Written by Nick Heer.

Vimeo Is Telling Creators to Pay Up Thousands of Dollars

Channel 5, an interview channel on Patreon:

My Vimeo contact told me that all of my videos had been removed from Patreon because I’d exceeded Vimeo’s ‘bandwidth limit’ (image 1). Bear in mind, we haven’t uploaded a single Channel 5 video directly to Vimeo, we’ve only uploaded through Patreon’s built-in video feature, so I was confused. Not to mention, the Patreon-exclusive videos we release through only get a couple thousand views per video, which is nothing compared to our view counts on larger platforms like YouTube and Instagram.

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We were asked to send our company info (Image 2), then after contesting with Vimeo for a while, I was referred to a ‘compliance team,’ who gave me an ultimatum (image 3):

Pay Vimeo between $8,000-$9000 a year, or our account will be deactivated and all videos hosted through Vimeo will be gone. Their figure for a 2 year plan is $16,500…

They note they were already paying for Vimeo, at $250 per year. To be forced to switch from that predictable cost — or even the most expensive Vimeo plan that is $900 per year in the U.S. — to one costing thousands per year is damn near extortive, especially when little warning is given. It is the kind of bait-and-switch Google is becoming known for. For what it is worth, YouTube is not a competitor for many Vimeo use cases: among other shortcomings, videos cannot be locked to embedding or playback at specific domains, and YouTube videos cannot be replaced at the same URL unless the account holder is a major brand or studio.

Mia Sato, the Verge:

Over the past four to five years, Vimeo has made a hard pivot away from being the YouTube alternative that van Baarle and other video creators originally signed up for. Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud has talked at length about this strategy shift, telling The Verge last year that the goal is to be a software company for businesses of “all sizes.” But in Vimeo’s 2021 Q4 earnings report, the focus is on the corporate clients, with Sud highlighting that some of the largest companies in the world are buying Vimeo’s products.

In a letter to shareholders in February, Sud spells the shift out in black and white: “Today we are a technology platform, not a viewing destination. We are a B2B solution, not the indie version of YouTube.”

Andy Baio:

Vimeo says they’re only asking the top 1% of bandwidth-users to pay up, but that’s a shockingly low bar: one creator said their most-viewed subscriber-only video had only 815 views, enough to put them in the top 1% of all users and requiring a $3,500 yearly plan.

The criteria Vimeo is using sounds banal but is alarmingly elastic. If major creators begin leaving the platform, the cutoff for what constitutes the top 1% of users drops further. It means someone who was happily using Vimeo at $20 per month may be required to multiply that budget by ten with little warning.

Vimeo has been around since the early 2000s and picked up a reputation for quality and creator friendliness. Since it became an independent company two years ago, it has seen the money in enterprise accounts and has apparently decided to tank its reputation. What a loss.