a bit of background before my question:
I've built a video sharing website that is specific to extreme sports, where users currently embed videos from third-party websites like Vimeo or Youtube. Really, the site is a blog that many users contribute to. I'm already live with a Beta, and will come out of Beta within the next few weeks. There is a strong likelyhood that I will soon obtain a bit of entrepreneurship funding from my government (a loan), and I believe that I have a solid plan for using this money to quickly scale the business. A key thing to note about the industry:
- Over the past 2-3 years I have observed about 50% of my competitors make large investments in an attempt to integrate user-generated videos / social networking into their extreme sports websites, in some cases completely redesigning their brand in order to do so. It appears they have been relatively unsuccessful, and in my opinion, this is due to poor execution.
And my question:
Many of my competitors are large extreme sports blogs that host their own videos, and do not use vimeo or Youtube. Among these competitors many provide an API which, if integrated, would allow my users to add their extreme sports videos to my website as easily as a video from youtube or vimeo. These are very high quality action sports videos, and would be of great benefit to my community. In some ways this could be beneficial to my competitors, all of which run pre-roll advertising on embedded videos (i.e. they will make money by me having these videos on my website). On the other hand, my website directly competes with their recent investments in user-generated content / social networking.
Embedding my competitor's videos in my website will undoubtably tip them off to my existence, I strongly believe that I have implemented user-generated content / social networking better than my competitors. My competitors have the means to relatively quickly integrate my implementation into their own websites.
And the question is, should I be worried about tipping off my competitors to my existence before I've had a chance to get my foot in the industry, build my brand, and at least to some extent scale my business?