Thursday, July 23, 2009

Amazon's Bezos Uses YouTube to Explain Zappos Deal - But, C'mon, THAT Vid Quality?

Yes, certainly the news of Amazon getting dressed with Zappos' shoes for the tune of $800+ million is interesting.

But, more interesting to me is the way that Amazon announced the deal yesterday. In a further sign of the critical importance and impact of online video -- and its inherently viral nature -- CEO Jeff Bezos posted a folksy video on YouTube to explain the deal to the world. That alone is quite newsworthy.

"Folksy" is good, especially for Amazon -- which has always prided itself in being the "regular guy" on the Internet giant block. But, terrible video quality is not. And, take a look at the video quality of Bezos's YouTube video -- it is downright horrible! As my head of marketing, Eric Quanstrom, wrote to me yesterday, "what were Amazon's marketing people thinking????"

Quality, quality, quality -- that is job 1 for Internet video. To maximize impact -- including viral distribution (i.e., getting your videos seen by the most people) -- the experience of the viewer is paramount.

And, quality comes from two primary places -- the video capture itself (i.e., the type of camera that is used), and the video encoding process (i.e., compression). As powerful and ubiquitous as YouTube is -- let's face it, we all use it all the time -- it is not an option to the video professional for many reasons (quality being top on that list). Why? Because YouTube and all other video publishing services use varying flavors of server-side encoding. This may be okay for consumers. But, quality is of utmost importance to video professionals, an nothing beats the quality, power and control of client-side encoding. I have written about this previously.

So, Amazon -- "A" for effort and marketing ingenuity with the Bezos YouTube video; but, "F" for execution (okay, maybe a D) ...