Vodpod.com was an online resource that provided a bookmarking service with video search and sharing features. The site’s users could import, edit, and curate videos from YouTube, Hulu, and other video sites around the web.
The service provided by Vodpod.com would become quite popular over the years. Reports indicated that Vodpod claimed its website was getting between 3.5 and 4 million unique visitors per month.
Anyone trying to find Vodpod today will get a message showing that the website is no longer online: “This site can’t be reached” because “www.vodpod.com’s server IP address could not be found.” We took some time to follow the site’s history, the service it provided, and changes in its ownership. We hope that this will lead us to the reason the site is no longer online.
Vodpod.com appears online for the first time in 2006. Visitors to the site at that time got the message, “We are in private beta right now, but feel free to put yourself on the mailing list, and we will notify you when we are open for business.” Adding, “You will need an invitation to access our service.”
Activity on the website starts to scale at the beginning of 2007, after the service was launched to the public on December 4, 2006. The website indicated the launch was in response to the growing popularity of sites like YouTube that made it possible for those with the means and equipment to publish videos.
Vodpod predicted that the popularity of video sharing was likely to result in “thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of video sharing websites in the coming 5-10 years.”
Vodpod was launched under the ownership of a San Francisco, California, company called Remixation, headed by Mark Hall.
The team heading the company included engineers Spencer Miles and Phil Kulak, Kyle Kingsbury, a motorcycle enthusiast, and Tom Genoni, a developer and designer. This team said that its goal was “to make Vodpod the best way for people to find & share the best videos from any site, with anyone, on any device.”
According to Jemima Kiss, in an article published by TheGuardian.com, Vodpod was funded by individual investors and True Ventures, the venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley that also funded WordPress.
In a blog post on December 4, 2006, Vodpod.com welcomed users by explaining what Vodpod is, telling them, “We think it’s the best way to watch the video with your friends, or whole communities of people who share your interests and tastes.”
The idea behind Vodpod was centered on a Pod. Registered users were allowed to create Pods where they stored their videos so that others could watch them. Users could add videos from popular video sites like YouTube, Myspace, or Google Video into their Pods. Pod owners could also upload their own videos.
Vodpod.com provided “a browser bookmarklet that makes it extremely easy to add a video to your Pod from top video sharing sites like YouTube.” The website also had widgets that allowed users to export their Pods to their websites or blogs.
In a 2008 interview, Kiss asks Hall, “How do you make money?” Hall’s answer: “We don’t yet, at least not significant amounts of it.” Hall also tells Kiss that the company was experimenting with advertising on its website and members’ widgets under a revenue-sharing arrangement.
In the same interview, Hall tells Kiss that at that time, they were “mostly still focused on making the service as easy to use as possible.” This seems to have been a great strategy if you follow the company’s history further down the years.
In the 2008 interview, when Hall told Kiss that their focus was not money but building a service that was as easy as possible, those with deep pockets were watching. In September 2011, the social commerce network, Lockerz, announced that it had purchased Vodpod.
Neither Lockerz nor Vodpod indicated what the financial terms of the deal were.
In the press release announcing the purchase, Seattle-based Lockerz says that its “mission is to be the homepage for men and women ages 13 to 30, building a community of more than 45 million unique visitors monthly and tastemakers who love to shop, play, and connect on the Web.”
The people at Lockerz were clear about the advantages of bringing Vodpod into the fold. “Lockerz video offering is among the most popular activities on the site, generating nearly 400 million views in the past year,” said the company’s statement. The statement continues, “The library includes thousands of music videos from the likes of Katy Perry, Coldplay, and Snoop Dogg, as well as three Lockerz original content series.”
After purchasing Vodpod, Lockerz posted a statement on Vodpod.com giving a hint of what the site’s new owner wanted to do. The statement read, “The Vodpod site will remain unchanged for the time being, and eventually the service will be integrated with Lockerz.”
The same statement adds, “Regardless, you will continue to enjoy the same experience you’ve come to know and love from Vodpod, and in time, will benefit from more innovation as Lockerz develops the product further.” Users were promised that “Lockerz is committed to making any transition smooth and seamless for customers.”
The team at Remixation indicated that after the sale of Vodpod, it would focus on Showyou, a video-sharing application for iPad and iPhone. In an article published by GeekWire.com, John Cook reports that “Lockerz has retained the consulting services of a former Remixation engineer who will help with the integration of the Vodpod service.”
As expected, in early 2012, Vodpod.com posted a message on its website: “All Vodpod services are being transferred today to Lockerz.com.” In the same post, the Remixation team thanked all its users for supporting and using Vodpod.
On June 11, 2012, Lockerz started redirecting Vodpod visitors to its website. The redirect seems to have broken sometime toward the end of 2014.