Magnify.net Offers Self-Serve Video Sites

GigaOM staff writer Katie F. called from DEMO to say NewTeeVee should get in touch with one of the presenters, Magnify.net. It’s video. It has a community angle and a niche play and a widget strategy. It’s just on the verge of closing some funding. So yeah, we gave CEO Steve Rosenbaum a call.

“I talk to people every day who say ‘I want to do something with video, I just don’t know how,'” said Rosenbaum, who previously founded independent studio CameraPlanet. “The way that media changes on the web is if a senior-citizen web site can add video as easily as a hip-hop site.”

Magnify has raised an angel round of $500,000 from David Rose of New York Angels, Next Stage Capital and Rose Tech Ventures fund, and expects to close a seed round within the next week.

So what does Magnify do? It makes a self-serve platform for helping people set up relevant video channels on any topic they want. This could be hosted on your own site or on a Magnify subdomain. “It’s for everyone from mom and pop to the Weather Channel [an actual customer],” said Rosenbaum.

First, you input keywords on your topic, whether it’s hamsters or surfing. Magnify goes out to Google, YouTube, Blip, and Yahoo (more sites are on the way) and corrals a bunch of videos on that topic. You can also upload or point to specific items.

Then you get your site community involved in voting on the videos so you can surface the most relevant ones. If other people want to syndicate your selections, they can embed personalized video-player widgets.

During the 3-month beta period leading up to Magnify’s launch Wednesday, Rosembaum got some flack from the videoblogger community for showing ads against Blip videos without the creators’ permission. He claims the concerns will be assuaged when Magnify makes some adjustments next week to allow more explicit syndication options.

Magnify has a pretty simple proposition — come on, how hard could this be to build!? — but for the target audience, that’s the point. We’ve written about companies like Twistage before that are working to build heavy-duty versions of this for destination sites. From self-serve to heavy-duty, the “video-fication” space is going to be a crowded, but it’s a useful project.

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