Microsoft’s Soapbox Gets A Second Chance

    June 4, 2007

Microsoft’s Soapbox video-sharing service got pulled out of the public’s view back in March; this past Friday, it finally floated back into sight.  The site has gained a new color scheme, and (probably more importantly), it’s “conducting proactive filtering of all uploaded content.”

Of course, “importantly” doesn’t mean “goodly” (if you’ll take my meaning and excuse the grammatical nightmare).  A post on the LiveSide blog states, “On top of this, content owners will be given access to automated tools allowing them to find and remove their copyrighted content.”  The post then calls this “a move that will please the content owners and not the users . . . ”

Ars Technica’s Jacqui Cheng foresees some of the same problems, writing, “MSN declined to answer our questions about how the company planned to handle conflicts over things like parody, criticism, and other fair uses, so it’s possible that Soapbox users looking to upload content that ‘looks’ infringing to a machine-based filter may run into some frustrations with the new system.”

These issues could become a huge sticking point.  After all, there are a lot of video-sharing sites out there, and though not all of them are great, most of them work pretty well.  With no clear reason to migrate to Soapbox, users may not even give Microsoft’s offering a chance.  Soapbox will need some sort of gimmick – or preferably a real draw – to get off the ground.

A black and gray color scheme is unlikely to do the trick.