A long time ago I was offended at something Wistia did. I reacted strongly, and had a thought exercise in what our place was. We don’t love being part of big lists of the “best evar video producers” because the traffic that comes is always bad. Conversations go like this:
Client: “Hey, I saw your post, I want a video for $7,000.”
Me: “Um, our prices are higher.”
Client: “OK, so-and-so will do it for that. Next.”
Not a fun conversation for me, and worse for the client because they (usually) wind up with a bad video experience and a waste of $7k. Nobody wins. So it was in that lens that I took Wistia’s 50 Grove offering and advertising. I also didn’t want to lend my credibility to what I thought was harming the video industry (which I love). Giving Simplifilm’s tacit endorsement to that project is a no-go.
With the ad that they shared, I felt like they wanted our endorsement for their credibility. And I didn’t wanna give it.
A while (years) later, we have used Wistia for all sorts of things, with hundreds of clients & projects. Because they are good and because they are committed. And because they are data friendly.
Want to run an A/B Test? Use Wistia.
Want to collect an email mid-roll? Wistia.
Want to have a custom player you control by a company you paid for? Wistia.
Want to be ready for the future? Wistia.
Want the best analytics? Wistia.
I like other places – don’t get me wrong, I love me some Viddler, Vimeo, Youtube. All of them have an important spot in the ecosystem. But if I was an investor, I’d rather have shares of Wistia than anyone else. They have an apparently fine tuned improvement engine that has made great strides.
Put it this way: I’m biased against Wistia and I still love the company. I wish they were awful, but they are so good, so good for the industry, a mistake (50 grove) must be forgiven.
They are better than they were last year, and there is no doubt that this version of their product is going to feel like a clunky 1997 web page in short order. They have some things to do – namely, build out a non-commercial producer centric place. But they have the tools, the integrations and more…fine tuned and design.
Yesterday they announced or rolled out Customize. More stuff you can do, a CMS system for videos so you can have either global or granular changes to your videos at your finger tips. I’m in.
With grudging respect, I tip my hat to Wistia. I’ll always hate things that commoditize video producers (or try to control the leads) so we can agree to disagree on 50 Grove (not like they care about me).
The bottom line:
Should you use wistia? If you’re a marketer yes. If you’re trying to learn about video engagement, yes. If you’re an author? Probably not- Youtube will gain more advantage
Biggest advantages: Marketing toolkit.
Biggest disadvantage: They have not shown an S3-like commitment to price reduction as they scale. Once they accrue a competitive advantage, it’s hard to see what they will do.