promises to spark the debate

A look at the video conversation site, a Web portal built around YouTube's video response feature.

It was awhile ago that YouTube first allowed video comments on its service, and over time responses in video form began to populate the site--including those that address the original video and those that don't. In theory, is a Web portal built around YouTube's video response feature. In practice, there are few, if any, response videos, though people have been active leaving text comments. (In the interest of full disclosure, is a sponsor for the NewTeeVee Pier Screening Series in which I have been asked to speak on a panel).

When the home page for first loads the user is greeted with an attractively designed page that is typical Web 2.0. The company's tagline reads, "spark the debate," and the site bills itself as "the platform to stand up and make yourself heard! Start new debates or fire back opinions. It's time to make up your mind, upload your video and spark the debate." offers 12 distinct channels for ongoing debates and highlights both "hot debates" and "fresh debates" on it's front page. Right now the top debate is a critique of a recent London smoking ban. The clip has been screened 11,890 times and has generated 7 video responses and 137 text responses. The most glaring weakness in the interface is that these seven video responses are not readily accessible. In fact, in order to view the responses one must scroll through the catalog of text responses and click on those with the video icon included on the left-hand side. If the video responses are central to, and I think they should be, then they should be aggregated at the top of each new debate video just as YouTube puts all its video responses in the same place.

Additionally, while it's great that 137 people have weighed in on this particular debate, most people are going to either be pro or con. In addition to surfing through people's detailed response, it'd be helpful to quickly gauge whether the user base was mostly in support or opposed to the position of the original poster.

Like any new Web application, I imagine we'll see it morph and transform as more users begin to use the platform and the developers sit back and observe what works and what doesn't.

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