As part of a shift in strategy, video hosting site Vimeo has been notifying popular creators of steep price increases.

In mid-March 2022, the company began notifying select users in what it said are the top 1% of bandwidth users who typically pay a few hundred dollars a year to use the service. Under the new pricing, however, quotes to stay on are stretching into thousands of dollars.

Van Barle had been paying $200 per year, but Vimeo now wants her to cough up $3,500. The company offered her a custom plan, and she had a week to accept the plan, decrease her bandwidth, or find another video hosting platform. Expressing her disappointment, van Barle said, “I’ve never had it where a platform reached out to me and was like, ‘Pay up, or get off our platform,’ basically.”

These messages came at a surprise, particularly to people who haven’t been using Vimeo for years. That’s also a difficult situation to stay in. Only a few creators could afford a huge price rise. In addition, they can do little to limit their bandwidth usage.

The backlash was swift, which is why Sud said that he made the following apology on Vimeo.

Vimeo’s argument that heavy bandwidth users cost it more does have some merits — bandwidth does cost money, though it’s not nearly as expensive as it once was. Video is also one of the fastest way to gobble through data transfer allowances, especially as content becomes posted more and more in HD and UHD.

The company claimed it had to introduce the charges because it lost money supporting high usage accounts. In a mail to a user who fell in the category, Vimeo wrote, “On some high consumption accounts (including your account), Vimeo has been losing money supporting its usage. This has become problematic for our leadership team, and they made the decision to implement a fair use policy in which we reserve the right to charge the top 1% of bandwidth-consuming accounts based on the amount of bandwidth they are utilizing.”

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