Vimeo, the service you love to hate.

Video and The Internet have formed a symbiotic relationship, each one driving the other. The rampant success of You Tube created a need for more sophisticated video hosting, and vimeo has gained a lot of traction as the arty alternative for many of us photographers turned filmmakers.

The great thing about vimeo is the community that has sprung up around it.

The bad thing about vimeo is that, although they have three levels of service, (free, Plus and Pro levels), they don’t make any provision for enhanced customer service with the extra money paid for the Plus and Pro accounts.

This would not be a problem except that hosting video content seems to have quite a few technical pitfalls. Things go wrong with uploads and streaming quality on a fairly regular basis and when that happens, you are at the tender mercies of a small handful of folks who address your concerns through an online forum: Unfortunately, vimeo doesn’t provide telephone or even online chat support.

About six weeks ago, I began hearing from viewers that some of my vimeo hosted videos were not HD by default even though they were all HD in size. HD could be turned on, but you’d rather not have your viewers have to do that, besides, many might miss that, and go ahead and view the video in SD.

As soon as I realized there was a problem, I went on the vimeo help forum. One of the disconcerting aspects of this help forum is that you will get several people responding. Some of them seem to have read the previous posts on the issue, but not always, so you feel like you have to keep explaining the problem and all its nuances. It would be far better IMHO if vimeo would put one person on the issue and have them stick with it until resolved.

The second disconcerting aspect is that the default response assumes that you did something wrong or have some incorrect setting. It usually takes a few rounds of posts before the vimeo “problem sorting team” actually does some testing on their own. In fact it took three weeks before vimeo acknowledged that my issue was an actual “bug”.

The third disconcerting aspect is that vimeo seems to be constantly overwhelmed with technical issues. Reading through their help forum makes it clear that they play “wack-a-mole” with technical bugs day in and day out.

As of this writing, vimeo still doesn’t have an answer other than to say “This is one of the more challenging bugs we’ve been trying to sort about because there are just so many variables. Our developers are in fact trying to pluck away at this issue and we’re moving as fast as we can to have it sorted out. We know how frustrating this must be, and I do sincerely apologize.”

Oh, and they gave me one free month on my Pro subscription, so maybe they do get customer service after all.