It's getting pretty crowded in the video-sharing space.
This month, Viacom's
I decided to check it out, so I went ahead and uploaded a cheesy 11-second clip of my youngest son catching a football.
That's when the hoops started coming. As a parent, I had to first check off on an email to approve the submission. I get it. It's a children's website. Then I had to wait for the video to be accepted. Then I received an email with a form that I had to print out, fill out, and physically mail to Nickelodeon for the clip to potentially be featured on the show.
That was one hoop too many. It was a pretty lame clip, so I would really only be wasting my time. Besides, with so many video-sharing sites out there, who needs to wait for television when a plethora of Web video sites offer nearly instant gratification?
Hopping off the Soapbox
Just last week, Microsoft
Surfing around, it didn't take long to find clips from South Park, Family Guy, and Chappelle's Show on the site. Between the cash-rich pinatas of Google and Microsoft, copyright lawyers must be drooling over the litigious possibilities.
As far as websites go, I'll go on record as saying that Soapbox was worth the wait. The interface is stylishly slick. I've seen most of the top clips elsewhere, but I'll award MSN a bucketful of style points. Could MSN have gone with a name other than Soapbox? Sure. You do know who owns Soapbox.com, don't you? Old-school Fools don't even have to guess.
However, Soapbox will probably need a soapbox to get noticed in this very crowded space. Every major search engine has a video site now. Google actually has two. Then we get into the smaller fry.
This week alone, I've written about recent brand-building at Ziddio and Joost. They may just seem like funny words, but isn't that a trait of most successful Internet sites these days? Besides, the two sites come with their pedigree papers. Ziddio is the handiwork of cable behemoth Comcast
So many streams, not enough time
It's getting pretty hard to get noticed these days. Crowding the playing field even more are networks like Disney's
And just because it starts in your computer doesn't mean that the wave of viral videos ends there. Sites like YouTube and Revver already have deals with top wireless carriers to send their most popular videos to your cell phones. No matter where you turn, some ridiculous pratfall, sleepy pet, or webcam confessional is never too far away.
As an investor, it may get frustrating. Everyone is angling for your clips. Some sites, like Revver (and, eventually, YouTube), will even cut you in on the ad-sharing revenue. With so many sites competing to showcase you -- yes, you -- will we ever have a stock market winner?
Of course. In fact, I can think of two big winners that should cash in beautifully in this clip culture clash. The first is Akamai
The other winner is Logitech
So, sure, there are plenty of sites competing for your eyes. However, put your mind to it and you will find that there are also several investing opportunities competing for your portfolio.
And those, after all, are the hoops worth jumping through.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a huge fan of viral videos. Yes, his webcam is a Logitech. He does own shares in Disney. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.