Microsoft is pulling back on Soapbox, the UGC site the company launched in 2006, creating another video victim lost in the wake of YouTube’s success. Our initial reaction when reading this news was, “Oh yeah, Soapbox, forgot all about that,” which basically sums up its also-ran position in the online video landscape.
CNET reports that Microsoft is looking to transform Soapbox from a limp UGC free-for-all to a site where bloggers and citizen journalists can post videos relevant to categories like lifestyle, entertainment and finance, three areas Microsoft focuses on. But the future of the video site isn’t certain. Microsoft Vice President Erik Jorgensen told CNET, “We haven’t decided whether you just continue to support it or whether it is too expensive and out of our focus to do.”
YouTube continues to dominate the user-generated space, and has gobbled up such a huge chunk of the market that much of its early competition has thrown in the towel. Microsoft is just the latest in a string of competitors to scale back on or get out of the UGC game entirely. AOL stopped supporting user uploads last year. Last month, Crackle (formerly Grouper) cut off its user upload program and Metacafe killed its Producer Reward program. Both of those sites now have more of an emphasis on professionally produced content.