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Success Proves Slippery for Microsoft’s Soapbox

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Microsoft (s MSFT) is pulling back on Soapbox, the UGC site the company launched in 2006, creating another video victim lost in the wake of YouTube’s (s GOOG) 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 (s TWX) 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.

3 Responses to “Success Proves Slippery for Microsoft’s Soapbox”

  1. Hi,

    Broadcast Television has been able to handle 1000’s of television channels across the world, why is it so many seem to believe there should only be one such network on the internet.

    Such unconsidered thinking comes from those who continue to think in the bubble mindset, of first-movers etc., and that the network-effect applies beyond ebay and soc.nets, whereas it simply doesn’t, not least because of the more open and sharable web, including through OpenID and FB-Connect.

    That said, it’s almost common-sense to move more towards professionally-produced content, but all those who aren’t youtube should remember that web-video sites were around in the last decade, but what were the reasons why Youtube was able to gain so much traction to where it is now – sometimes a great garden, needs some manure! ; )

    Kind regards,

    Shakir Razak

    • Hi Shakir, good points. Though even though I expected it, I’ve been surprised to see so many UGC sites fall by the wayside. Some days, YouTube’s dominance is scary. I think it’s important to look at personal video usage on sites like Facebook and Motionbox as complementary but not necessarily parallel.