Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Iran Launches Mehr.ir to compete with Youtube

Iran launches its own video sharing website. Some say the aim may not be to compete with youtube, its actually to REPLACE YOUTUBE as youtube has been banned in the IRAN on and off several times in recent past.

YouTube cafe
CC by 2.0 - from Flickr by marioanima
The content on Google's Youtube is deemed to be inappropriate by the Islamic Regime, the state television reported.

Mehr.ir allows users to upload videos just like youtube does, however as of now it remains unclear if the website will look to approve videos before they go public, hence in a way have some sort of censorship in place.

Surprisingly, the website Mehr.ir has been in more news and limelight outside Iran than it has been so far inside.

We could now say that Iranians are now getting somewhat used to online restrictions, Mehr in Farsi means "affection", it shares its name with a California-registered NGO which is probably not at the top of the President Ahmedinejad's charity list, it being a campaigner for human rights in Iran.

Mehr has attracted only a few dozen views on its videos on home page rather than thousands although there are estimated 30 to 40 million internet users in Iran, seems it is quite unpopular with local population. When ban on Youtube is in effect, people still access youtube through use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), however such use of VPNs is banned in Iran.

We don't know how long can Iran take ahead this separated approach from the rest of the world with popular websites such as Facebook, Youtube and Twitter blocked by Iranian officials.

If we look at the content and quality of videos, Youtube is by far the richest source of high quality videos and is not only used for normal small video clip sharing purposes but also for various other reasons such as education, commercial activity, TV shows, popular music videos and so on.