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Beware Of The Little Known Vimeo Pro Policy Against Real Estate Video

Published: 07/08/2014

VimeoProTravis Rowan, the winner of the July PFRE videographer of the month had a surprise after winning last month's contest. Like all of the past winners of this contest he had his video hosted on his Vimeo Pro account.

Without warning the Vimeo administrators make his video "private" which means the standard vimeo address that he'd given to all his clients didn't work any more.

The reason Vimeo sited was their guideline statement that says:

Videos focused on short term sales (e.g., real estate walkthroughs) should also remain private.

What Travis was forced to do, is embed the "private" video into a page on his site, the address of which he could give to his clients.

I don't know about you but this is  feels like very offensive behavior. Particularly, because the guideline is not enforced uniformly. Notice that all PFRE video contest winners have their video hosted on Vimeo Pro and have never been forced to make it "private." Maybe this is going to happen to everyone, but as of this writing it has not.

The point here is that Vimeo Pro is NOT real estate friendly and it is little known because their statement about it is buried in their guidelines page. This is a good reason to point out that as I've talked about before, IS a real estate friendly video hosting site and I highly recommend it. I assure you that you will not have this nonsense happen with iPlayerHD.

Larry Lohrman

20 comments on “Beware Of The Little Known Vimeo Pro Policy Against Real Estate Video”

  1. This is really bad news. Sorry to hear that travis. Not to mention, those of us using vimeo pro are paying $200.00 per year so that we can showcase "commercial" videos.

  2. They did that to me as well.... no refund of my $200 either. I got burned by them way back in 2005. I had over 700 videos uploaded to their "free" site, and one day they shut my account down and THEN notified me that I was not able to use Vimeo for commercial purposes. I've had a bad taste in my mouth for Vimeo ever since, but gave in last April and opened up a PRO account, paid $200 and began uploading videos. A month ago they made my entire account (and 200 new videos) PRIVATE.

    I'm done with Vimeo. iPlayerHD is the way to go for sure... Wes is terrific, the service is top notch and the pricing is more than fair.

  3. Yes.... it has just happen to me. Vimeo made all of my videos private without any warning.
    If you however create a portfolio to show your video, then it does not become private and link works fine on any MLS system.
    I have exchanged a lot of emails with Vimeo customer service and they have offered a full refund if I decide to switch to iPlayerHD, which is priced a little higher than Vimeo and... I'll have to get used to another system.

  4. This is why I host all the videos on my own site. Of course there are always the headaches of doing that yourself but they are my problems not problems set on me by someone else.

  5. I've been using Vimeo for a while now, but mostly for personal projects and smaller fun stuff. Now that I recently started uploading more commercial videos to it, I was beginning to wonder if YouTube would be better due to the SEO side of things -- after all, being owned by Google must have its perks, right?

    Is there a reason nobody is bringing up YouTube?

  6. We have been using Vimeo for the last several years on a pro basis. When I upgraded to the pro version I had an extensive conversation with customer service and they explained that I would have to embed the video onto a website - usually a portfolio page and this would be the proper way to do it. It really doesn't matter to us because we don't host real estate for sale videos on Vimeo, but rather samples of our work for agents and other clients to see as well as how to's, etc. We buy a go daddy site and domain name and charge a monthly fee for a one property website that hosts everything - stills, videos, info on the property, on the agent. This seems to give us, the agent and the listing a real boost in the search engines.
    If you are charging the right amount for the video, then this should not be a problem to add the site/domain name for 3 months and then charge a renewal fee every 3 months. By the way - if you just do video clips rather than entire videos, just add them into your virtual tour from Real Tour Vision or Tour Buzz or even one that you created on your own using pano2vr from Garden Gnome or Kolor.

  7. This is the one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Pay $200 per year for a pro account to advertise our profession and it's private!!??!!

    Vimio can kiss it on both sides!

  8. @Jake Donahue

    2 reasons come to mind:

    1. Youtube is never good for professional videos other than for SEO as it plays all videos default in standard def (360p). Thanks to the fact that youtube basically hides the option to change the resolution (in the bottom bar, then under the gear wheel, then under quality) 80% (or more) of your viewers either dont know or dont care to change it to HD (720p or 1080p). Making a video in HD only to have most people watch it is piss poor SD just doesnt make sense.

    Your video should be shown at the best quality possible at all times and the paid companies (vimeo, iplayerHD etc) have HD as the default.

    2. youtube shows all their video "suggestions" down the right side of the page when viewers are watching your video. It just doesnt look professional to have your video playing with suggestions from other companies showing along the right side....or even worse some video called "Cute Chubby Dancing Bady!"

    Youtube should only be used as a secondary video host so you can utilize its SEO and maybe as a portfolio.

  9. The private thing is not that big of a deal, although I agree its a little odd for them to be forcing this and cant for the life of me understand why?

    All you have to do is create a channel or a portfolio and put your private videos in there and they become available to the public that way. They have templates and alot of options to customize the channel or portfolio to your taste.

  10. @Jennifer Arnett

    From what I recall, Wistia auto selects the playback resolution for the viewer based on viewing size, and they only switch to HD is the video is being watched in full screen. Anything less than full screen is standard def or medium def.

    They say that the difference in quality between HD and SD on a video that is 768x432 (as an example) is very small, but if you go and test it on youtube or Vimeo you will see the difference is quite noticeable.

  11. We have several thousand real estate videos hosted at YouTube on behalf of clients who want the widest possible distribution for their video. The videos on our primary channel have attracted over 3,000 subscribers and nearly 4 million views.

    Our clients are able too see the view counts on their videos and show the counts to their sellers.

    YouTube seamlessly manages viewing on different devices.

    YouTube Analytics provides us valuable demographic information about viewership and audience retention. The majority of our views are generated from people clicking on them when they're suggested on the right rail.

    Every client or prospect I've ever spoken to on the subject values having their video on YouTube and not one of them has ever questioned it or suggested an alternative.

    As with any medium, distribution is king. It strikes me a senseless disservice to clients to avoid using YouTube.

  12. Same thing happened to me this week. I received the following email:

    "A Vimeo moderator marked your account for review for the following reason: Basic and Plus members cannot upload advertisements, commercials, infomercials, or videos that actively sell a product or service. You need to take the following action as soon as possible: please upgrade to Vimeo PRO, which is our account for businesses. Visit to get started."

    After a few queries, I received the following:

    "Our Guidelines state that a Vimeo user needs a PRO account to upload commercial content, which includes anything related to your business (including real estate videos). In fact, we actually require real estate content to be uploaded in Private Mode, as stated in the Guidelines:"

    I explained that I use Vimeo to post my real estate videos as samples of my work and not to advertise the real estate. As such the videos stay on my site semi-permanently, long past the length of time the listing was on the market. I offered to remove all references to the realtor and real estate company, to which Vimeo replied with the following:

    "If there’s no information about the home or the realtor, and these videos aren't embedded on a page where they’re used for commercial purposes, then I can remove you from Private Mode."

    Currently I assume I can post samples of my work on Vimeo if I sterilize the videos so they don't contain any reference to the realtor or real estate company, and, the realtor does not link the video to a commercial website or MLS.

    This perturbed me a bit, but also causes me to consider a few other items. For instance, if I share the video link with the listing agent, shouldn't I have a clear contract with terms and limiting conditions? I don't want a realtor claiming they are owed damages because of a lost potential buyer because the link to my video did not work for some reason. And, dare I say, the hosting company (in this case Vimeo) may have a say in the matter also.

    Curious how others handle this.

  13. Vimeo has changed their policies in regards to real estate video MANY times over the years. And in most cases, they remove your account and THEN inform you, which I find unacceptable.

    I don't understand why people try to "make" Vimeo work for them - you WILL get burned at some point, especially if you're trying to "work around" their current policy, which probably will change yet again. It's happened to me before.

    If you're in this business as a business, pay the price for proper hosting with a site that actually will work for your clients, your MLS system and your expected web traffic, and that will accept your usage for real estate with no issues.

    Yes, Vimeo is cheap (I pay that price every single month, not year), but it IS a cost of doing business. Bandwidth is expensive.

    Don't be cheap like some Realtors that get criticized for shooting their own photos or videos to save a buck.....

  14. I have used for the past four years, with ZERO issues. And the few times there is a slight problem in uploading or optimizing or whatever, it gets fixed ASAP. Wes is on the phone and on it right away. Always. I'm very busy and upload a lot of videos, so this is one aspect of my business that I actually don't have to worry about. I have zero complaints from customers as well. It's not free like YouTube and not cheap like Vimeo, but it's a cost of doing business. I've been at this video game for almost 9 years, so I've been burned by many companies in the past (Brightcove, Vimeo (twice), MotionBox and more....) Switching gears midstream is a nightmare for me. Peace of mind is worth a lot....

    I upload to other sites as well such as YouTube (, and I now use Vimeo when I need to send a rough cut to a client for some reason (it's easy to just upload it directly from my NLE). I use those sites only for additional exposure, but not for anything important or anything I need to count on 100% of the time, such as the MLS.

  15. Thanks Fred. I also have iPlayerHD and am working on implementing it now for my clients needs. I appreciate the insight.

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