Steven Rosenbaum, CEO of Magnify.net, is a man ahead of his time.
In the the mid-1990s he created a show on MTV called “Unfiltered.” The show featured teenagers shooting their own videos about their lives.
Seems vaguely familiar, doesn’t it? Sounds like a cross between today’s reality TV shows and video blogs.
Fast forward to April 2007. Video has exploded on the Web. Steve launched Magnify.net, a site where people can aggregate videos and turn them into their own online video channels. Five months after launch Magnify.net has 7,000 video channels built by individuals and small business owners.
Steve attended the recent Affiliate Summit, which is where I met him in July. He and I sat down together and he answered some questions that I thought entrepreneurs might want to know.
Q: How are people using Magnify.net?
Steve: One way is setting up their own video channels to serve their communities. Many of the video channels are daughter pages that are incorporated into other websites and appear behind someone else’s homepage, or have their own URLs.
An example is RCUVideos.com. It is the video channel for RCUniverse.com, a huge community for radio control car, plane, and helicopter enthusiasts with 300,000 registered users.
Q: What is the difference between Magnify.net and large video hosting sites like YouTube?
Steve: With Magnify.net you can tailor the video channel precisely for your particular interests or those of your community. Destination sites like YouTube gather huge collections of video, making it time-consuming if not impossible to find collections of video that you are looking for. The sheer number of videos on YouTube can be overwhelming. Magnify.net allows you to filter through what’s on YouTube and create a “curated” set of video results that are more useful for site visitors.
Q: What does “curated” mean?
Steve: Curated means that you have reviewed the video, filtered out any video that does not meet your specific interests, and applied quality standards.
Q: So, it sounds like Magnify.net could be a benefit to enthusiast communities and publishers of niche publications?
Steve: Some of the most successful Magnify.net channels are very very narrow and go really really deep.
Yousurftubes.com is one of those. It features videos of surfing.
Q: How did you come up with the model for Magnify.net?
Steve: I saw what was happening on the Web. Today several content trends predominate:
- User-generated content, rather than content created by a few giants like media and entertainment conglomerates
- Content specific to YOUR interests, however narrow they may be
- Sharing of content with others and using content to network
When I started conceiving of and working on Magnify.net in 2004, I knew I wanted to be involved in video online. I could see video was the next big thing in online content.
But I did not want to be in the business of creating content. Nor did I want it to become a massive video hosting place where nobody could find anything.
That’s how I came up with Magnify.net: giving people the tools to discover, review and organize videos, and share them with other like-minded individuals.
Q: Are there business opportunities today for entrepreneurs with video on the Web?
Steve: Absolutely, but don’t quit your day job. Everything is shifting toward video online, but it won’t happen overnight. It will take a while.
Meanwhile, this is the time to get in on the ground floor. If you have a website today and are not exploring video, you are making a mistake. We’re at the cottage industry phase of video on the Web. You have leeway to make mistakes. But it won’t last forever. This is the time to get in the game.
Q: How can entrepreneurs and webmasters make money using Magnify.net?
Steve: Start with a passion — whatever you have an interest in. Set up an account. If you have a site that’s got traffic and a focus that needs to add video, that’s even better.
Magnify will search for videos based on keywords you put in. Then you can take out those that do not meet your quality standards or your site’s focus.
We’re just now beta testing a feature that will allow site owners to be able to include their own advertising and ad network links, so you’ll be able to monetize your new pages virtually overnight.
For folks who want a simpler solution you can share in the Google AdSense revenues. Every other page is delivered to your AdSense account, so that you get paid for click-throughs on those pages.
Q: How much are people making from Magnify.net? Give us an idea of the ranges.
Steve: It’s all over the ballpark, depending on how much time you put into developing and promoting your channel. Magnify.net channel owners tend to fall into one of three categories:
- Professional — making hundreds to thousands of dollars per month
- Semi-pro — making $5 to $50 per month
- Hobbyists — in it because of their passion and not interested in making money
For many people a video channel is not about making money. Some people do it because they are passionate about an interest. Some create a channel because they have developed a community of users, and are providing a service or just something fun for their community.
Q: How big is Magnify.net?
Steve: Magnify.net did 7 million page views in July.
Q: Thank you Steve, for taking the time to give us an inside look at Magnify.net.
Steve: Thank you.
You can find out more about using video on websites by visiting Steve’s Video Ninja show page.