the go-to for many people when it comes to viral videos. However, Vube is quickly becoming an alternative. While I would hesitant to now call Vube a "startup" if I had to, I would call it is a successful startup. It will be interesting to see what direction the company goes in the future. If I had to guess, I would say it will continue to go up.