Vimeo Clarifies Its High-Bandwidth Policy

After several video makers expressed concern over Vimeo’s crackdown on high-bandwidth users, attempting to extract thousands of dollars annually from some with only a week’s notice, Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud today posted an update:

For those who consume large amounts of video bandwidth — repeatedly hitting the bandwidth threshold for Vimeo’s top 1% of users — we have continued to enforce legacy policies that are poorly communicated and that are causing unnecessary friction and anxiety. We have been too slow to act upon user feedback, and as a consequence, have damaged user trust. This pains me greatly, and does not do justice to the passion and hard work of our team. I’d like to offer an apology for this, and more importantly, a solution.

Vimeo says it will set a flat threshold of 2 TB when it will begin billing users based on actual bandwidth used at the higher rate instead of their typical monthly rate. It also says it will notify users when they are about to hit that amount, and that it will give thirty days’ notice rather than seven, which was plainly ridiculous. These are welcome improvements — predictability is good — but it is unclear if users will only be charged extra during months when they exceed 2 TB.

Update: My initial read on this was wrong — or, if I am being charitable to myself, unclear. Vimeo is not billing based on actual bandwidth, which I think would make a lot of sense. Instead, these are still the expensive annual plans that users must pay for in a lump sum — I do not understand why Vimeo does not want to bill these on a monthly basis like all the rest of its plans — but the floor is a firm 2 TB instead of the vague “top 1% of users” criteria it used previously. Not great. (Thanks to Andy Baio for the correction.)

Also, this is an interesting change:

We will be rolling out an exemption policy moving forward where creative professionals would not be restricted by the 2TB bandwidth threshold, as long as they aren’t using Vimeo to monetize those videos elsewhere. We will have more details that we’ll share within the next 30 days, and you’ll be able to find that information on our help center.

This will not affect those who use Vimeo through Patreon, since they are charging for video access, but it sounds like it will help those using Vimeo to host a portfolio, for example.