Google announced that it will host personal video content soon, but Ourmedia.org (a non-profit) is already offering free permanent hosting of any personal audio and video content. Check out the Ourmedia.org Alexa chart showing its rapid growth.
If Google’s service is free and Ourmedia’s is free, the winner will be the one that is easiest to use or has the most features, or perhaps is best integrated into consumer habits. So the winner will likely be Google (because their usability is second to none). Google will make more money on this particular feature than Ourmedia because its ability to monetize traffic and eyeballs usings its brilliant advertising model is much greater than Ourmedia’s–therefore it is more sustainable.
It’s interesting when a non-profit or open source project becomes the most popular service in its genre. It forces commercial players to build additional value on top of the free or commoditized service in order to generate revenue. In the end, while it’s disruptive in the short term, in the long run, consumers benefit a great deal.
One of my favorite disruptions right now is Wikipedia, the open source encyclopedia which I have blogged about before. Wikipedia.org will soon become one of the top 50 most popular web site in the world soon. (It’s one week average is #80). I actually think it will hit the top 20 in the next couple of years. This site is a great gift to mankind. It already has more than 500,000 articles compared to Britannica’s 60-80,000, and thouands of improvements are made every day.
Wired Magazine posted an excellent article recently about the creators of Wikipedia–who some of top contributors are and what makes them tick.
One of the best books I have ever read is the Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a fascinating account of the 70-year history of the Oxford English Dictionary. Comparing the OED story with the making of Wikipedia shows how dramatically the internet has affected the pace of knowledge creation and organization.