We have spent a good amount of time covering some of the popular local online video platforms focused on providing online video marketing and production services for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), including Turnhere, SpotRunner, Mixpo, and others. One of the more recent companies to hit our radar is WellcomeMat.com, an online video network and platform specifically focused on the Real Estate industry.
ReelSEO's Christophor Rick spoke with the Co-Founder of WellcomeMat.com, Phil Thomas Di Giulio, about their business, what they hope to do, where it came from and where it's going.
"Back in 2004, my business partner Christian read an article about a real estate broker in New York City who would take videos of all the properties he had available, and when people came into his office, he would show them his properties on a flat-screen monitor.
A few weeks later, Christian came up with the foundation for WellcomeMat while out hiking the Flatirons in Boulder, CO. He decided to take this concept online and establish a service where anyone could showcase their videos to multiple people at once."
Phil had been freelancing for several ad agencies in New York and had been working to integrate flash video and web advertising. A mutual friend introduced Phil to Christian over the phone and they "hit it off immediately". The three founders, Christian Sterner, Haider Zainy and Phil worked remotely for nights and weekends until eventually launching the site around May of 2006. Now the site has become a full-time job for the three of them.
The Feature Presentation
At present WellcomeMat has over 1,500 Video Makers showcasing their video production businesses. They just added Turnhere as a Production partner. Combined, the two now have 7,000+ Video Producers nationwide at their disposal. While exact numbers weren't readily available Phil said that there are "well into the thousands" of real estate clients using the service now as well.
"Quite honestly, this is just the beginning. Real Estate and Local video marketing is a relatively nascent market. Agents and institutions are just beginning to realize the importance of adding a video component to their websites.
Over the next few years, video will completely revolutionize this industry. In response to this demand, we now offer a brokerage level video service for institutions who want a turnkey video solution with complete brand control over their video initiatives."
Behind the Scenes
Aside from filmmakers, there are many other service providers (home stagers, actors, voice over specialists, directors, etc.) out there who are waking up to the possibility they too get a piece of the pie.
"It takes many different types of people to create quality localized video content. Acting is another industry that's well suited for the local video market. Some of our best member videos feature a talented actor on camera.
In the case of TV, just look to HGTV or TLC for examples. Time and time again you'll find an actor on camera walking the audience through a home or location. The same potential is there online for actors to get in front of a camera, stand out and make a name for themselves."
Phil strongly believes that the SMB market has a great deal of potential with online video marketing. Of course, if you have followed ReelSEO, you will know that we very much agree with this.
"Business owners have to realize their is a fundamental paradigm shift is occurring here. Because TV production is so expensive, the video market used to be off limits to your average small business owner. This isn't the case anymore.
Now the little guy can compete with the big boys where it matters, on a local level. For a few thousand dollars, a local business owner can have a short film created featuring his/her business. They can put this commercial online and reach just about anyone."
When Christophor asked about the lack of a category for writers, Phil said "If there's something you're not seeing on the site, tell us and if it makes sense, we'll work it into the service." He continued with, "WellcomeMat is built on member support and feedback. This community of members is the cornerstone of our business. If writers want to play a role, we encourage them to get involved."
And the Award Goes to...
Wellcomemat recently launched a new ratings system. Since the local Video Producer directory is a key component of the service, they needed a way to give browsers a quick reference. You can view a videographer's work on WellcomeMat and decide for yourself if they're the right fit.
"We decided to implement the scoring system to reward Video Producer's and other members who exhibit a high level of excellence. Each member is ranked by points. The more work video you create and contribute to the community, the higher you're ranked. The cream rises to the top and the community benefits."
Putting the Pieces Together
Wellcomemat has recently introduced chaptered videos and when asked about it, Phil said that they originally had the idea back in 2005.
"While you can label the video and provide tags, people tend to tag differently and with very general keywords. We wanted people to get deeper into the video. This has been especially important with real estate video. When searching for a place to live, everyone has their sweet spot. Chaptering videos allows our members to call attention to those sweet spots (i.e. Bedroom, Kitchen, Lobby, Pool, etc.).
Not everyone has the patience nor time to watch a five minute video. Who wants to randomly fast forward through a video trying to find the bedroom again? On WellcomeMat you can just click and jump right to it."
Since members rely on Wellcomemat to upload and manage their videos campaigns, Wellcomemat is also a video hosting site. However, Phil said that they offer several unique services that set them far apart and that their site acts almost as a social network for video service professionals and real estate professionals.
Not everyone can shoot quality video. If you don't believe me, just go to YouTube and run a search for 'Real Estate'. You'll see exactly what I mean. There's a deficiency in the market that needs to be addressed.
The number on goal of our company is to instigate high quality hyper localized content. In order to do this, you have to connect people with professionals who can help provide a quality video product. So we're a social network of a different kind. We've built an ecosystem in which high quality content is instigated and everyone benefits from the shared experience."
The Video SEO Spotlight
Of course, we were interested in Phil's ideas on Video Search Engine Optimization.
"Proper SEO includes submission to search engines and and video directories such as Google Site Maps. You'll see more on this front in the coming months. We've only begun to flex our SEO muscles."
In addition, we asked Phil whether or not they were utilizing a distributing strategy for WelcomeMat videos.
"Conventional wisdom states that you should upload your video to every website that will accept it. When it comes to local content, especially real estate video, we need to take a more nuanced approach. Many of the major generalist video networks do not want your real estate video content. In fact a few of these site recently began kicking these types of videos off of their networks.
Videos need to be in places where your customer is looking for them. For example, at WellcomeMat we offer a Craigslist application for video and a unbranded video player for the MLS systems. In our market, it's context (not content) that's king."
Regarding the future, Phil said that Wellcomemat aims to be the center of local video content. But 'local video' is a different form of advertising than what we're used to seeing on TV. It's not a :15 or :30 second spot, it's a new form of entertainment.
To illustrate this point he provided the following 2 examples:
"Your watching TV and during a commercial break, a :15 second spot for a local restaurant comes on. What does the average person do? They either change the channel, skip it with TIVO, or tune it out completely.
In contrast, if your doing research for a place to eat Saturday night and you come across that same restaurant with a short film showcasing the business, I bet you'll watch the entire video and might even end up there for dinner. So a consumer, we've gone from detached (TV) to engaged (Internet). That's the future of this market."
This new form of advertising combines the geo-targeted reach of the web with power of storytelling through video. This is where WellcomeMat plans to be, right in the middle of it all."
That's a Wrap
Wellcomemat definitely looks like they have a firm grip on the market and could be in the steering wheel for the near future of local advertising. The site and membership are still growing and they are getting a lot of press. It seems like they have a good idea and everyone is talking about them.
Although, as our talented writer Christophor mentioned, a quick check shows there's still no area for writers on the site ;-) Patience, patience... :-)
Our sincere thanks to Phil for taking the time to speak with us at ReelSEO.