Joost: Opportunity Lost

April 6, 2008

So… a few months ago I wrote about Joost. In the beginning, I felt they did a lot of things right, which unfortunately slid into general annoyance as the service deteriorated. Now Techcrunch writes that they’re preparing a “major retrenchment of staff,” and that article reminded me – I haven’t fired up Joost in months.

What Joost did right was convince a lot of people such as myself to download a client through an initial flurry of viral marketing. They also created a compelling video delivery platform with a pretty, glammy interface which does immerse you in the programming.

What they’ve done wrong: not lining up enough compelling content, content, content. There still isn’t anything I’d go out of my way to watch.

I can empathize with Joost to some degree. It’s surely difficult lining up licensing agreements with old media. But meanwhile, the networks are simply bypassing Joost (and other websites, I might add) by creating their own video sites such as ABC and NBC via Hulu. Then there’s Apple – my recent Apple TV purchase rendered Joost essentially pointless.

Anyhow, I do I think their idea of going all-browser is a good one, but ultimately – they still have to get the content.

Update: Perhaps “major retrenchment” were too strong words, as Joost denies the talk of changing strategy or layoffs. Personally, it’s a bit late as I’m concerned, as I just deleted the client from my computer. Here’s hoping Joost can someday give me a reason to reinstall it.


  1. Mike says:

    May I suggest Miro? They aim to replace Joost, with open source software and RSS/Atom feeds with video enclosures – they're calling them “channels” instead of video podcasts.

    It's pretty nice – integrated BitTorrent client, channel guide, and everything.

  2. papa says:

    Yeazh, I was all hot and heavy for Joost when it came out (they did a brilliant job of creating demand for beta accounts). I fired it up once and thought “meh” (nice technology with no content = yawn), tried it again a few months later and quickly shut it down.

    In my opinion, Hulu is a fantastic service. Really well done. The embedding is a great bonus. Everyone wins with the Hulu model.

    I really don't understand companies that try to go against the grain with these proprietary/downloadable clients. It's a huge huge obstacle to adoption.

    Apple can get away with it (iTunes) because it's Apple. But look at how long it took Apple to reach its current music player/music store dominance. It required a number of years, a LOT of money and a combo hardware/sofware/content strategy. Takes a lot of savvy AND resources and patience to pull off something like that!

  3. webomatica says:

    Hulu is a decent website. I was pissed when NBC pulled out of iTunes, in particular, because of BSG, so I must count myself a reluctant user of Hulu. But it does the job of serving up video in an easy manner and it works. And because they have the content – I'll be using Hulu at least once a week wheras Joost – I might take a cue from you and reclaim some hard drive space.

  4. webomatica says:

    Cool, I'll check out Miro.

  5. markt says:

    Has anyone used FILESWIRE WEB BASED P2P Its a web based p2p client. It uses Gnutella (the same network as LimeWire) and their own network. Web based p2p has finally arrived.