Farewell! MindBites to Shut Down in December

by Jason in General / 09.15.16

Dear MindBites Community,

It has been a long and fun journey since we started working on MindBites over 10 years ago, but regrettably, the time has buy windows 10 key come to shut both the site and company down. As of December 14, 2016, the MindBites Website and Service will cease its operations. Here’s what you need to know:

Users

  • Access to all video purchases will cease on December 14, 2016 therefore you should view and/or download (if applicable) any purchased content prior to that date.
  • Active lesson credits must be used by November 14th, 2016.
  • Requests for a refund for unused credits purchased since November 14th, 2015 may be made by emailing support@mindbites.com. Requests must be received by November 21st, 2016. Please include your specific account information such as email address or user id, as well as the specific number of credits being requested to be refunded.

Authors

  • Any active published lessons will remain for sale (unless you choose to deactivate them) on the MindBites website and any active custom stores for the next 60 days until November 14th, 2016.
  • Final payout requests for eligible earnings must be made by November 21st, 2016 or will be subject to forfeiture. To request an eligible earnings payout, please follow the normal process of going to your Author Dashboard on MindBites.com and clicking the “Request Payment” button.
  • If you have any issues or questions please email the support team at support@mindbites.com including your specific account information such as email address or user id, the balance you are trying to request and the specific issue you are having.
  • For alternative video commerce options, there are a ton of products out there these days to help microsoftproductssettlement you out. They have widely variable price points and pretty disparate feature sets, but we think the following options may be worth checking out:

With a Shopify Store

With a Big Commerce Store

For integration into a Wordpress site:

As a standalone solution:

We wanted to take a final moment and just thank everyone for all of the support over these last ten years. We started with a big vision and a fantastic group of people working together. We are leaving with some incredible learnings and countless fun memories. Thank you. We really appreciate it.

The MindBites Team

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Selling Video Access through iPad & iPhone Apps

by Huntley in General / 09.08.16

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Salsa Dancing

by Dustin in General / 08.19.16

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MindBites Custom Video Stores: Making it easy to Sell Videos Online on your own site!

by Dustin in General / 11.09.11

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Sale on MindBites Education Videos!

by Dustin in General / 05.11.11

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Basic video editing with QuickTime on a Mac

by Joseph in General / 06.04.10

These days video has really taken to the forefront of the web. While the cost of video editing software isn’t an insurmountable obstacle for most people, the complexity of software applications like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere can be daunting if you only need to accomplish cialis generic available simple tasks. So, if you’re tired of trying to learn about containers, scratch disks and multiple timelines to get basic editing tasks done, try QuickTime.

QuickTime is installed by default on Macs but just incase you don’t have it installed you can download it here: http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/.

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When you first open your video cialis pills for sale uk if your file is an M4V iTunes might be the default program set to open that file type so you may have to right click and select open with -> QuickTime.

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video open in QuickTime I want to point out a few different features that you will want to be aware of for the next few steps.

quicktimefeatures

The first thing you will see on the bottom left corner of

your QuickTime window, next to your timeline is the place where QuickTime will display the time code or current frame number of the video you’re editing. You just click on the number to switch between the two outputs. You can manually input a time code or frame number to fine tune where your scrubber will jump to.

The scrubber is the marker on your timeline that will tell you exactly where you are in your video’s playback. This triangles location correlates with the time code or frame number.

Start Editing

Alright, how long does cialis last now that you have your bearings in QuickTime lets start editing. Again let me emphasize that this is basic cialis cost cvs editing best used to remove, combine, or rearrange existing video segments. Open up your video in QuickTime. Once your video is open, you can start navigating by dragging your scrubber to where in your video you want to start cutting. The easiest way to think about editing in QuickTime buy generic viagra online is think of your video like a document that you are just cutting and pasting from to create a new (shorter) document from some subset of the original content.

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where we will set your in point by hitting the letter ‘i’, for in point. You will want to do your best to try to fine tune exactly where this starts to make sure you don’t accidentally miss any audio or video frames. You can check exactly where your in point is by clicking the little triangle that should have snapped to your scrubbers position. If you can’t seem to get your mexico pharmacy in point where you want it by dragging the scrubber or playing and pausing you can switch your time code counter to the frame number on the left that I talked about earlier. You can manually input a frame number here to move generic viagra online the scrubber mexicanpharmacy-onlinerx.com in single frame increments. Once you get it exactly where you want it,

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Now that we have our in point we need to decide on an out point. If you have credits or chapters at the end of a video you want to edit out for size or length constraints just drag your scrubber to where you want your video to end and press ‘o’, for out point. You can use the same technique for fine tuning your outpoint if you are having trouble getting it just right.

Now you should see a dark gray bar between your in point and out point markers. Think of this how does cialis work like having a paragraph of a document selected. To copy your selection just click on edit and then copy or use the Apple + side effects viagra levitra cialis C shortcut. So, now all we need to do is walmart pharmacy number open up a new video player and copy the video over. To do this just go to ‘File’ and then click ‘New.’ With your new window open, just paste your video into the player. You should have your edited video ready to be saved and sitting in how long does it take for viagra to work front of you. Save your video under whatever file name and location you like. Be sure to save your file as a self contained video, though. Congratulations, you just learned some basic editing in QuickTime!

Advanced basics:

Have multiple videos you want combined? Need to remove multiple sections in a larger video? This section will give you a little more advice on how best to utilize the basics covered previously. The fundamentals of copying video sections and pasting them into a player are the same so this just takes those concepts farther.

As an example, if you have an introduction on a DVD but want this introduction to lead into several different clips you created cialis online pharmacy canada from the DVD, it is not mass college of pharmacy a complicated process. The best way to approach this problem would be to have the video with your intro open, cheap viagra pills for sale your video with content, and a new empty video player open. First, select your intro and paste it free viagra samples into the empty player, then copy your content from your generic cialis india other window sildenafil iv package insert and paste that into the player that has the intro. The two clips should then be able to be saved as one seamless video which you can save.

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Go forth an edit with your new QuickTime skills!

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Comparison of Solutions for Publishing and Selling Video on Demand Online

by Ellen Ambrose in General, Selling Video Online / 05.19.10

Video Commerce Platform Competitive Matrix

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Some Custom Video-on-Demand store samples

I talk to people every day that are looking for ways to sell access to their video content online (those that have it already in a DVD or other format and those that are thinking about creating it).  That stands to reason since MindBites is a marketplace for video content online and also a platform that our content partners (”authors”) can use to sell access to their videos on a custom store built to be integrated into their own site.

Today, I had Joseph pull together a quick mock-up of a custom store for someone that had emailed with a few questions.  After sending over the link for him to look at how a video-on-demand store might look that was setup to be integrated into his domain, I got the following message from him: “I have two teenage kids. I text. I, however, do not intrude upon their generation; I use complete sentences…and punctuation.  BUT…when I saw Joseph’s ‘On Demand Store’ rendition…OMG was all I could think.  It’s amazing how polished the store looks and how seamlessly I could integrate it into my site.”  I get this sort of feedback all of the time from people that are looking for a way to sell video online and  get a better understanding of how working with MindBites would go.  Hence, I figured it was about time I pull together a quick blog post to include a litany of different custom store examples - so you can all see just how flexible the custom store functionality is and just how nicely the stores turn out.

1. BurgerMath - Professor Ed Burger is a professor of Mathematics at Williams College.  burgermathHe’s also the author of over 30 research videos and 12 books.  In his spare time, he worked with a company called Thinkwell to create 2000+ math video lessons on everything from middle school math to Calculus.

Thinkwell and Professor Burger recently published Burger Math, a website where you can learn a bit more about the winner of the 2010 Robert Foster Cherry Award for Great Teaching (the largest - $250,000 - and most prestigious prize in higher education teaching and scholarship across all disciplines in the English speaking world).  Additionally, you can preview and purchase access to Professor Burger’s various video-based math lessons, which are great if you’re prepping for a math test or needing some math homework help.

2. Brent Mayne - Brent is a former MLB catcher that really knows his stuff as a 14 year veteran of Major League Baseball (all spent behind the plate).  brentmayneWe worked with Brent to create a custom video on demand store for his catching lessons.  His store, pictured here,was designed to be integrated into his main site, which contains biographical information on Brent as well as other types of content focused on catching that is associated with his ‘Art of Catching’ branding, blog, podcast series, etc.

Brent’s custom store is tied in to his main site through a Video Store link in his main navigation bar.  In addition to driving traffic to his custom store from his main site, he also promotes his video store and individual videos using various social media outlets (e.g. through @BrentMayne on Twitter).

3. LIVE at Broadway Dance Center / Tezoro - Live at Broadway Dance Center (LBDC) is a line of videoslbdcproduced by Tezoro productions and filmed at the Broadway Dance Center.  Tezoro Productions LIVE began with the long time dream of bringing the essence and brilliance of a dance class at Broadway Dance Center into the living rooms and studios of dance students worldwide.

LBDC sells a range of DVDs that they have produced.  When they partnered with MindBites, they did so with the intention of being able to sell access to their DVD library through their own site in a streaming/on-demand format.  Their custom store contains an array of dance lesson videos that are taught by the most qualified and talented instructors in the industry.  It ties in neatly via an On-Demand link in the navigation bar on their main site.

In addition to these three, you can check out a few more custom store examples by looking at the links in the sidebar of this blog.  Have a website that you’d like to bolt on a custom video-on-demand store to?  Drop us a note and we’ll be happy to mock up a draft of one for you.  We’ve definitely found this to be the easiest way for someone to get a feel for how a custom store might look that was designed to tie into their own existing web presence.  Questions?  Leave me a comment below and I’ll get you an answer!

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Helpful Hints: Offering your DVD content as video-on-demand

More than a couple DVD creators & distributors that we’ve started working with in 2010 dvd-firegot a wakeup call from Smart Company’s article on 10 Things Not to Buy in 201o.  DVDs topped the list.  Lists like this come out all of the time that foretell of the bottom falling out of one industry or another, and lots of them are, in hindsight, completely wrong.  That said, there’s no denying that video is moving online and consumers are increasingly demanding it to be available on-demand.  The days of buying a DVD and waiting for it to come in the mail so you can watch it are definitely drawing to an end.  That said, these days are drawing to a close at the same time as the demand for access to video online is exploding.  In November 2008, it is estimated that the average viewer of video content online spent 4.6 hours watching video online during the month.  In November 2009, this number has skyrocketed up to 12.2 hours per month.  Plus, even more people were watching video online - in November 2008, 77% of US internet users (~146MM Americans) were spending time watching online video - now 85% (170+MM Americans) of them are doing so.  (Special thanks to Comscore for their sweet stats).

After working with all kinds of  DVD creators & distributors interested in designing and implementing video-on-demand strategies online, we’ve managed to collect an assortment of learnings and best practices, some of which may surprise you.  Thus, without further delay, here are some helpful hints and things to think about if you’re considering making your DVDs available to users online and on-demand.

1. Consider breaking your full-length content into chapters. Short-form content is tremendously appealing to consumers.  You don’t have to dice it into 1 minute segments, but give some serious thought to breaking it into 8-15minute segments.  This does a few things for you:

- First, it more closely aligns your content duration with consumer attention spans, which are frighteningly short.

- Second, it gives you more products to offer.

- Third, there’s a market segment out there that may know part of what you’re teaching but not all of it.  People have a bizarre reluctance to pay for something they already know or have, even if it comes with something else that they’re looking for.  Hence, you’re opening up additional revenue streams by enabling people to buy a la carte… And, just because things are available a la carte, don’t think we expect you to charge a pro-rated portion for the individual pieces.  No way! Say you break your 30 minute DVD into three parts.  If you charge $20 for the full DVD, it’s not unreasonable to charge $10 or $12 for each of the three pieces a la carte (while offering a deal on the bundle of all three for $20).

- Last, it helps from a search standpoint.  When you break your baby sign language DVD into 6 parts (maybe one on teaching your baby sign language, one on food signs, one on animal signs, one on family signs, etc), you end up with 6 products that pull in their own niche, keyword-targeted search traffic.  The thing about these more niche keywords is that people are searching for them in droves but they’re slightly less competitive.  For instance, if I search for ‘Baby Sign Language’ in google, there are ~43 million results.  If I search for ‘Baby Sign Language Food Signs,’ there are ~500 thousand results.  It’s still a large number, but you can see how it’s going to be easier to compete.  Plus, when I’m searching for how to do a specific sign to teach my infant, I search for that specific word.  Hence, I may search for ‘Baby Sign Language, asparagus’, which will yield me ~35 thousand results.

2. Price it competitively

You obviously don’t want to cannibalize your DVD sales by offering a really large discount to customers opting for a video-on-demand option in lieu of a physical DVD that has to be burned and mailed, but you also need to consider that people do tend to expect something of a discount considering you won’t have to pay for the physical DVD, the burning or the shipping and handling.  Worst case, you can offer the two options for the same price, and you’ll likely end up making more money off of video-on-demand sales (and doing much less work).

3. How to think about DRM

We don’t like it, and you won’t like it, but digital piracy is unfortunately a fact of life.  The bad news is there is no 100% reliable way around piracy.  The good news is that most people aren’t thieves.  If you give them a way to pay you, most will.  Plus, it’s honestly no harder for someone to rip your content from a video-on-demand/streaming service than it is to rip it off of a DVD that they buy from you.  If you’re not as concerned about piracy [most content creators are rightfully more worried about obscurity than piracy] or have content that would be much more valuable to users offline or on a ipod, then I’m a huge proponent of giving people the option to download the video once they’ve purchased access.

4. Keywords, keywords, keywords… and good descriptions & titles

The internet is a frighteningly large place.  If it exists, chances are you can find it on the internet.  That means a few things.  First, if you want customers to know your product exists, it needs to be on the internet.  Second, virtually every competing product will be out there, too.  While all of the trappings of traditional business and competition that marketers use to position and differentiate their products are present on the internet (pricing, marketing, branding, promotions, recommendations, etc), one of the biggest keys to success there is a wholly internet-specific one: search engine optimization (SEO).  Basically, SEO is a fancy way of saying, are you making your page and product easily findable by customers searching on google (or bing or any other search engine).  These search engines have an algorithm that they use that determines the order in which the display search results.  What it comes down to are a couple main things, though:

- First and foremost, what does the text on your page say (google’s crawlers can’t watch your video and know what it’s about, so all it has to go on to know whether to return a link to your page is the text included there.  This means that your page titles and headers and your text-based descriptions are absolutely critical.  If you don’t mention that your video teaches parents the sign for asparagus, your page won’t show up in search results for ‘baby sign language asparagus’

- what pages are linking to your page (this is an indicator of credibility - if a bunch of people link to your webpage, then google assumes that you have some valuable content there, especially if the people linking to you have a lot of people linking to them, indicating that people respect their opinions/value their content…)

5. Promotion

The web is a fantastic place to sell Video on Demand because it basically removes all kinds of pesky purchase barriers - you can sell to virtually anyone at any time.  They don’t need to visit a store that carries your DVD, you don’t need to rely on that store to put it on the shelf, you don’t have to worry about stockouts, and consumers don’t have to worry about store hours.  These are all great things, but the web does come with its challenges.  These barriers are removed for everyone online.  Hence, competition can be even tougher and promotion becomes even more important.  We’ve talked about keywords and SEO, which are the best places to start.  However, there are tons of other things you should consider in promoting your content.

The good news is that you’re still pretty early to this game.  The vast majority of DVD content out there is not yet available online in an on-demand format.  More and more is available every passing day, but we’re still in the early days of conversion from a DVD-based world to an online and on-demand world.  One interesting aspect of search engines is that they give you some extra bonus points for being early to the game - the age of a URL does matter when Google is trying to determine search result rankings.  (Interestingly, you likely also get extra bonus points for having video on that page).  Thus, the time is now to make the move, but making your videos available online and on-demand is only the first step.  After that, you’ll still need to do some work to get them the attention they deserve (from consumers, bloggers, social media outlets, etc).  Don’t worry, we’ve written all kinds of blogs on doing just this - start with this one: Marketing Your Videos (in the MindBites marketplace).

6. Integration into your existing site

So you already have a website?  Good news - we can very easily enhance your existing site by simply adding a bolt-on Video on Demand store that we’ll create to visibly match and integrate into your own site.  You’ll control the design, logos, colors, layout, navigation bar, links, content, etc.  We’ll just power the back-end infrastructure that will enable users to preview content, buy content, watch lessons online or download them, rate & review what they’ve purchased, leave comments, etc.

There are countless different approaches that our authors have taken to integrating their video-on-demand stores.  We’ll talk you through these and figure out what makes the most sense for your business (with ample consideration given to the current layout and design of your website).  Some of our authors simply add a Video Store tab to their main site navigation and some actually integrate the Video-on-Demand option into their own checkout process or through promotional graphics added to their site.

7. Help with ripping & content prep

The first thing you’re going to need to get your DVD content ready to be sold online is a web-friendly version of that content.  Thus, you’re going to have convert your DVD content to any one of a number of different web-friendly formats.  MindBites, in particular, accepts files that are formatted as MP4, AVI, M4V, MOV, WMV, FLV, or a few other more obscure file formats.  My suggestion on this would be to use MP4.  You’ll also likely need to give some thought to compressing the videos you rip from your DVDs (or convert from your master files).  My suggestion is usually to think about using a 1500 kbps standard to ensure that your file has pretty good quality but doesn’t end up too massive.  While massive files can mean really good resolution, they’re much more likely to mean disenchanted users as bandwidth is just not infinite for the users that’ll be trying to stream your videos online.  Need more help with ripping - check out our DVD ripping post here: Guide to DVD Ripping Software.  Or, leave me a message in the comments and I’d be happy to help you out.

Have more than just a handful of DVDs and are a little overwhelmed by the idea of ripping all of them?  Let us know.  We do have in-house capability to rip DVDs at a pretty low cost to you.  Alternatively, you may want to consider reaching out to a local production house - this isn’t their core business, but they’ll be more than happy to help you convert your DVDs into web-ready files.  Make sure you have a good plan going into this, though.  You’ll need to give them very clear direction on things like file format, container format, target file sizes or bit rates, etc.  You’ll also want to give some thought to how you’ll get the final files from them and whether any of the DVDs need to be ripped to multiple files (or ripped to a single output file and broken up after the fact, in which case you’ll likely want to rip to a quicktime-friendly format like MP4).

Have other questions/challenges you’re running into or noodling over?  Ask us in the  comments!  Having trouble envisioning what a custom video-on-demand store would look like for your site - hit the contact us link at the bottom of our video-on demand platform levels information page.  Looking for some more details on what MindBites does - get some answers on how we can help you sell videos here.

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Laura Berg Case Study: Building a Business by Selling Video Online

by Huntley in Author Highlight, General / 04.08.10

Laura Berg has been a MindBites author from pretty early on. She found us when we were first getting the marketplace up and running - and well before we’d built out any of the platform features and functionality. msh1 Anyhow, we’ve worked a ton with Laura and are absolutely crazy about her! Laura is a Baby Sign Language instructor in Toronto, Canada, and her approach to selling videos online is one that we could see all sorts of physical instructors benefiting from.

Her story began when she was teaching 8th grade and had been asked to run her school’s literacy program. While researching she came across a study that used the American Sign Language (ASL) alphabet to help students develop their spelling skills. She was fascinated with this concept, and latched onto it right away. ASL encompasses a number of learning styles but specifically kinesthetic and visual. Her school was similarly interesting in giving it a shot, so Laura set about designing a curriculum and revamping her school’s literacy program. It was a tremendous success, and Laura subsequently was asked to lecture at various universities on the idea of using sign language to address literacy challenges in schools. This ultimately led her to launch My Smart Hands. In 2005, while pregnant with her daughter, Fireese, Laura began designing the My Smart Hands baby signing curriculum . After signing with Fireese and watching her learn ASL, she was able to fine-tune her program.

In January of 2007, Laura uploaded a video to YouTube of her signing with her daughter, Fireese. This video has since garnered well over two million views. While, on first glance, this was great publicity for her company, it was a bit of a double-edged sword. Laura lived and taught signing classes in Toronto, Canada, and, while many of these viewers were keen to ask Laura questions, few were candidates for her classes given that most were not in Toronto. Laura worked diligently to respond to submitted questions and follow-up with additional videos, but the outpouring of interest made her realize that there were a ton of people online looking for baby sign language instruction. This made since as an online outlet for instruction allowed for video-based instruction, which was particularly well-suited for subject areas that are better learned visually than through text-based approaches. Plus, online outlets were open 24/7 to users across time zones… and to moms that were up at odd hours.

Laura found MindBites in May of 2007, even before we’d launched the Beta version of the MindBites marketplace. MindBites was the perfect solution for her, as it enabled her to easily offer baby sign language instruction online in the form of discrete video lessons. And, while the production quality needed for a DVD requires a significant investment in equipment (for both production and editing), MindBites allowed her to easily get started and charge a price for access that felt commensurate with the lesson content and production quality of her lessons. Plus, with MindBites, it was easy to attach supplementary files to her lessons where appropriate - for instance, some of the baby sign language song lessons have MP3 files that are made available to the user upon lesson purchase.


Over time, Laura uploaded ~18 baby signing video lessons to MindBites, and with every significant product release from MindBites, Laura has been there to take advantage. Notably, in addition to her individual video lessons, she now sells bundles of baby sign language lessons (called series), as well. Users feel good about it because they get a discount buying a bundle when compared to buying all of the included lessons a la carte, and Laura feels good about it because it has dramatically increased her revenue per visitor numbers.

Additionally, Laura was one of our Beta customers when we rolled out the MindBites custom video stores. The custom store launch was really a turning point in the evolution of MindBites - with the launch, we changed from a marketplacemsh-custom-store to a platform. The custom stores basically offer our content partners and creators a way to sell their video content on their own sites. While there aren’t features on the custom stores that are missing from the MindBites marketplace, there were some compelling reasons why Laura and other content creators like her were interested in a more private and custom option. First, anyone with a web business would prefer to actively drive traffic to their own site with their own branding and navigation links rather than to the MindBites site, which obviously has MindBites branding and navigation links.  This is especially true when one considers the fact that the MindBites site is an open marketplace, and, as such, it may also offer competing products. Second, the ability to enable users to purchase and immediately view videos through a custom video-on-demand store on your own site makes your site feel substantially differentiated and robust.  Plus, the custom video store option lets you pick your own categories (rather than having to use the ones that we define on the site) and very effectively match the look and feel of your own site with its styling and customization options.

Laura has also been an active recruiter for the MindBites Associate program, our version of an affiliate program. Laura already had tons of fans that were promoting her lessons and series before we rolled out the program, but it offered her an excellent opportunity to reach out to these people to suggest that they get signed up such that they could get compensated for any sales generated off of their promotional efforts. This, again, was a win-win for her and the affiliates that were linking to her videos. They loved her content and, in many cases, had already been recommending it. With the program, they got paid for it. And, on the flip side, Laura gets paid the same amount whether there’s an affiliate involved or not. Hence, for every additional sale they make for her, she sees additional earnings in her bank account.

Laura is a phenomenal example of how a physical instructor, who traditionally relies on local customers that he/she can serve with 1-on-1 tutoring meetings or group classes or training sessions, can build out their business online by leveraging the power of the web and the power of video as an instructive medium.  Anyone from a yoga instructor to an art teacher or a Spanish tutor stands to realize a considerable upside by taking their business to the next level and opening themselves up to a business that isn’t tied to any one geography.  And, one more thing that’s a pretty good deal - you can sell the same video to 100 different people and there’s no incremental work required on your part.  Laura uploaded her videos some time back, but the content won’t “expire”.  There will always be more new mothers out there looking to teach their infants sign language, just as there will always be yogis and aspiring artists and beginning Spanish students looking for instruction.  With that in mind, I’m pretty sure that Laura would agree that the more marketing and promotion efforts you make, the better off you’ll be.  In addition to her website and YouTube presence, My Smart Hands also uses newsletters, Twitter, Facebook, traditional PR, etc.

Are you a physical instructor of some sort or do you have a business like Laura’s? We’d love to help you expand your business by marketing and selling video content online to reach a worldwide audience. You can learn more about selling videos on MindBites here and then check our various video-on-demand platform levels, which geared towards individuals and small/medium businesses.  Or, even better, feel free to contact us to ask more questions, get us to mock up a custom video store for you or see if there’s a way we can work together.

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