Tuesday Top Ten: Video-sharing sites gunning for YouTube's crown

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YouTube’s valuation seems to be climbing by the week: $1 billion a fortnight ago, $2 billion last week. And its owners don’t even want to sell! Or at least, that’s what they say. But YouTube isn’t the only site in this video-sharing game, even if it does trouser most of the publicity. Dozens of video-sharing services have sprung up in the last 18 months to cater for the desire of thousands of internet users to share their video, and the willingness of millions more to watch it.

For that reason, here’s ten of the sites which may not be receiving the media attention that YouTube is, but are still worth a look if you’re looking for an online venue for your video.

1. SelfcastTV
The plucky Brit upstart aiming to give YouTube a bloody nose, focusing on the fact that by targeting UK users specifically, the resulting videos will be more culturally relevant here. So what do us Brits want to see? Er, smut, judging by this week’s most popular vids, which either involve boobs, nudity or women kissing. However, the vids highlighted by the SelfcastTV team show there is more to the site than webcam sapphism. Read Tech Digest’s interview with SelfcastTV founder Suranga Chandratillake for more info on the site’s aims and intentions.

2. Blip.tv
Set up by five New York City hipsters who wanted to bring free video publishing to people who "are unable or unwilling to get outlets from major media organizations in the United States and throughout the world". The popular videos are less political than that’d lead you to expect, with some of this week’s popular vids focusing on Web 2.0 sites and other techy events, although there’s a number of music videos and sports clips too.

3. Motionbox
Video-sharing site that focuses on ease-of-use, and in particular "the good stuff" – the most interesting bits of action that are often in the middle of longer videos, making you watch through 30 seconds of tedium to get to the good bit. With that in mind, the site has simple editing facilities to cut your videos down to the good stuff. Animals seem to be popular with the site’s users, whether it’s jellyfish, baby penguins, or bouncing hippos. That said, bouncing hippos should be popular with everyone.

4. Grouper
One of the most impressive video-sharing sites, Grouper combines a slick design with plenty of sharing options, not least the way you can download every single video to your computer to "remix, mash up and re-share". The vids are also formatted for iPods, and there’s the option to restrict your video uploads to only be seen by friends and family. On this week’s most popular vids list, music videos from the likes of Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson and Shakira are high, although there’s a healthy dose of karate-baby and Hungarian-sausage-commercial silliness too.

5. Vimeo
It may sound like a new fizzy drink, but Vimeo is a stripped-down video-sharing site that feels quick and easy to use, whether you’re uploading or just watching. The site also plays on its community aspects, and there’s a bunch of easy-to-grasp statistics on your homepage to tell you just how popular your videos are with other users. Finding stuff to watch is highly based on what your contacts like, although you can go for a general search to nose around too.

6. Sharkle
Another YouTube-alike with beefed up community features, including the ability to invite friends to join your group, and share videos just within that. There’s also the usual ability to vote and comment on other videos. What’s popular? Check the tags: funny song friends dance cute love girls party sexy fight dancing… You get the picture.

7. ClipShack
This video-sharing site has recently had a revamp, with a bunch of new features. For example, the CS Interactive section gets users to submit video reviews of their favourite books, films, video games and TV shows, while the ‘Cellphone Upload’ feature lets you, yes, upload vids from your mobile phone. And the ability to import your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Outlook address book is a neat bonus. Videos of people’s children seem to be popular, judging from the last seven days.

8. Ourmedia.org
A well-organised site that straddles the divide between video-sharing and podcasting, complete with some effective tutorials on how it all works, and an open media directory to help you find legal podsafe music to use in your videos. The serious feel is increased by the way users are referred to as ‘artists’, and there’s some thought-provoking content on the site, although it could be easier to browse your way around.

9. Revver
"Revverize your videos" suggests this site, making an early bid for the ‘shoehorned-in verb of the year’ award. A big emphasis on humour in the popular videos, although kids get a look-in, and also some informative How Tos (if you want to be informed about ‘how to fake a vomit’, that is.) But the interesting aspect is that Revver aims to make you dosh for your videos by adding single-frame ads at the end of your clips. Every time it’s clicked on, you get some money.

10. Pixpo
Another service with a focus towards ‘personal broadcasting’, encouraging users to produce regular content. So it’s more video-blogging than just video-sharing. It’s not an uploading service though: instead, Pixpo is about streaming live video over the Internet. So it’s not very much like YouTube at all, but shows how the concept of video-sharing can be taken one stage further if you have the time and the inclination.

Stuart Dredge