Mysticgeek: Let’s start with your position or title at Vreel, how long have you been working on Vreel.
Eoin: Founder – I began working on a server-based DivX converter back in late March, and expected it to be completed by late April. The plan at the time was to simply use this as a reason to further my own knowledge in dealing with server-side applications, and general web development. The plan at the time was to actually implement the DivX webplayer into the open source CMS “Joomla!”, and go from there. I envisioned Vreel to be a working, albeit small stage6 clone at the time. And that’s where things started to spiral out of control.
DivX were the first to contact me – they were understandably unimpressed with the use of the name “DivXit” as the url. I was typically unimpressed myself – I had sent them a few dozen emails asking about any legal woes I may be throwing myself into. Having spoke with DivX for a while, I turned over the domain “DivXit.net”, which is currently pending its switchover to DivX’s name servers. DivX wished me all the best with the newly re-branded Vreel.
Following that, everything went into a Frenzy. Inbound traffic started going off the scale, Limelight contacted me as to regards a CDN solution, and I started seeking some staff members to get things fully in motion – and of course, move away from using an open source CMS, and focus towards developing our own.
Mysticgeek: What is your vision for Vreel? What do you see it as now and what do you hope to accomplish in future years?
Eoin: Vreel right now is in its infancy – there’s so much work to do, and our developers are working extremely hard to get everything running as soon as possible. The closed beta testing has really opened our eyes to the scale of Vreel – the current takeoff makes it literally impossible to estimate our growth over the next few months. If you had asked me in May how many visitors I expect in a years time, I would’ve said 10,000 a day – we’re currently breaking that figure, and look set to double on it over the next few weeks.
The future? Well, I’d look at the past. Stage6 was the Concorde of the online video world – it was faster, it looked better, everything was just that bit more pleasant. Not to mention the hardcore fan base. We want to recapture that feel, and start building upon it – and work towards having the best video platform available for our already large user base.
Mysticgeek: From my limited interaction with everyone at Vreel, it seems you are all quite busy. How would you describe the work, preparation, and hours everyone has been putting in to have a successful public launch?
Eoin: The beta testers have literally been a godsend – we’ve had loads of suggestions, comments and bug reports from our small beta tester user base, and they’ve really made a huge contribution so far.
Right now in closed beta, we’re focusing on getting bugs squashed, and getting all our features and modules in working condition for the masses – which I can tell you, is no easy task. But sleepless night after sleepless night never is
Mysticgeek: Can you give us a brief explanation of the “controversy” surrounding Stage6 with DivX and what Vreel will have to offer now that you have an official agreement with them?
Eoin: Honestly, as far as DivX and the Stage6 closure go, I’ve got about as much information as anyone else. It was there one day – and the next it was gone. No solid reason was ever given for this, bar stating that the stage6 platform was “very expensive to maintain” – DivX were also facing a potential lawsuit from UMG at the time of closure. It’s also rumored that Live Universe made an offer to purchase DivX – an offer which they promptly declined.
I should make it clear that Vreel has NO commercial ownership over the DivX webplayer and codec – these are property of DivX, and DivX alone. DivX have given us permission to use their codec and webplayer within the Vreel video environment – allowing us to create a viable High Definition video platform, while incorporating our own features around that core basis.
Mysticgeek: I know a lot of people are chomping at the bit for this site to go live to the public. Can you give us an estimate on when that will be?
Eoin: You can say that again – right now, we’re resolving the many bugs found during closed beta – the big ones right now being aspect ratio issues (problems with files not uploaded in 4:3 or 16:9), and some slowness in conversion – we want these issues ironed out before releasing an open beta. As I’m sure you’d agree, our first impression is going to be everything – and I know I’d personally rather a delay than a half-functional portal.
Regardless, progress right now is fantastic – we should be looking at these issues stamped out over the next few days, along with a host of new features being tested over this period.
We’ll have open beta testing once these major issues are sorted out – but until then, we’re going to accept users into our closed beta daily.
Mysticgeek: Thank you very much for your time in answering our questions!
Eoin: No problems, thanks for having me!