If you’re going to start a business, what better way to than to leverage the popularity of an existing brand – and if you’re going to do that, you might as well make it a big one.
Vzaar started out as an idea to take on eBay by creating a marketplace where everything was sold via video. After a bit of feedback from an ex-eBay employee, the decision was made to work with the behemoth rather than against them – and create a tool to help eBayers make the most of video in their listings.
A little over 18 months later, vzaar is now the second largest provider of video on eBay and have expanded their services to enable simple video posting on any website.
I caught up with Jamie Parkins, the COO and ‘business guy’ at vzaar, and asked him to tell us a bit more:
OK, so give us the low-down, what’s vzaar?
“Think “YouTube for Business” and you won’t be far off. Video is the fastest growing medium on the web and vzaar aims to help businesses and small to medium enterprises harness that by offering a video streaming and hosting service.
In simple terms, you upload your video content to vzaar, we encode it and give back to you a professional looking, unbranded player that you can use to distribute video across your own website or eBay listings. In turn we cover all the streaming and hosting of the video so that businesses don’t have to worry about that and in return we charge a small monthly fee based on the amount of bandwidth you use.”
Who’s it for?
“Anyone can use vzaar but we started off initially designed for use on eBay as there was an obvious opportunity to help PowerSellers increase their turnover by offering video as a means to showcase the products and services they sell. That grew quite quickly to the point that we are now the second largest video provider on eBay and to date the only one that utilise the eBay API to ensure that adding a video is as easy as possible.
That meant that we designed the vzaar service with sellers in mind. You don’t need to be a programmer or HMTL wizard to be able to effectively add video to your listings. It really is a case of Shoot, Upload and Sell.
With around 1.3 million businesses selling on eBay worldwide the feedback we got from them was that they wanted to use this video asset across the numerous other websites on which they sell – such is the way of the modern day online retailer.
That meant restructuring our product slightly and so since last November it has now been possible to use the vzaar player on any website. That widened the playing field for us and so now means that we see a variety of businesses, enterprises and PowerSellers now using vzaar.”
What’s been your biggest milestone to date?
“In November of 2008 we turned around our product almost overnight due to the large number of eBay sellers demanding that they be able to use their video on alternative websites to eBay. That mean redesigning our player, brining in an amended pricing structure and turning on controls such as bandwidth measuring.
It was both scary and exhilarating as we were matching what the customer was demanding at the busiest time of the retail year online. But we made it and since that time we’ve seen visits, new users and paying users grow.”
What does the next year hold for in store for vzaar?
“There are some really exciting opportunities lined up in 2009 both on eBay and across the online retail space. We are constantly having to redesign our player so that we keep up with changes in the video industry.
Widescreen and High Definition players are looming and we have something really exciting in the eBay arena bubbling away nicely that we look forward to sharing more on soon. Keeping our product competitive when it comes to cost is also key given the year ahead and the expected cuts across ecommerce marketing budgets.”