This is Part Five of our ongoing series of Online Video Marketing Basics, and it's long overdue.  This series is intended for the novices among us, businesses and individuals who have only recently decided to take the plunge into online video.  And for that decision, I applaud you.  But you probably still have a lot of questions about the various decisions in front of you.  It is my hope that this series can help inform and guide you through the many various choices an online video creator makes in putting their work online.

Previously, we've covered the following areas of online video marketing:

Today's topic?  Choosing the Right Distribution Method.  Now, some of you were disappointed that I did not recommend specific cameras and equipment in our last installment.  And while I can understand the reader's desire to find such information, it is ultimately a disservice to make explicit recommendations like that to such a varied audience.  No one camera is the best for every single video creator.  It's incumbent upon the video creator—even if he or she is a relative novice—to do some research and choose the equipment that best suits their videos' needs.

And it's the same with Distribution.  What works for one reader on YouTube might not work for another.  There are a multitude of online video destinations, and a built-in audience that comes with each.  But which is the right platform for your video?  I can no more easily state that than I can read your mind and tell you what your video is about.

What I can do, however, is cover some of the major video portals, and outline the pros and cons of each, which should help you determine which is the best for your efforts.  This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all options, but it is comprehensive… and very long.

*Disclaimer:  With limited space, I am only able to cover the major players.  If you are a fan or employee of a video portal I have missed in my rundown, it should not be taken as an insult.  I simply only have so much space.  My hope is to provide a solid cross-section of the various options available to video creators

So, without further ado, let's lay out some of the most common distribution outlets for your online video:

YouTube Distribution

We'll start with the granddaddy of them all, YouTube.  No online video portal has more videos or more viewers than YouTube.  It is the most popular destination for both video creators and viewers.


  • It's free to use for anyone.  Free is good.
  • It's also a Google-owned service, which suggests you can expect a certain level of quality and features.
  • It's the most popular video site, meaning there are more potential viewers there than any other single destination.
  • It's dead simple to use—even your grandmother could upload a video to YouTube.
  • Channels allow creators to build a fan-base
  • There is some evidence to believe that YouTube videos have a higher chance of showing up in Google search results, perhaps by virtue of YouTube's auto-captioning and the close relationship between the two companies.
  • Monetization: You can allow ads to be placed on your video, or place links yourself to drive traffic to other websites or shopping carts.
  • YouTube Insight gives uploaders great statistics on their videos, helping inform future efforts.
  • Huge variety of video formats accepted.


  • Competition.  As the largest portal for video online, there is a very real danger your video could get lost in the noise of the millions of other videos uploaded the same week.
  • Similarly, because so many people and businesses use YouTube, you might struggle for differentiation—can the portal you choose to use help make your video blend in or stand out?
  • YouTube has also developed a bit of a reputation for blue-collar content and users—which is something many businesses I've worked with want to avoid associating with.
  • Also, as with most portal sites, you run the danger of some of your viewers watching on instead of your own website, decreasing the likelihood that they'll convert.
  • There is also a 15-minute time limit for all users except partners, which could severely limit your potential if your idea needs more time.
  • Comments are notoriously off-color and crass.

Summary: Simply put, YouTube is the largest and most successful video destination site on the web.  For this reason alone, many video creators choose YouTube as their distribution method of choice.  But it's not always the best match for every video.  However, many videos are cross-posted to YouTube by creators in addition to another portal, to further ensure a wide audience.  With few exceptions, I generally recommend all my clients upload their videos to YouTube as either a primary or secondary distribution channel.


Video Distribution: Where Should You Upload Your Videos? Online Video Marketing Basics Part 5 vimeo logo 200x91 Vimeo might best be described using their own words.  From their home page:  "Vimeo is a respectful community of creative people who are passionate about sharing the videos they make.  We provide the best tools and highest quality video in the universe.”  I tend to think of Vimeo as a place for art—you won't find a lot of cute puppy videos there.  Instead, you'll find a lot of short films, stop-motion, visual arts pieces, and the like.


  • Vimeo strives to keep out the hooligans and the masses.  Their community guidelines specify that harassment, personal attacks, and general insulting behavior will not be tolerated.  And they mean it.  Your account will be removed if they feel you are overstepping the bounds of civil disagreement.
  • Focused content is the key.  There is a huge list of video content that is not allowed, including video game footage, music videos, television clips, and more.  Some might say that they've sifted through the crap to present you with a very specific kind of video entertainment experience.
  • Niche-focused community helps drive views to videos of a particular topic or style.  For instance, users are encouraged to find other users that share their interests and develop relationships organically.  While this can take time, the huge long-term benefit is a built-in audience for future video clips.
  • Videos of almost any format can be uploaded.  And the upload process is pretty simple.
  • Basic accounts are free, and allow up to 500MB of storage.
  • The community is very lively and strong, and there appears to be a genuine desire to assist and encourage each other.
  • Under a Vimeo Plus account, users can make some customizations to the video player.
  • There are some great statistics available, with a fairly nice layout and UI.


  • No commercial content is allowed.  Only videos created by you, the user, with a non-commercial bent will be allowed.
  • The general narrow content restrictions (no music videos, no movie clips, no marketing material, etc.) might preclude you from using Vimeo right out of the gate.  Also, even if your first video matches their guidelines, future videos may not, and it could be a mistake to fragment your videos across multiple platforms.
  • Smaller overall audience size than, say, YouTube, which might make it tougher for your video to find an audience quickly.
  • Anything but a Basic account will cost you money.  And you're likely to use up the 500MB allowed by the Basic account pretty quickly.  If you upgrade to Vimeo Plus, however, your monthly limit increases to 5GB.
ALSO ►  Your Quick & Handy Guide to 360 Degree Video on YouTube

Summary: Vimeo is for artists and art, and not for personal videos or video blogging.  However, if you are a creator of artistic videos looking for a community in which to thrive, Vimeo could be the best choice for you.


Metacafe gets about 40 million unique visitors a month.  That's a lot, but it pales in comparison to the likes of YouTube.  Part of the reason for that is the narrower focus.  Metacafe wants to be your home for "short-form original entertainment content.”  They don't want full-length television episodes, movies, news stories, or personal video bloggers.  They seem to place emphasis on the "short" part of short-form-video, mentioning on their About page that the average Metacafe video is 90 seconds long.


  • Auditions.  There is a community of volunteers that works to give a look at all the new videos uploaded every day.
  • There is no restriction on the kinds of users that can sign up.  Unlike Brightcove, who seeks to serve brands specifically, Metacafe welcomes individuals and Hollywood studios with open arms—provided the content meets their guidelines.
  • The highest rated videos can earn cash for the creators under the Producer Rewards program.
  • They try to stay hands-off, letting the community of users drive pretty much everything that happens on the site.
  • Zero-tolerance policy for defamatory, racist, sexist, or homophobic material or discussion.  (That list reads like a description of the average YouTube comment).
  • Cloning is barred, which is nice for the viewer.
  • Sexually explicit material is not allowed, which is a bummer for Mark.


  • Content limitations in topic and genre.
  • Content is also limited to under 10 minutes in length.
  • Audience size.  In some ways, Metacafe is a bit of an alternative to YouTube, where there appears to be a higher level of respect and discourse.  However, it comes at a price—a significantly smaller prospective audience.
  • Seems to be a heavy focus on video game content—just look at the last several posts on the company's blog—which I suppose could be a "pro" for some of you, but is more likely to count as a negative for the bulk of our readers, most of whom are not creating video-game content.

Summary: Metacafe is a place for original entertainment videos, typically in quick little bites.  If this describes the kind of online video you make, then you should give them a look.  However, if you want the flexibility of adding longer videos or videos of any variety you please, then this is not the home for your content.

Quick Hits On A Few More Platforms

Daily Motion

Video Distribution: Where Should You Upload Your Videos? Online Video Marketing Basics Part 5 dailymotion logo 200x63


  • Like YouTube, Daily Motion has few limitations on the kinds of content you can upload.
  • Customizable player.
  • Family Filter for protecting the kids from scary content.
  • Remembers the video history of a viewer for easy reference—which is probably more of a "pro" for viewers than content uploaders.


  • Lack of content focus leads to noise—a problem YouTube even shares.
  • A bit limited on file formats accepted (only AVI, MP4, & MOV).
  • Admission into their Official User program is subjective rather than merit-based—you fill out an application and wait for them to approve you.


Video Distribution: Where Should You Upload Your Videos? Online Video Marketing Basics Part 5 logo 2007 officialj 200x93 Pros:

  • Hyper-specific niche—the site is focused on original web content, calling itself the "next generation television network.”  This suggests that the audience is ready for this kind of content, and is seeking it out.
  • Their distribution service: will take your video and, at your request, distribute it to places like YouTube, AOL Video, MySpace, Flickr, and more.


  • You need a paid Pro Account to truly take advantage of the service's best features.
  • Hyper-specific niche—if you aren't making a web show, then you need to look elsewhere.


Video Distribution: Where Should You Upload Your Videos? Online Video Marketing Basics Part 5 viddler 200x85 Pros:

  • Renowned for outstanding customer service.
  • 100% free… if you're using it for personal reasons.  If you're a business… and your use of Viddler will be commercial, then you have to upgrade to a Business Services Account, which does cost money.
  • Wide-open to content topics, genres, video lengths, etc.
  • Tons of video formats accepted for upload.
  • Lots of great developer tools, including a customizable player.


  • Cost for commercial use.
  • 500MB upload limit, though number of videos is not limited.
  • Built-in ad platform only works with paid accounts.
  • Much smaller reach than giants like YouTube.

Yahoo Video

Video Distribution: Where Should You Upload Your Videos? Online Video Marketing Basics Part 5 yahoo video


  • Exposure.  There are millions of devoted Yahoo users, leading to a huge built-in audience of Yahoo disciples.
  • Wide-open focus for content—virtually anything (non-offensive) goes.
  • Brands and individuals welcomed with open arms.
  • Integration with Flickr, which Yahoo owns, and which has a huge built-in audience of its own.


  • As with YouTube, you face stiffer competition from other videos on a portal as heavily trafficked as Yahoo Video.
  • Similarly, if your video has a specific niche, it might have a tougher time standing out than it would at one of the smaller, more topically-focused platforms.
  • Videos are limited to 150MB, which is quite low compared to the other platforms, and to 15 minutes in length (so no feature-length videos).

Video Distribution Conclusion

Video platforms are all unique, and there is something to praise and something to criticize in each of them.  Many video creators will utilize multiple platforms for their work—kind of like posting an item to both your Facebook page and your Twitter account—hoping to maximize the reach of their videos.  Since many video viewers are extremely loyal to their platform of choice, this cross-pollenation strategy is often the best way to ensure your video finds an audience.

If you are a content creator trying to decide on the best platform for your efforts, I would strongly encourage you to spend some time browsing the videos each has to offer and immersing yourself in the community as a viewer.  In just a few minutes you'll get a pretty clear picture of the kinds of content that rises to the top, which will help you determine if your content is a match.

Oh yea, and it might be helpful if you decide to syndicate your videos to multiple sites, to review our list of tools to upload videos to multiple sites.

Because it is the most popular video platform for individuals and businesses alike, our next installment will focus on YouTube.  Be on the lookout for Part Six of our Online Video Marketing Basics series: Uploading Your Video to YouTube.

  • Robert Biermann

    That is our list of international video sharing platforms we recommend.

  • Yavor Batchev

    The greatest animation comedy ever made. Situated in the hippy years... "groovy man, groovy!"

  • Robbie M. C. Mitchell

    Is there a program which you can upload HD video for distribution to TV news desks, whom can downlaod the footage and play it on air?


    Have you seen which allows you to make money from your videos?

  • John E Udegbunam


  • Kevin Briles

    Mr Scott, great article, just skimmed it but will read more after I comment. LOVE the pros and cons! Only, Metacafe & DailyMotion have ALOT of adult material. They're just like YouTube and Photobucket, they promote no nudity or adult content, but it definitely gets in there.
    Anyway, time to read the rest, great stuff!

  • Ronnie Bincer

    I mainly focus on YouTube, but also upload via a distribution engine to many others... I wish there was a free or low cost (non-hosted) solution to put videos I want to make easy to access, yet be part of a "protected" area (i.e. pay me to watch this video).

    Any ideas out there on how to do this inexpensively?

    YouTube's "Unlisted" option comes to mind, but that link can easily be shared raking away the "paid" portion of my scenario. YouTube's private video option is too limiting (must have YT account, limited to 25 viewers, etc.)

  • Jeff Martin

    A good list for sure. Thanks Jeremy. Video distribution and optimization to video sharing sites is a core responsibility of mine. With a few years under my belt, I can tell you that I cannot get as much of a return on time spent than I do with YouTube. We have spent the time to learn how to best produce our videos, when and how to release content and how to engage the community at large and it has paid off in a revenue partnership, millions of views a month and happy clients.

    For those new to online video - you must keep all of these sharing sites on your radar, not really for the views on their sites, but the search visibility you can achieve with them. That being said, you will need to make YouTube your priority. There is a lot of potential for reach AND conversions (and direct revenue) - but you must learn how to use the tools you are provided and how to engage the community.

  • Jimm Fox

    Jeremy, nice summary on the free(ish) hosting options. The other hosting option of course are the paid hosting services - Wistia, Brightcove, Amazon, etc.

    I have to admit it's tough making a recommendation as to where my customers should host their video. Ie. If you are paying a hosting service like Wistia or Brightcove because you need the analytics, should you also post your videos on YouTube for Google juice and possible promotional benefits? (i.e. place your videos where your customers are... not just on your own site) What if YouTubes analytics are good enough, why not just host everything on YouTube... like Ericsson did.

    Ericsson recently spend over $200,000 (my guess) on a really impressive video thought leadership series and hosted everything on YouTube... exclusively. When you go to the Ericsson site to view the videos they come up in the YouTube player. Was Ericsson wrong to do this? Why didn't they host it themselves or pay Akamai or Edgecast or Brightcove? Or are they just embracing social and openness better than everyone else? Why don't all companies do this?

    Interesting times.

    • Simon M.

      Hey, that's pretty interesting. I am writting my Masterthesis for my study at the moment. I am really wondering, what is the big advantage of paid hosting service in compare to youtube. In my opinion, YouTube offers nearly the same features. Yet, you can embedd a Youtube Vid in to your own Website, without showing related Videos or Ads. That is important, because it wouldn't be great, if someone watches a video on your site with an ad of your comepetitor in it ;-) Also the YouTube Inisght Statistics are pretty good. Maybe the statistics of Brightcove and like are a bit better...but is that really the only advantage or are there any others?!


    • whatever_dude

      Open hosting options are far and away my preference for distributing content. The cons of losing a tiny bit of control are massively outweighed by the benefits. But I have to say that I also prefer watching open platform content.

      First, it often just runs better than private hosting. Second, there are generally more options: watchers can embed it elsewhere, for instance, or apply social media options. You miss these when they are not available and the experience feels a lot like being forced to create a registration to view web content--a massive barrier to entry, IMO.

      Ultimately, it seems that it's really nice to be homing in on a standard presentation, rather than putting restrictions on and forcing everyone to learn a new system for each and every web video. I assume Ericsson considered all this, and I think they made the right choice. I have to assume that corporate resistance elsewhere is largely just inertia.

  • Eric Mongo Robbins

    mark and jeremy, is it cool to add my biz hyperlink to comments? e

    • Mark Robertson

      It is OK - but it holds it for moderation so that I dont get much spam -
      becauase most people want their link in there and dont provide a meaningful
      conversation - but no - I dont mind. Ill approve your other comment.

  • Eric Mongo Robbins

    I've also found the Flickr generates some decent traffic and allows your photos to act as drivers to your video.

  • Ileane

    Hi Jeremy, thanks for the run down. I create screencast tutorials and distribute them through all of these platforms and a few others.

    I get the most exposure from YouTube by far but I also see videos that I upload to Viddler show up in Google searches from time to time.

    One thing I don't understand about Metacafe is that they never let you know when your video has been approved by their team of reviewers. I've never had a rejection but I don't get many views on Metacafe on Daily Motion either.

    Thanks for the info.

  • Cindy DeVelvis

    Like you said, there are so many options out there for video distribution, but I'm surprised Facebook wasn't on your list. I've heard from some SEO 'experts' that if you have a presence on Facebook, you should upload your video there instead of linking to your YouTube video. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Jeremy Scott

      I would personally be more inclined to upload videos to YouTube, and then share those on Facebook, rather than making Facebook the only platform for upload. Facebook video is fantastic for generating buzz and even for converting in some cases, but you're always limited to an initial audience of only your "friends." YouTube is a destination for video viewers, whereas Facebook is a destination for social interaction that just happens to also let you post videos.

      But that is just one man's opinion.

  • Schessin

    Added to "Favorites".

    However - I disagree with the reason for not getting into equipment. It is true that different gear is better for different needs - and those different needs can be mentioned. I continue to use some 'obsolete' gear because the functions I need are no longer available. There is a small video camera I saw in the music store built around an excellent microphone -- not HD so i did not buy it -but for a stage performer it is the right item. Same thing for beach and underwater gear - and for sky-divers. Every police officer carries a small back-up gun for the same reason. Most of the camcorders also shoot stills - but some shoot stills better. Some have a flash. Some people can use front-and-rear facing cameras. Some will need shock-proof design. Yes --- you were right --- it would be far more than any article could cover

  • Jeremy Campbell

    A good list Jeremy, a few years ago Revver would be on there, but no more. is still really solid, and I would biased to say (disclosure: it's my company's video sharing site) but may be an up and comer to watch too. Thanks for sharing Jeremy!

    • Jeremy Scott is a good one. Should have included that.