Woomu: Another video sharing site, with some twists

Woomu is a new video sharing site with a couple of interesting twists. The biggest difference between woomu and other video sharing sites such as YouTube is that woomu is simply an aggregator, rather than a video hosting service. While this approach provides relative freedom from pesky copyright troubles like the ones YouTube has faced recently, I’m inclined to think that it may stifle other advantages such as easy sharing.

Like Digg, Newsvine, and other community-driven content sites, woomu also allows users to vote on individual videos, determining which files appear on the homepage of the site. The woomu twist is that besides voting files up to the homepage, users can also vote an individual file down. This two-way-street approach is one that other community-driven sites have stayed away from for the most part, choosing instead to go with a weighted voting system that favors reporting bad links over straight down votes. woomu puts the yea vs. nay on an even keel- but will it work?

woomu logo
Dave McAdam, co-founder of woomu, took some time to answer some questions about the new service via email. In the interview, Dave talks about the difference between woomu and other video sites, how the service fits in with the emerging distributed content model, and what the name means. The entire interview appears after the break.

Jason Clarke: What is woomu? What does the name mean?

Dave McAdam, woomu: The short answer: Woomu is where you will find all the best video on the web.

The long answer: Woomu is a website where users can submit links to videos and then other users can vote for (woo) or against (mu) them. All submissions go into the “woomu queue”, and if they get enough votes they will make it to the main page. The result is a frequently updated collection of the best videos on the web.

The name “woomu” is a mashup of the words “woo” and “mu”
“woo” is what people say when they’re happy, like when Homer Simpson gets a free beer. Woo!

“mu” is a negative word, it means “to be lacking, or to be without.”

Jason: There’s a big list of video sharing sites out there, including YouTube, Google Video, and many more. How is woomu different and/or better?

Dave: Woomu is different than other video sharing sites like YouTube or Google Video, because you can find links to the best videos on the web wherever they might be. On YouTube, you will only find videos that are on YouTube.

Jason: Like Digg and other social content sites, woomo’s homepage videos are determined by voting them up. But woomu also includes the option to vote it down. How does a vote down button change the dynamic of the site’s community?

Dave: I’m a big fan of Digg, but many times I’ve found myself wishing there was a way to actually vote against a story, and I think many other people feel the same way. So I decided to give users the power to both vote for and against the videos that get submitted. I think being able to reward the good stuff by voting it up, and punish the bad stuff by voting it down adds a little extra spice to the community, especially since your votes are out in public for everyone to see.

“woomu is all about displaying the best videos wherever they might be on the web instead of just a single site. One of the biggest advantages is that we can link to copyrighted video.”
-Dave McAdam, founder, woomu

Jason: Video sharing site YouTube first made national news in December 2005 for its part in making the Saturday Night Video “Lazy Sunday” popular. Now, NBC has succeeded in getting YouTube to remove its content from the YouTube site. How will woomu deal with copyright infringement issues like this?

Dave: Woomu deals with copyright issues by simply not hosting anything. Woomu just links you to where the good stuff is, we don’t host it. Sites like YouTube actually host videos on their website, so they’re the ones who are distributing them, which is where the legal issues get a bit nasty…woomu is all about displaying the best videos wherever they might be on the web instead of just a single site. One of the biggest advantages is that we can link to copyrighted video.

An interesting example, this week NBC pursued legal action against YouTube for distributing their copyrighted Saturday Night Live videos on YouTube, specifically the very funny and popular “Lazy Sunday” video. So YouTube had to remove that content from their site, along with hundreds of other copyrighted videos. Now, if you’re looking for the Lazy Sunday video, you won’t be able to find it at YouTube. But since Woomu doesn’t host any of
the videos and just provides links, we’re still able to send you to the video.

Jason: Does woomu have any plans to offer tools for videobloggers or content creators?

Dave: One thing I’d like to do is create a section on the site that teaches people how to make great video for the web. Everything from shooting video, editing, encoding, hosting, etc… I’d also like to add a forum where users can discuss all things video related among themselves.

Jason: Sounds like some cool things coming. A related question- Sites like the new classifieds service Edgeio are breaking ground by allowing content creators to host their own works, while Edgeio uses RSS to pull it all together. What do you think about this approach for woomu?

At the moment, if content producers want to submit a link to their video, they have to login and fill out the submit form. I think that’s pretty easy, and most people are familiar with that process. I’ve read about edgio, and it sounds interesting, but I think it’s too early to tell if it will be a successul model for the future, but if the model that edgio is developing becomes popular, I’d be happy to enable similar functionality on woomu.

Jason: Can you talk about woomu’s plans to grow its community?

Dave: My plan to grow the community is to invite video bloggers (vloggers) to submit links to their video posts. Woomu is a great way to get some visitors to your video blog. Also, video bloggers are a group of people who are obviously passionate about video on the web, which is exactly the type of people I want.

Jason: What’s under woomu’s hood? PHP, Ruby, or something different? Any other technologies of note at work?

Dave: I’m a big promoter of anything open source, and woomu reflects that. We built the site on LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP), also, the voting and a few other features make use of Ajax so you can vote without having to refresh the page.

Jason: Anything else you’d like to add?

Dave: We just launched the site, so anyone who wants to join and start voting and submitting is welcome!

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