Vidme brings anonymous video sharing to web, iPhone and Android – TechCrunch

Following the backlash against YouTube’s merger with Google+ for identity, authentication and, more recently, commenting, there has been renewed interest in some kind of anonymous video hosting service – something like a “Imgur for video”, for example. It’s an idea that’s been tried before, but sometimes having good timing helps. That may be the case with Vidme, a new video-sharing service making the rounds on Reddit, which saw 140,000 uniques in a month of uploading.

The service is one of three projects created by Bit Kitchen, a product lab founded by Alex Benzer, former founder and CEO of SocialEngine in Los Angeles, and Warren Shaeffer, former COO of SocialEngine, alongside two of the best engineers in SocialEngine.

SocialEngine, a 2011 TechStars Boulder graduate that helps companies build their own social networks, was acquired in December by social media agency Room 214, Benzer tells us. (The acquisition hadn’t been publicly announced until now, as it turns out.) The largely seeded, six-year-old business had been profitable for a while, Benzer notes, but they decided to sell because room 214 had a lot of business. customers who might benefit from the service. Plus, it would allow him and Shaeffer to work on other things. Terms of the mostly cash deal are undisclosed, but the exit gave Benzer and Shaeffer “a great lead” to work on their new ideas at Bit Kitchen.

At Bit Kitchen, the team also launched an anonymous group chat experience called Masked, and a “digital gratitude journal” called Thankaday, but Vidme is currently their primary focus.

“We’ve been in construction mode for a month or two, and sort of putting those [three services] out there and see what the organic response is, Benzer says. “With Vidme, we exposed it to Reddit, because I think it’s really useful for Reddit users, especially early adopters.” He says some Reddit users have already messaged him asking if they can help work on Vidme as well.

Vidme, of course, is inspired by Imgur, a service that built a brand around a place for anonymous photo sharing. But Imgur has yet to make the jump to video, despite the demand. “Imgur’s DNA is the photos – it’s in their name. They had four years to think about the videos, and they didn’t,” Benzer says.

With the new service, now available on web, iOS and Android, you can drag and drop videos to upload or, on mobile, upload videos from your smartphone or tablet with just a few clicks. The idea is to allow you to share your videos quickly, without having to create an account. So far it’s been used for light video sharing, like of a child taking their first steps, as well as things where anonymity is the main draw, like the tutorial on how to mine a waiter.

viddme-video

Once the video is uploaded, you can share it on social media, post it on Reddit, or just grab a link that you can share elsewhere as you see fit.

Key to Vidme’s value proposition is that you’ll never be forced to sign up, although on mobile the company will be able to associate a device to the videos you upload, so you can then quickly remove your videos, if you choose to do so. They may also later introduce an optional user account feature for those who want a way to better manage their downloads across devices, but that wouldn’t have to be associated with your “real name” like with Google+/YouTube .

viddme-iphoneCurrently, there aren’t many restrictions on the content or length of the videos, besides the promise that they will “obey the law” and use their best judgment. (So, yes, there will be some NSFW stuff there, be warned.)

Like Imgur, Vidme’s potential business model could also one day involve monetization through business accounts, advertising, or enterprise deals, but for now the service is free while Bit Kitchen is testing the waters.

Benzer says there’s already some LA investor interest in Vidme, and while they have a “significant” lead through the sale of SocialEngine, they plan to ramp up in order to speed things up. “We’ve had offers before, and we’re considering them more for network value, and less for financial value,” he says. “We’re definitely talking about it right now.”

You can try Vidme yourself, from here.

UPDATE, 09/01/15: At Vidme’s request, we have updated the article to reflect the new legal company name “Vidme” now, not “Viddme”. Screenshots will still show the old name.

Shirley K. Rosa