I would like to tell you two short stories that have left me with unique perspectives and motivations for starting the Viewly project.
My rather short YouTube journey
Back in 2008, I tried building my YouTube career for fun. I was heavily into gaming at the time, and I've produced content that is best described as completely amateur and unedited version of Markiplier. I've enjoyed some moderate success, by amassing an aggregate of a couple million views (which was A LOT at that time), and I was featured on British Television.
We were the early adopters of the online video, and at the time it was common practice within the gaming community to play music in the background, or in intro/outro sections of the video. Being completely oblivious to the copyright laws at the time, I had done so on several videos of mine as well.
Unfortunately, powers at be did not like this, and Google under the pressure of copyright related lawsuits, finally caved in, and built the content ID system to catch copyright violations.
And then one day they flipped the switch. My YouTube account had been terminated over night, and all the videos I've made were permanently lost. And so were the videos of thousands of other people.
This has been a highly painful, but also perspective shifting experience, carrying a realization that the internet is comprised of counterparties, that have the power to eliminate your online identity, your legacy, on a whim.
I am not trying to make a case for copyright violations. I have broken the rules, and got booted off the platform as a result, which is fair enough.
The elephant in the room of online advertising
Shortly after my YouTube project had flopped, I stumbled into the online advertising business.
By serendipity, I've got a chance to work at a retail ad brokerage. Our core services were based on inventory arbitrage and campaign management. This is where I learned the ropes of the business, as well as its dark side - the rampant ad fraud.
At that time, the majority of ads, have been viewed by bots, resulting in a very poor ROI for advertisers. The issue of ad fraud has been brought to light in the recent years, and the industry has created a seemingly strong response (they even have their own conference now), however the problem remains largely unsolved.
Impression and CPC based advertising have been the cornerstone of monetization for online content, and despite all the recent advancements in tracking technology (spying on people), retargeting, and machine learning based optimization, its effectiveness remains questionable for many.
Can we do better?
Viewly is a highly ambitious project aiming to address the two major challenges:
1.) Can we build a decentralized video platform, that doesn't obsessively track its users just to serve them pesky ads?
2.) Can we leverage the innovation of the crypto tokens to create a sustainable, and scalable monetization models for content creators?
The proposals on how we plan to address these challenges are non-trivial, and deserve their own posts.
If you'd like to learn more about the project, and/or participate in the discussions, please sign up on Viewly and join our Telegram group.