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Can ooVoo Succeed? No!

February 22nd, 2008 · 9 Comments

BLUF- (Bottom Line Up Front)

Video means we have to worry about how we look, and more importantly, we have to look interested! It just takes a whole lot more work than audio conferencing. I don’t think ooVoo or any other Video Conferencing scheme will succeed. I speak from experience in working with the Video Conferencing business for nearly 12 years. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

The details:

First what the hell is ooVoo? I’ll let them tell you from their website.

ooVoo is the next evolution in online communication — a remarkably easy way to have a face-to-face video conversation with friends, family or colleagues, no matter where they are in the world.

ooVoo is remarkably easy to use: easy to download, easy to install, and best of all:
it’s FREE!

ooVoo…now you see!

My background is one of product management and sales of telecom gear. For nearly 12 years I sold equipment to video conferencing vendors as they sold ever cheaper gear to their corporate clients. I was very successful with this, and I made a lot of money. I know some people are going to say that it’s different now because… and I can tell you that I heard that dozens of times. I listened because it meant money in my pockets and success at my job. But I think video battles one basic human drive- laziness.

As I sat in 100th video conference (many years ago) I realized that it was a pain. A telephone conference is so much easier. And I defy anyone to demonstrate anything that can’t be done with a web conference that can be done via video conference. With the exception of showing an immediate “I need proof” image, (and excluding porn.)

With video it’s much harder to feign interest, and much easier to insult than it is via audio. And let’s face it, who hasn’t been on a 9 person conference call, and put the thing on mute and answered a few emails?

No for my money and I wish those involved with ooVoo all of the best luck, and I hope I’m wrong. But don’t ask me to invest much time or money because I’ve seen it before and I don’t think its got anywhere to go. But as I said, I hope I’m wrong, and good luck to my friends at ooVoo.

Tanks for reading,

Chris

Let me know how you feel… leave a comment.

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Tags: For Unknown Reasons · Reasons For Net Marketing

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lynette // Feb 22, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I’ve used ooVoo (as well as other multi-person video conferencing solutions – both ‘free’ and ‘corporate/paid’) and really liked it. The quality was great, both audio and video, with 6 participants. Video conferencing is not for everyone – hell, texting/IM and email isn’t for everyone.

    Granted, I have to make sure my shirt is decent and I’m wearing makeup/hair done etc. to jump on a business video call, but it sure is easier than being on location. As far as video chatting with friends/socially, yep, some people are going to mute themselves while they are typing and reading emails, and some people are going to look disinterested. It works the same in ‘real life’. When you are standing in a circle of 5 other people and having a conversation, just take a look at the body language. Same thing.

  • 2 Chris // Feb 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Lynette,
    Thanks for reading. Yes I agree that quality of audio and video is much better than years ago. But in today’s world multitasking is the watch word. Perhaps I should have said that in the body of the blog post. You can’t multitask on video.

  • 3 Jonathan Trenn // Feb 23, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    Chris

    You bring up some legitimate points, but who says it’s strictly for corporate conference calls? I mean, I agree if you’re on a one hour call, but I have a feeling that ooVoo will be popular with smaller groups, teens, ect.

  • 4 Chris Abraham // Feb 23, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    I work with Jonathan. I have not seen his post yet because it is probably moderated. So, I might be echoing what he says. ooVoo doesn’t require video. That you can “dial out” to regular phones means that ooVoo is a communication platform with exceptional video — but it doesn’t require it. I oftentimes looks like crap (a face for telephone) and then I let my bizarre little icon represent for me. You can multitask on video if you don’t turn the video on.

  • 5 Scott Monty // Feb 24, 2008 at 12:01 am

    Chris,

    I defer to your experience in telecom from a professional standpoint. But I’d like to point out a huge hole in your logic: ooVoo isn’t restricted to video conferencing. They’re about video conversations, which are supported by other useful features within the application.

    You’re thinking of this from a businessman’s perspective. And in these days of multitasking, I agree with you; it’s very hard to give your full attention to a video conference. But if you think about the potential of ooVoo for connecting people on a personal level, there’s much to be considered.

    Now more than ever, Americans are more migratory; we uproot our families for jobs and establish ourselves hundreds if not thousands of miles away from relatives. Think about ooVoo’s potential to connect grandparents with their distant grandchildren, or ex-pats with friends and family in their home country. Military personnel can stay in touch with their families without the necessity of a complex satellite linkup at a remote location.

    And what about the Deaf community? There’s an underserved population in the telecom industry if I ever saw one. ooVoo is a perfect solution for them.

    I assure you that these groups – which are core to ooVoo’s target demographic – will not be lazy when it comes to video communication. They have every reason to be motivated to use it.

    I think there’s much more potential to ooVoo’s success than you give them credit for. And it comes down to thinking about them more broadly than a B2B conferencing service.

  • 6 Paul Chaney // Feb 24, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    While I want to be a good little social media geek and follow every trend that’s out there and try every app, for some reason I cannot make myself get excited about ooVoo. The reason? I don’t like seeing myself on video (esp. a webcam in an improperly lit room).

    I recall years ago (and I mean years) an app that took instant messaging from typing to talking. Don’t recall the name of the thing, but I tried it once and it creeped me out. Talking to people who I had no clue who they were…weird. This has a similar feel to me.

    Not only that, but there’s so much on the line when people can both hear me AND see me. Just like you said, I’ve got to be on my best behavior, on my P&Qs, and at least appear interested.

    I, too, wish Scott and Co. the best of luck. It’s just that I’m probably not going to be their ideal customer.

  • 7 Jim Walton // Feb 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    After spending over an hour on an audio conference call this morning I am reminded of all that goes on behind the scenes. There were 3 groups of people on this call, we were the drivers of the call and we didn’t mute at all during the call, but I know one of the other groups did. We still had side conversations going on and various gestures and head shakes. I think video would change everything and we got the task done with audio.

    I can see video enhancing many personal calls, such as to distant friends and relatives, traveling family members etc. but from a business perspective, there is an advantage to keeping it audio.

  • 8 Blogger Socialites: Jaffe, Karpeles, Kerley, Kieff, Kutchera « StickyFigure // Mar 5, 2008 at 10:31 am

    [...] other topics, Chris gives insightful and meaty commentary on social media, including his take on ooVoo, and his “thus far” review of some of the other networking [...]

  • 9 Lafeeu // Mar 13, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Despite ooVoo’s fast-growing userbase, as it currently stands there are no plans to introduce a subscription fee in the future.