Official numbers aren’t out yet, but it looks like Metacafe, an Israeli user-generated content (UGC) video-sharing site focused on short film that receives over 30 million unique viewers each month, will end 2008 ranked 119 in traffic on Alexa.com. Although in the past year Metacafe introduced new features such as the Metacafe Music Channel, community-based metadate tagging monitoring and editing and personalized creativity toolkits from PlyMedia, it seems that its biggest innovation will be its services helping users get out their videos in in relation to current events, such as Israel’s current operation in Gaza.
Often compared to video-sharing sites such as YouTube and the Daily Motion for being a user-generated video content provider, Metacafe has positioned itself as the leading exclusively short-film sharing site and is the only video site that requires new content submissions to be approved by members of its community before it is posted to the site and where program creators of the most popular content get paid.
It’s the site’s relevant recent content from anywhere that’s probably going to increase hits and the amount of new program creators in the next few days or weeks though. In a politically-charged article about the “UGC photo agency” start up, Demotix, Mike Butcher of TechCrunch UK states that the Demotix is picking up traction for its user-generated pictures from what’s been happening in Gaza because it is newsworthy. If that is the case, Metacafe should also see an increase of hits, as well as embedding by other new media outlets, as it’s another broadcast channel for what’s going on in Israel and Gaza.
Along with the increased traffic, Metacafe will also face competition from Demotix, which has plans to add the ability for users to upload videos in the near future and “[shares] 50 percent of the revenue from each sale with the person who contributed the content.”
Applying Butcher’s idea of these sites being citizen journalism, here are examples of how Metacafe has been a news source the past few days by users on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in reaction to Israel’s operation in Gaza.