Don’t send me a video, send me a link
29 Jan 2009
I know, there are so many ‘funny’ videos you just have to share with your friends. So you send them an email. But for god’s sake, not with a 5MB movie in attachment! For all you know, he/she might not even be able to play that MOV/WMV/XVid movie anyway. **Don’t send a movie, send a link!**
WHY EMAILING VIDEOS IS BAD
1. Email makes big files bigger
Binary files (like videos) are encoded, or rather exploded, by your email program (Outlook/Hotmail/Gmail/…) as text-only [Base64](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64) MIME attachments. Your 5MB file is transformed into a 6.85MB text file before is sent. **Email is a very inefficient way to share videos with several other people**.
2. You hurt the recipients
Your email will have to be downloaded before the recipient can see it. If he is on a slow connection, this might mean 15 minutes of obnoxious delay before he can continue working, start receiving the emails that arrived after your ‘cute puppy’ movie. The movie, if it is not deleted, will add 5 MB of storage to the Inbox. If his Outlook/Exchange quota is 100MB (not uncommon on corporate email systems), you just ate 5% of all the place he has to store contracts, meeting reports and office gossip.
3. You hurt yourself
By sending a 5MB video, you force your email program to upload a 6.85 MB file to your mail server. If you’re on a basic DSL line, this will easily take up to 10 minutes, during which all your other Internet activity will go very slow. You also add a big chunk to your “Sent Items” folder, bringing you closer to your quota limit.
4. You hurt the Internet
All those forwarded videos make for a huge amount of unnecessary traffic that **eats up bandwidth at ISPs** and inspire them to keep prices high. Not that they needed the extra inspiration.
5. It’s force-feeding-video, not video on demand
You are forcing people to download the whole file before they can decide whether they want to see it now, or ever at all. Youtube and the other sites have a very easy-to-use ‘Send video link’ form that will give the receipient the link, with a screenshot and the description text. Then he/she can decide **when, where, how and \*IF\*** to watch the video.
(Yes, this is less a problem with web-based mail like Gmail or Hotmail)
HOW TO FORWARD A VIDEO LINK
1. public, popular movie
Don’t think you’re the first one to have seen this movie. Chances are it’s featured on [Youtube](http://www.youtube.com), [Google Video](http://video.google.com), [DailyMotion](http://www.dailymotion.com), [Vimeo](http://www.vimeo.com), in multiple versions (FR subtitles if that’s what you like), in a format everyone can view, available to send as just a link “`http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_RgL2MKfWTo`“. Less that 50 characters for a full 1:14 of hilarious time loss.
2. private, ‘secret’ movie
Even if you have a movie you recorded/made yourself and want to show only to a limited number of people (“_OMG, Britney, you were, like, \*so\* drunk!!_“), then upload it yourself to Youtube, Flickr or Vimeo, put a password on it and send link+ password to those recipients. It will be so much easier for everyone to forward that secret video that no one was supposed to see (“_788 views just yesterday? How’s that possible?_“).
We thank you.