5min.com is a new video site geared towards answering questions. You’ve got 5 minutes to teach people something of interest and answer their questions.
“How to make a Surfer on Acid cocktail?”
“How to make the Jackson Cube?”
“How to make your own home video projector?
These are all burning questions. And now we’ve got answers…
5min.com bills itself as a Life Videopedia where you can get the answers to your questions – in 5 minutes or less – via video. Anyone can participate by uploading videos and there’s already quite a few excellent ones in there (although the site’s only been live for a handful of days.)
5min.com is based in Israel. I got the opportunity to interview one of 5min.com’s founders, Ran Harnevo, and that interview is provided below. I find the site fascinating and I think it’ll be a success. YouTube is a mess, and it’s harder and harder to find stuff on there unless it gets very popular or you’re tracking specific people in your community. 5min.com is a niche site, targeted at helping people with interesting content, and gives people a chance to get their name out there in their own specialties.
1. Briefly, explain 5min and the term “Life Videopedia.” Why did you decide to develop this project? And when did you launch?
5min is a place for video solutions, a place for knowledge exchanging. We believe that everyone of us is an expert in at least one aspect of our life. Everyone of us can share this aspect and learn from others. This is why we chose the term “Life Videopedia” â€“ we want to create a video library of our common knowledge, a library that will serve anyone and shall inspire every user to add his/her own knowledge.
2. Can you give us some of your own personal background? How did you come to build 5min? And how many people are on the team?
I’m Ran Harnevo, a former IDF fighter pilot and a former journalist. I’m only one of 3 entrepreneurs â€“ Tal Simantov (a strategic planner in the Advertising business) and Hanan Lashover (a very experienced software engineer that worked and developed some of the main features in 888.com).
All of us are great Internet fans and good friends. We came up with 5min after seeing too many YouTubes on the Net, all of them are ME2 sites. We realized that video online today focuses only on entertainment, with no added value to the videos. We didn’t like that. We believe that the video era can do more than that, and not only help them when they are bored. We raised some small money and started working. The company today has 7 employees, including the 3 of us.
3. Why limit to 5 minutes? Is that a hard constraint?
Yes, that’s a hard constraint. Why? Because we believe that today people are looking for fast and efficient solutions, especially on the Net. We live in a very hectic world, and we would like to supply quick solutions. For very deep solutions, I believe in buying books. But the Internet is a great tool for solving problems, especially in video. 5min aims to give them fast answers. We want our creators to be able to contact the users and maybe deepen the solution on a more personal channel.
4. Do you have human editors who verify and validate the content as appropriate / worthwhile?
We do. But we don’t filter by quality. Who are we to determine if something is “good” or “bad”. We only filter videos by two criteria: (1) the video is 5 minutes or less; and, (2) your video gives a solution. If you’re there, you’re in. If you want to sing in the toilet while your webcam is on, you have plenty of sites that will allow thatâ€¦
5. The video player – Smart Player – was built by you and the team, correct? It has some very interesting features. Give us some background on it, why you decided to build your own player, and what that experience was like.
Yes, we designed and built the Smart Player. We think that the players today are trying to give the users the same experience they get on TV. But what if I came to learn something? Isn’t the Internet a great tool for that? We invested a lot of time in trying to think how people can really learn with online video. The Smart Player gives you great features for that â€“ you can zoom in and out, see instructions in slow motion or in frame by frame; the creators can enhance the learning experience by adding their own Storyboard â€“ explaining more things and sometimes even giving more Internet links, when needed.
If you want to see Ali G, the Smart Player is just a burden, but if you want know how to make sushi, we want to give you a better service than the others.
6. Do you have a business model in place that you hope to roll out eventually? Premium services? Licensing your technology? Advertising?
Our business model is varied and I wouldn’t like to fully expose it. All I can say at the moment is that we can monetize traffic well. We address people by real interest. That is why we have different logos for each category. 5min is a place for people with passion. If your passion is Extreme sports, you can skip the homepage and bookmark the Extreme page. We believe in vertical traffic, and think it can help us build profits as wellâ€¦
7. What are your licensing terms for people uploading content?
The creator owns the rights for his/her film, not us. This is, in our opinion, a solid ground for talents to grow. We have the right to use the content while it is on the site (in terms of embedded player, advertisements, etc…) But if the creator chooses to remove his content, he will be able to do so (we don’t have the feature yet, but it is coming soon. Anyhow, an email to us will solve the problem as well).
8. Can you give us a sneak peak on some features you’re working on? Tell us what you have planned?
We want to customize our player, adjust it for specific categories. We are also developing more “knowledge tools” that will give us the right advantages.
We’re also adding an embed feature so people can take the videos and embed them elsewhere. This is coming in a matter of days.
I can’t say more than that at the moment. Register to the website and you’ll be fully updated.
9. How are you planning to market & promote 5min?
That’s the main challenge.
We want to do it from the bottom â€“ through bloggers, through viral marketing. We are only in the beginning of a long trip. So far, we are surprised by the traffic we have.
In addition, we call everyone who has a small DIY site to upload his videos to 5min and embed our player (with the smart player abilities). We will help all small sites to promote their site. We want to see ourselves as the gate to their own sitesâ€¦
10. Do you see a lot of niche video sites like 5min coming out and taking audience away from YouTube?
I think niche is the only way now! We are flooded with information, any kind of information. I find it hard to get good results in YouTube (though I really like it). I think that people will find out that there is no difference between the textual and video era. Text also started with a few key players and has grown incredibly since then. I think that online video will take the same path. I just hope and believe that 5min will lead the knowledge path, with the help of everyone our ‘Life Videopedia is achievableâ€¦
A big thank you to Ran Harnevo for doing this interview about 5min.com.
I encourage you to check out the site at http://www.5min.com. Now is your chance to be the guru in something, whatever it is you can share with the world. And, you’ll get a chance to learn how to use a speed bag, play guitar and bass, do your makeup and much more.