The story of similar services vying for the same audience isn’t anything new. What makes this an interesting thread to watch is that as the contenders here are both social computing sites, part of the audience they are competing for are also their primary content creators. The result is a war not just of companies, but rather of self made “celebrities.”

I stumbled across this during my citizen journalist research on YouTube and it sucked me in. The breakdown goes something like this:

  • 2006? – comes online
    For the life of me I can’t find a date for this. But I know it happens sometime before October.
  • Oct 9, 2006 Google Acquires YouTube
    The google linkage is will come up numerous times in the arguments that follow.
  • Oct 25, 2006 – Smosh launches a LiveVideo channel
    Smosh, a pair of 19 years olds, were one of the YouTube’s better known successes. The rational behind their move, and the re-branding of their videos as “Powered by” will eventually be called into question.
  • Nov 2006 – ~Jan 1, 2007 – relative quietv
  • ~Jan 1 – 20, 2007 – Flurry of activity – Investigation and Migration
    During this period a number of YouTube members post videos reviewing the LiveVideo service. Some announce, via YouTube, that they are setting up duel accounts. A number of prominent YouTube community members1 migrate to LiveVideo entirely.
  • Jan 20, 2007 –Renetto v-blogs “Traitors or Not.. Smosh, Geriatric1927, Boh3m3, DIGITILsOuL?
    Paul Renetto, a well known YouTube v-blogger, attacks Smosh and others YouTube members who have established LiveVideo accounts. He alledges that a number of them were paid by LiveVideo to jump ship and refers to them as traitors.
  • Jan 20 – 23, 2007 – Explosive Response
    Youtube an LiveVideo explode with feedback. On YouTube the video generates 170 response videos. At LiveVideo there are at least 77 responses posted.
  • Jan 23, 2007 -Renetto follows up with “Are you all being duped by a “Corporate Marketing Scam”?
    Renetto responds to the controversy his first post generated. By his account, the majority of feedback he got was negative. Three major points come out of this video:

    1. In October, he was approached by LiveVideo to migrate. He claims that LiveVideo offered to pay him to make the move.
    2. YouTube has paid Renetto, and other members, at least twice for videos. Once for the YouTube Christmas Video, and again for the New Years Eve video.
    3. He was appraochedby a talent agency who claimed that YouTube will be launching some form of revenue sharing program. This agency offered to represent him in artist negotiations with YouTube.

Since that time there has been a bit of back and forth postings. Renetto’s second post has generated at least 58 YouTube video responses so far. More responses are coming on LiveVideo. In the meantime, community members on both sites are posting videos rationalizing their decisions to stay, go, and in some cases remain neutral on these issues.

Ok, with all of that set up, tomorrow (or soon there after) I’m going to dive into the metapragmatics of this exchange as a there’s a lot of “culture” happening as I type.

1 – The list of users will eventually make it up here.