At Vimeo one of our guiding principles is “Users First.” We seek to continually improve our service by making our community’s pain points our own. I believe that over the course of our 17-year history, we have consistently done this. However, it’s become clear that one of our policies is failing to serve the best interests of a group of our users.
For those who consume large amounts of video bandwidth — repeatedly hitting the bandwidth threshold for Vimeo’s top 1% of users — we have continued to enforce legacy policies that are poorly communicated and that are causing unnecessary friction and anxiety. We have been too slow to act upon user feedback, and as a consequence, have damaged user trust. This pains me greatly, and does not do justice to the passion and hard work of our team. I’d like to offer an apology for this, and more importantly, a solution.
When we charge for bandwidth
For quick background: Vimeo’s business model is ad-free, meaning that we do not recoup any of our content delivery costs through advertisements and instead charge a flat subscription fee. This means that if a single user requires an exceptionally large amount of bandwidth — likely driven by the number of viewers consuming their content— then their costs can quickly scale above what our flat subscription fees were designed to support.
We generally try not to limit or impose additional fees for bandwidth consumption, and the vast majority of our users — over 99% — don’t reach the threshold that would require us to charge them extra. For those who consistently or significantly exceed these thresholds, our goal is to charge them rates they can afford and that are lower than what they would be charged for ad-free delivery elsewhere. We believe in the value of this offering because it is validated by user behavior: over 70% of users who originally hit their bandwidth threshold choose to pay more to continue using our service, and go on to become some of our longest-retaining customers.
It’s also worth noting that we do not specifically target video creators in employing this model, which applies to all users equally. We believe deeply in supporting our core creator community and continue to invest in products and programs to support them, from Staff Picks to our For Hire network to Experts, a new online program for creative professionals to help sharpen their skills through courses, network, and find work. We will continue to invest in these and other initiatives to help creators thrive.
After fully reviewing our existing bandwidth policy and listening to feedback from some of our highest bandwidth users, we will be making the following changes and commitments:
- Shifting our bandwidth threshold from a percentage to a flat 2TB. We historically have determined that users who are in the top 1% of bandwidth usage are subject to bandwidth charges. To improve clarity and transparency moving forward, we will be setting the monthly bandwidth threshold at 2TB (or 2,000 GB)— which would impact even fewer than 1% of our users. Users can access their bandwidth usage report directly on their Vimeo account to track usage (see here for how to access).
- Giving users more frequent and visible alerts. In addition to the analytics dashboard that shows ongoing usage and in-product alerts, users will receive notifications via email when they’ve exceeded the monthly bandwidth threshold.
- Extending our notice periods. In the case that a user exceeds the monthly threshold, we will give them a minimum of 30 days from the time of our initial outreach to respond to our team and reach an agreeable resolution. During this time, there will be no changes to their account, videos, or service.
- Giving users more alternatives. We will continue to provide a pro-rated refund for any current paying subscriber user that exceeds our bandwidth threshold and decides Vimeo is no longer the best fit for their needs. In those instances, we will provide time to migrate their videos off of our platform and repay the remainder of their account balance.
- Outlining an exemption policy. We have rolled out an exemption policy where certain creative professionals and small non-profits will not be restricted by the 2TB bandwidth threshold. You can review the policy in our Help Center.
Vimeo was built to empower you to use video. Our platform has certainly evolved since our founding, but only with the goal of serving more people and businesses around the world. Never to put up friction, but to eradicate it. We won’t get everything right, and we will make mistakes as we scale. But we will always be honest about our shortcomings and never stop striving to build a company that puts users first and innovates in making video accessible to all.
We remain focused on our mission and committed to serving you.