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‘YouTube vs. Google Video vs. Revver’ and the brilliant mind of Chris Pirillo

Chris PirilloWhen Chris Pirillo, former CEO of LockerGnome, Inc., created an experimental project titled “YouTube vs. Google Video vs. Revver” he couldn’t have foreseen how each user-generated video sharing platform would grow or change over time.

As part of his project, Chris created three testimonial videos, each extolling the benefits of the individual platforms. Combined, the videos were a satirical reference of how fans of individual products advocate for the one they think is best and attack the option they feel is weak by comparison.

The videos were posted to Chris’s blog and configured to play simultaneously. The result was hilarious as he argued with himself over which platform was the absolute best. The page and videos quickly went viral.

My personal favorite was the Revver version where Chris began to growl and bark at the other versions of himself to assert dominance and began repeating “rev, rev, Rev, Rev, revvveer” like a barking dog.

So, which platform won out in the end? That would be YouTube, which is the only version of Chris’s video that still exists online today. The story of what happened to Revver is an interesting one. Revver was considered to be a potential disruptor and innovator in the user-generated video market.

YouTube vs. Revver vs. Google Video

What happened to Revver?

An image of the Revver Corporate Logo.
The Revver Corporate Logo

Revver was a video sharing platform for user-generated content. It was founded by Steven Starr, Ian Clark, and Oliver Luckett in Los Aneles and launched May 5, 2005.

The startup received investments from Comcast Interactive Capital, Turner Broadcasting, and a group of other investors. Clark left Revver in 2006 as did Starr in 2007.

To promote the launch of their redesign in September 2006, they partnered with YouTube sensation lonelygirl15. Like many video sharing platforms of that era, it used a Flash-based video delivery method. One way Revver attempted to differentiate itself was by being the first platform to allow contributors to monetize their uploads through an ad revenue sharing model which gave affiliates 20% of proceeds, which was a brand new idea in the early 2000s. At the time, mixing Coke and Mentos was emerging and becoming a trend. The creators of those videos earned US$50,000 on Revver, news of which began to quickly grow the platform’s user base.

Revver went on to receive awards as the “Most Influential Independent Website” by Television Week, were nominated for an “Advanced Technology Emmy Award,” and honored as “One of the 100 Most Promising Startups” by Red Herring. They partnered with Verizon Wireless to distribute content to their “V CAST” service. By 2007, the company had paid out its first US$1 million in ad revenue shares.

The end for Revver began when it was acquired by LiveUniverse for US$5 million in February 2008. LiveUniverse immediately shut down the revenue sharing model and some of the top contributors claimed to have never received their final payments. Within two years, the State of California listed the status of LiveUniverse as “Suspended” and Revver officially became defunct on August 20, 2011.

What happened to Google Video?

Logo for "Google videos."
The original Google Videos logo.

Google Video was a hosting service that integrated with Google’s famous search engine. The service launched January 25, 2005 and was positioned as a way to offload the bandwidth and storage capacity challenges of streaming video. Users had the option to stream videos via the Google Video website or to install a standalone player on Windows or Mac OS X that supported downloading video files for future playback.

Google also began to dabble with running an online video store. Towards that end, they established partnerships with CBS, the NBA, The Charlie Rose Show, and Sony BMG. As this second iteration of Google Video continued, historic films and recordings were also made available from the U.S. National Archive on the platform. Finally, Google began to extend Google Video to also search competing platforms like Vimeo, MySpace and Yahoo! Video.

A year after launching their own video service, Google acquired YouTube for an awe-inspiring US$1.65 billion in stock. The acquisition was completed in November 2006 and Google continued to operate the Google Video service for another four years. In 2009, Google stopped accepting new user-generated videos

Redesigned logo for Google videos.
Redesigned Google Video logo displayed on their video search service.

In 2011, Google announced that they would stop hosting user-uploaded content. These videos were changed to being no longer available for viewing and Google indicated they would delete all content by mid-year. Shortly thereafter, Google walked this decision back in response to negative feedback. They alternate their plan to migrate users videos to the YouTube service instead of delete everything. Google Video’s final day was August 20, 2012 at which time the service was shut down and server resources were shifted to hosting Google Photos. Though, the Google Video brand name continued to live on in the form of Google’s video search offering.

What’s Chris Pirillo up to now?

Thankfully, Chris is still active online. He can be followed on Twitter, where he posts regularly. Chris also streams every night on Twitch TV and maintains a channel on YouTube.