Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lending Club awards $8,000 in YouTube video contest

Lending Club has just announced the winners in their YouTube video contest. After reviewing the videos, Lending Club decided that $5,000 wouldn't cut it and decided to divvy out $8,000 in prize money to four winners. Originally the $5,000 prize was slated to go to the video with the most YouTube views but after consulting with the top contestants, Lending Club decided to increase the overall prize pot. CEO Renaud Laplanche said, "When we decided to incorporate more criteria (other than just YouTube views), we found that at least four participants deserved a prize, but then $5,000 split into four was getting too small, so we increased the total prize money."

The four contestants that won prize money from Lending Club are:
  • $3,000 for Best Video - Chris Barrett
  • $3,000 for Most YouTube views - Steve Dinelli
  • $1,500 for Best Storyboard - Jonathan Reed
  • $500 for Jury Prize - Share Ross

Three of the four winners were featured in our video contest review one week before the end of the contest. Jonathan Reed was a late entrant and uploaded his video with just a week to go.

Best Video - Chris Barrett

Chris makes movies professionally and founded Powerhouse Pictures Entertainment with Efren Ramirez, who is most well known as Pedro in Napoleon Dynamite. The company's first project is a documentary on the teacher student sex scandals called "After School". Read our complete interview of Chris here.

Chris Barrett's video for the Lending Club contest shows a girl who is getting her Paris Hilton news through magazines instead of the internet since her laptop broke. "I can't believe their putting Paris Hilton in jail," she exclaims to her friend who can't believe she's so behind the news. The friend suggests Lending Club to borrow the money and replace her computer.

Most YouTube Viewers - Steve Dinelli

Steve's 49 second video was made with 1,500 still photographs using a stop motion technique. Despite the complexity of the video, Steve has perfected the technique and made the video in only two hours. It was the most viewed with 19,011 views on YouTube.

Steve just graduated high school and will start college at Robert Morris in Chicago this fall. He enters every video contest he can find and is currently featured as a finalist in Girl Talk's Think Twice Before You Drink contest (5th video in the row on the top). You can read our complete interview of Steve here.

Storyboard Award - Jonathan Reed

Jonathan Reed was a late entrant and uploaded his video with just a week to go. His video was instantly popular and collected over 6,000 views in that short period of time. If uploaded earlier it would have been a strong contender for most views. The video is an entertaining look at a few Facebook characters who help each other out with a loan through Lending Club.

Jury Prize - Share Ross

Share Ross was the former bassist for the platinum-selling EMI recording artists Vixen and is currently the guitarist and singer for Bubble. She is a big fan of peer to peer lending and in our interview called it "anarchy in its finest form."

She was surprised when Lending Club contacted her and offered her a prize even though she was a long way from the winners as far as total views go. She said, "I'm honored and quite surprised about the Jury Prize. I certainly wasn't expecting anything like this and I think in some way, it reflects the company's product... people helping people. This shows that the head of Lending Club is 'hands on' and I am looking forward to seeing how they grow as a company!"

Share is going to use a portion of her prize money to reinvest in Lending Club. She told us, "You'll be seeing me on Lending Club as a lender sometime in September or October."

Lending Club considers the contest a huge success and they plan to make it an annual event. CEO Renaud Laplanche shared a few parting thoughts with us about the contest:

Will you hold other video contests in the future?

Absolutely. At the very least, we will make this an annual event over the summer.

What was your favorite video?

I really liked the 4 winners. I also liked Sean’s skateboard crash video and the remake of Battle at Krugger. Racoon in Da Club was funny; the “magic of lending club” wasn’t bad either. There was also this video made by a couple who actually borrowed on Lending Club and took a trip to Europe.

There were some concerns about falsely inflated view counts. What did you do to ensure this was a fair contest?

We’ve monitored view counts and inbound links to videos pretty closely and issued warnings to contestants whose counts were “suspicious”. We’ve also looked at the number of videos watched by contestants and the correlations between the number of videos watched and their own video counts. None of these methods is bullet proof though, which is why we decided, in agreement with all the main participants, to take into account YouTube views in our rankings, but also incorporate more subjective criteria like the quality of the content and clarity of the message.

The Battle of Kruger video was in first place when it was pulled by YouTube for copyright violations. Other videos have also been accused of using music or video that they did not own the rights to. How do you feel about that?

We take copyright enforcement very seriously. All 4 winners have produced original content specifically for the Lending Club Video Contest. Too bad I really liked the bufffaloes in Battle at Kruger!

In the peer to peer industry Lending Club appears to be a leader in marketing with Facebook, YouTube, Lookery and other initiatives. What other creative marketing ideas can we expect from Lending Club in the future?

I think you can expect us to become better at these things, as we learn more about social networks, YouTube, and the way to leverage connections among people. Lookery is a fantastic tool in that respect. You will also start seeing some tie-in between social networks and some more traditional ways of exposing connections among people.

1 comment:

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