Metacafe Flavors Video Search with Wikipedia-Type Perk
Erstwhile YouTube alternative Metacafe launches a new Wikipedia-like tool called Wikicafe, which lets users make video search more effective through open metadata tagging. Users can go in and edit information about the videos and add links and other content. The tool typifies Web 2.0 messaging and collaboration.
Short-form video site Metacafe,
one of a handful of sites looking to offer users a video experience that is not
a carbon copy of Google's YouTube video-sharing site, has opened its metadata
for community contributions and editing.
This means not only can Metacafe's 30 million monthly viewers upload videos to the site, but they can edit video titles, tags, descriptions or any relevant notes about the videos.
Called Wikicafe, the feature is designed to eliminate so-called tag abuse, where inaccurate or incomplete metadata thwarts users who are trying to find what they want through video search.
"What we've found is that if your metadata isn't of the highest quality and as complete as possible, it can be really hard to match the right video to the right viewer," Michelle Cox, director of corporate communications, told me.
For example, Wikicafe Product Manager Avi Yaar told me that users who go to video search engine Blinkx get different results if they search for "United States" and "U.S." Or, they get different results from searching "Play Station 3" and "PS3."
Wikicafe lets users edit the tags to indicate "Play Station 3" and "PS3" mean the same thing. Ideally, this will improve the experience of users hunting for Metacafe content.
The idea is to help Metacafe users create a wealth of accurate or meaningful information about the videos on the site, making it easier for current and future users to find videos they're looking for.
For example, by clicking "Edit Video Details" on any Metacafe video page, a music lover can open Wikicafe and make and save changes to information on a video from their favorite band, actor or some other subject. These changes are immediately updated on the site and are visible.
Allowing users to edit video content metadata may seem like a small perk, but it's emblematic of the user-generated feel of the Web 2.0 world, where users can have more control over the content they leverage on the Web. In short, what Metacafe is offering in Wikicafe is a Wikipedia-like experience.
We're seeing search engines, such as iLeonardo, Delver and several other Web services, offer this kind of social experience for users.
As far as Metacafe is concerned, Wikicafe could help the video site retain existing fans and lure new users with the promise of accurate video search. The larger Metacafe's video database gets, the more crucial it will be to help users find what they want when they want, fast.
Moreover, Yaar said Wikicafe will enable advertisers to sponsor groups of user-generated tags, or a folksonomy. Yaar contends letting advertisers sponsor clusters of tags broadens their reach to different demographics.
Metacafe is decidedly different from YouTube, allowing some 80,000 community reviewers around the world who get to look at videos uploaded to the site. These folks weed out videos that are boring and recommend those that are in step with Metacafe's goal of providing entertaining video clips.
So, the audience decides what appears on Metacafe's home page, whereas YouTube's staffers decide what appears on its home page.
Metacafe, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has 80 employees. The company's video site is entirely advertising supported.