Vimeo is drastically raising pricing for independent creators and will disable accounts if not paid. A number of Vimeo creators, some of whom had used the platform for more than a decade, recently spoke with The Verge about the company's moves.
Loish, a Dutch artist, said that Vimeo tried to charge her more that 17 times her previous annual fees. She'd been paying $200, an amount she'd believed was steep but justified due to the platform's quality.
Van Baarle has released 117 subscriber-only videos, and each one averages 150 views. Her most-viewed video has 815 views. So she was shocked when Vimeo contacted her on March 11 with an unwelcome uptick in required costs.
The company said that she'd used more bandwidth than the top 1% of Vimeos users. Therefore, she'd reportedly require a bespoke subscription to be able to keep uploading videos. Her new annual fee was $3,500, they continued, and she had only a week to upgrade her account or leave Vimeo.
"I've never been approached by a platform and told to ‘Pay up, or get off our platform,’” as she put it.
The writing has been on the wall for a while, but now Sud is coming for creators. Cartoon Brew was one of the first creators to sound the alarm about Vimeo's changed business model back in 2018.
Since then, Sud has completely made the turn from independent creators, telling The Verge that "We are not focusing on eyes and content on Vimeo."
"We honestly don't want Vimeo to be a destination for entertainment," she said.
In a recent letter to shareholders, she restated her stance and listed Nike, Gap, Bayer, and Williams-Sonoma as enterprise clients, calling Vimeo a tech platform and B2B solution, not a TV network or YouTube's indie alternative.
The company's $100 million in revenue last year suggests the plan is working, but its profitability has fallen short of investor expectations, and its stock price has slumped by about 80% since it went public last spring.
Vimeo's first year as a public company was "humbling," Sud told shareholders, because the company went public during a pandemic and experienced growing pains.
As awful as it has been for Vimeo, it's far worse for independent artists who must deal with a company that isn't transparent about price and may make their work inaccessible. Artists should back up their work on Vimeo and look for other video hosting sites.