Following on from YouTube’s success in garnering audience, Microsoft have rolled out their own video sharing site called Soapbox. Right now, the site is in closed beta but I applied for an account and had one on a couple of hours!
The site runs out of Flash which means it looks very well, but it can take some time to load up initially. An idea might be to have a “Loading…” image appear at this point ‘cos several times I thought there was nothing happening and I was about to click away when it opened (and I’m on a relativelymfast broadband connection!).
For some reason Soapbox has an upper limit of five on the number of tags you can use to tag a video. I’m not sure why this is but it seems a silly restriction. Removing this restriction would seem like an easy way to quickly improve on the service.
As a quick comparison of the services, I shot a quick video on my cameraphone and uploaded it to three video sharing services (Blip.tv, Soapbox and YouTube).
Of the three, Soapbox has the furthest to go in terms of adding Social Networking functionality.
One other issue Microsoft need to address is Licensing – on Blip.tv I can add a Creative Commons License to my videos; YouTube has a share or private option, however with Soapbox, you agree to make your videos completely open. I don’t know that I’d want that. I think the Blip.tv option is best on this score.
So overall, Soapbox is not bad for a first attempt but there’s plenty more work to do to bring it up to its competitors.