In our latest case study, we take a look at Vimeo, the video site made for professional and aspiring film makers.

Today, we released a closer look at Vimeo in our latest case study. From being the first video sharing site to offer high definition streaming to now becoming the second most popular video site on the Internet (second to YouTube), Vimeo has come far from it’s humble beginnings. If you need any more convincing to go read our case study about the back end operations of Vimeo’s servers and the company’s history, check out the synopsis below before clicking over to the case study itself.

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Vimeo was founded in 2004 by Jakob Lodwick and Zach Klein. When Lodwick saw the explosion of photoblogging on Flickr and other sites on the Internet, he got the idea to start a video sharing site based on the same kind of tagging that photo sharing sites implemented. Both founders were also employees at Connected Ventures at the time, which is known for other sites it owns like Busted Tees and CollegeHumor. While Lodwick focused on the mechanics of what would become Vimeo, Klein worked on the interface.

Although the site launched in 2004, traffic didn’t take off until the site was acquired by InterActiveCorp (IAC) in 2006. In some circles, startups acquired by a big name conglomerate are considered sell outs but in Vimeo’s case, the acquisition was nothing but positive. Prior to 2006, the site was running on one server and had multiple crashes daily. By 2007 however, the site had scaled its servers and rolled out its high definition streaming (the first video site to ever do so).

The same year, Lodwick and Klein left Vimeo in IACs capable hands. Dae Mellencamp came to the CEO spot in 2009 and stayed until just last month. AOL alum Kerry Trainor became CEO while Mellencamp has stayed on as president of Vimeo.

To expand the site’s reputation as the place for legitimate film makers, the company created the Vimeo Film Awards in New York City in 2010. The annual event draws in thousands of film submissions from independent film makers hoping for that $25,000 prize for winner of the “Best Video Award.” The festival has multiple video categories and $5,000 prizes for the first place winners in each category. This year’s awards ceremony is taking place in a few short months in June and tickets for the event go on sale tomorrow.

As far as numbers, Vimeo gets about 58 million monthly visitors and has around 8.5 million registered users. In comparison to the gargantuan number of users that YouTube pulls down daily, it looks like Vimeo is losing the fight to become the most popular streaming video site on the Internet. In reality, the video sharing site isn’t looking to be the most popular spot for videos online; it’s looking to keep its user demographic focused on users who are making professional films.

In an effort to maintain their ideal user base, Vimeo closely monitors all uploads to the site. Anything resembling pornography, video game footage, television shows, or what moderators deem as pointless videos, gets banned. Of course, it’s cyclical: the smaller the user base, the easier it is to patrol uploads, and the larger the number of video uploads, the harder it will become for Vimeo to police it as well as it currently does.

The site offers tiered pricing plans for users, where the more you pay per month, the more bandwidth and disk space users are offered for their uploads and for sharing their videos. The most expensive product users can sign up for offers not only a large amount of disk space and bandwidth but analytics tools and SEO services as well. That product is usually purchased by commercial organizations, not aspiring individual film makers.

There’s a whole lot more in the case study so if this has piqued your interest, click through to read more interesting details about Vimeo.