Corrected October 20 at 11:55 a.m. PDT. Details below.
Vimeo, the popular site that lets users upload videos and share them with friends, announced today that it has officially launched Vimeo Plus, a paid service that will offer users more features for $59.95 per year.
Vimeo Plus ups the user's storage limit from 500MB per week to 2GB per week and features no banner ads. Vimeo Plus users will also be able to customize any part of the player, which will allow them to remove the playbar or decide what happens at the end of the video.
But perhaps the most controversial announcement surrounding Vimeo Plus is the company's decision to scale back the number of high-definition videos allowed in its free version. Free account users will only be allowed to upload one HD video per week, while Vimeo Plus users can upload an unlimited number of HD videos. But there's another catch: embedded HD videos can only be played 1,000 times before they're reverted back to standard definition. Alternately, the user can pay more to keep the video in HD through the company's online store.
"First of all, you'll only be able to upload one HD video per week," a Vimeo representative said in a blog post detailing the new limitations being imposed on users with free accounts. "You will also be limited to creating one group, one channel, and three albums. It really does pain us to impose these limits, because we want you all to be happy, productive Vimeans, but we feel that if you're going to be a power user, you should help us keep Vimeo working by purchasing a Plus account."
Vimeo's decision to scale back some of its offerings on free accounts shouldn't come as a surprise. The company is operating in a highly-competitive market against companies like YouTube, Blip, Viddler, and countless others that are trying to find the best way to monetize their expanding communities.
Vimeo claims it needed to charge its users because its advertising revenue wasn't covering the cost of hosting so many videos. Now it needs to hope its user base will understand and use the paid service.
This story initially misstated the limits imposed by Vimeo. It is only embedded HD videos that can only be played 1,000 times before they're reverted back to standard definition.