Someone recently dropped me a line to tell me that Vimeo was better than YouTube. Me, being the easy-going guy I am, said "OK." Of course this might have been a clever plot on their part to get me to check it out for one reason or another. Again, I'm easy-going, so I did.

Vimeo is not YouTube. Better than YouTube? Well that's purely subjective and depends on what exactly your definition of 'better' is. Vimeo certainly is different, that's for sure. Where YouTube at times seems all about pumping out craploads of video (which is a lot in case you don't know the highly technical term 'crapload') in order to get people to look at them. The value of the content is often questionable and the quality of the videos viesar wildly. But that's not to say that YouTube is bad, it's just what it is, really.

Borneo Dispatch Video #8 "The Summit” from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

Vimeo on the other hand is positioning itself as a community of professional creators of high-quality video. They don't accept commercial video, yet isn't most video commercial in some respect? A music video from a band is commercial as it's trying to get you to buy their songs. A film is commercial as it's trying to recoup cost, get the people involved further work and generally be 'discovered.' So technically Vimeo should only accept artistic video which is made simply for art's sake. Of course if they adhered to that, there would probably be almost no content there and it would all need to be anonymous so that no one was given credit, discovered and given heaps of cash to make new, commercial videos. So we'll just say that Vimeo doesn't allow overt commercialism in its content. It also doesn't allow you to upload anything that you yourself haven't created.

Another major facet of Vimeo that sets it apart from YouTube is the community aspect. Where YouTube comments and networking generally adhere to a ' U R KOOL' or 'U R TEH SUK' line of thinking, Vimeo is more about professionalism and supporting each other. They [Vimeo]  say that any community that allows irrational behavior will decay and that Vimeo is "a positive community of people who respect the videos you make." Comments generally look like this:

  • Thanks for the vid
  • Excellent
  • Amazing

Then from time to time you get something really useful like:

  • Excellent job composing each shot. The symmetry and angles and proportions are terrific. (author: dewde)
  • I don't like very much the 4/3, but this clip is full of creativity, and the effects are done almost perfectly. So: Cool vidéo ! (author: Jean-Come Bouden)
ALSO ►  6 Killer Reasons Why YouTube Is Still King of Online Video

Not your standard YouTube tripe to say the least.

When you signup for Vimeo you have 2 options, free which nets you 500MB of upload space per week, 1 HD video per week, no HD embedding, basic player customization and some other stuff. The Vimeo Plus account, $59.95 a year, gets you 5GB a week, unlimited HD, no banner ads on the site and more.

But Chris, What's it all for?

Well, if you want to do some viral video marketing, this is not the place. If you want to add a revenue stream for your videos, this is not the place. If you want to host your videos somewhere and then slide in pre, mid, post-roll ads, it's still probably not the place.

No, Vimeo seems to be a place to create video and have people tell you it's awesome. It's a place to upload music videos, film trailers, videos made as academic projects and of course purely artistic videos.  It's a place to get a pat on the back, or a quick tip. It's a nice happy place where criticism is constructive, the streets are clean and everyone is happy. It might be Video Utopia, if such a thing existed.

It's a place to gather in groups (the largest of which are film and music – both commercial categories I might add. Oops, there's that "C" word again.) and discuss the finer points of the particular interest.  Vimeo also offers channels which are like groups but are more about showcasing particular styles of videos like time lapse, slo-mo and documentary (30,500 channels at present). It's a land where experimentation takes precedence over huge computer-generated effects and where content trumps commercialism… If it were a cable television station it would be the Indie Film Channel.

In short, it's not of value to marketers, advertisers and anyone who wants to turn a profit by getting their video in front of as many eyeballs as possible. It's more a place where you go cut your teeth on making video and getting tips and help when you want to do something but aren't sure how.

Is it 'better' than YouTube? Maybe the quality of the video and probably a lot of the content are. Maybe the community is more supportive. But they're completely different services and are aimed at completely different types of people. Sure, they're both pretty good at what they do but I can't say one is better than the other. I'll just stick to my statement that they are certainly on opposite sides of the video sharing scale.

  • Mary K. Todd Taylor

    Vimeo kicked our NeverWet division off (high traffic issues). Where else can we go? (but not YouTube) Please advise!

  • Jacob Stegman

    Can anyone shine in on the quality of video? Youtube versus Vimeo. Youtube seems to be very harsh on its compression. 1080p videos never seem to look good... at least when I post them.

    • Jacob Stegman

      I was able to compare two HD videos (Yourtube versus Vimeo) side by side and Vimeo looks way better. Hands down. Handles solid colors much better.

    • Bob Shannon

      I just said the same thing in my status a couple of days ago. I am now posting and cross posting. I might even go Vimeo Pro. eqshannon

  • Erik Edlund


  • Sandun Somarathna

    Thanks. preciate

  • James Halifko

    Ok, that clears things up for me!

  • Custom Logo Design

    Cool man! That is really fabulous. I really enjoyed that stuff. Thanks for sharing that precious stuff. Great post!

  • Chrisfawkes

    Vimeo sucks. Never plays properly so i end up closing down any page before the video ends. I hate the vimeo experience.

  • Nine_thegirl

    This article effectively says nothing important.
    Youtube: Censors audio tracks. Community is full of trolls and nasty comments. Fosters beligerance.
    Vimeo: Does not censor audio tracks. Community is nicer and more intelligible. Fosters creativity.

  • Daniel Geiger

    Vimeo is terrible. No closed closed feature like YouTube has.

  • cdmcl3

    [ok, so one is for tamborines, and the one is for bongos? ...and the contrarians maybe?]

  • Pierre F. Walter

    So true what you say. I have absolutely no feedback on my videos on Vimeo while I invested the money to become a pro user, while on Youtube I do get visitors, and comments. It seems to me that Vimeo is a dead place, it looks dead, and that 'professionalism', okay, they have the better-looking player and also a better comment feature, where you can edit comments even later on, but overall, I do not see the use for me. A good alternative to Youtube is - a good community, and very creative people, and very good support, too. I bow down in front of the great efforts they did over the last two years to make their site even much better!

  • oscar wright

    I post my videos on many sites and for viewers Vimeo is one of the worst....very can critisize Utube all you want but in the end of the day, nothing beats it. The only site which comes close is Metcafe...oscar wright, rome

  • Victor Cruz

    Chris: have you heard of Wistia? This is a video sharing service for business to business applications such as training and sales, where you can monitor and track how (and from where) people view your online videos. -- Contact me and I'll introduce you -- Victor

  • Adrian (CTO, vzaar)

    When Vimeo brought out the plus service we were worried that they might be a competitor to us, and many potential (and now current) clients were considering them. However I have noticed a strong effort by them to remove the more blatantly commercial types of videos.

    There used to be a lot of screen casts and "interview videos" which I thought was clearly commercial and thought added confusion. They have recently re-written their policies, and really tightened up on this. In the last few months I've seen many people using them for these, and especially screencasts move to other vendors such as ourselves or one of our more commercial orientated competitors.

    I think Vimeo is trying to position themselves strongly as a "YouTube For Creative" (where we are trying to be more a "YouTube for Business"). Whilst I applaud them for being dedicated to their goals and desires for what the represent, I'm mostly relieved, as I think they are very strong, and could be a very difficult competitor in this space. Especially with the indie developers who (used to) use them a lot.

    However I'm not sure YouTube is the marketing driver everyone perceives. Sure if you have a really compelling viral video, it has great value. However most videos aren't, and certainly most of the small and medium sizes businesses we see aren't interested in (or able to) produce a viral hit. What they want is a strong offering supporting them with informative or product based videos that can help them sell. And no one is on YouTube looking for a video of a laptop bag or second hand car.

    The other issue with YouTube is because they monitize via advertising their goal is to get users to visit their site, or click through to other locations or adverts on their site. They have no incentive to drive people to your site (you being the video host). I think this is where companies like ourselves and our competitors are going to be able to differentiate ourselves and stand out with our commercial orientated offerings.

  • ChristophorRick

    Most of the video sharing sites are now searching and stripping out unlicensed music. If you upload it to YouTube you can put in some license free music that they have available. Aside from that I would suggest hosting it yourself and pointing your someone to the URL.

  • barry

    Is there somewhere I can post a video online with an old commercial song just to show someone what the footage would look like with that style of song? Not to sell, just to show? -thanks!

    • adamzais

      hey barry. go to up for the free trial...upload + share....if that's all you need, no problem...enjoy....full disclosure, i'm the sales director.

    • Buck

      Seriously, just use Utube. It either goes through the DMC acoustic screening, or doesn't. If it doesn't, you're not in any trouble.