Earlier today I issued a tweet that claimed, simply, that “everyone hates Vital”. Now of course this is an exaggeration. Clearly many people like Vital. But I received at least 2 responses that seemed shocked that ANYONE would hate Vital. So you know what? Fuck it. I’ve had roughly 6 years to think about this. Here are 8 things I hate about Vital.
1) They constantly steal news from other sites and don’t attribute the source. In other words, if I post a sponsor change on TCU, Vital will repost the news without crediting TCU. This is bad internet etiquette. To be fair, Ride does the same thing and so do plenty of other sites but Vital is the biggest offender. As a result, when we take a news item from Vital we usually don’t bother linking back to them like we do with any other site that links back properly like say, Defgrip or BMX Union.
2) They run pre-roll ads on videos that they don’t own. Go watch a video on Vital and most of the time, you’ll have to watch a 15 second pre-roll ad before the Vimeo or Youtube link even loads. I’ve never seen this done on any other type of blog in any corner of the internet. Typically any sort of pre-roll advertising goes directly to whoever published the video. Any site that aggregates content (ie; every BMX site) runs banner ads alongside 3rd party content but Vital is the only site audacious enough to run pre-roll ads in front of other people’s videos… even when the video is a tribute to Mike Tag:
3) Nobody (or close to nobody) who works at Vital rides BMX bikes. I’m cool with some of Vital’s employees (I used a photo of me and Kyle Carlson all drunk last weekend at Dew Tour last weekend to stress this fact) but let’s face it, Vital is primarily owned and operated by guys who don’t really ride BMX. On the other hand, all of Ride and TCU’s non-Gutstains employees still ride and most of them ride very well. Vital reads like a site that is run by people who don’t give a shit about BMX or at least don’t know much about it.
4) Vital does nothing to support physical BMX media. I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t hold magazines and DVD’s in the same regard that some of my peers do, but TCU is constantly posting magazine covers, DVD information and doing what we can, as an online property, to support other types of BMX media. It gives us more content to post and it helps support other people doing good things in BMX. Vital doesn’t do this. In fact if you only knew about BMX via Vital, you wouldn’t even know that any other magazines or BMX sites existed at all.
5) Vital has absolutely nothing interesting to say. Granted, many BMX sites don’t either and there often isn’t much to work with when describing marginal BMX videos. But Vital literally NEVER has anything interesting to say. The site reads like a feed of 3rd grade level video descriptions and copy and pasted press releases.
6) So get this. You have to click through to each video on Vital. The videos auto-play, unlike every other BMX site. But Vital runs pre-roll ads before all the videos they post. So even if you for some reason open a page on Vital and don’t choose to play the video, the video is already playing. But more importantly, the ad is also already playing. Maybe you don’t think this is a big deal, but when Vital began this practice, their Vimeo view counts doubled or tripled. This practice creates a bad experience for users but perhaps more importantly, it’s dishonest towards their advertisers who are paying for pre-roll ads that often aren’t being viewed at all.
7) Vital doesn’t post any video that includes a TCU or OSS logo. They don’t post almost anything hosted on Ride’s player, ESPN’s player or really almost anything associated with any other BMX media company. How is that okay? Why do advertisers support this weird insulated view of BMX media that Vital promotes?
8) They won’t argue back. Plenty of big names in the BMX industry have taken shots at Vital, even within the past couple days (Empire, Ride and JPR), but nobody from Vital ever responds. Like, I guess it’s cool to be all mature and just ask my nigga Lebron; we so big we ain’t gotta respond with it but the difference is that when Lebron James doesn’t respond, it’s because he doesn’t have to; his play speaks for itself. When Jay Z doesn’t respond, it’s because many people acknowledge he’s the greatest rapper of all time. When Vital doesn’t respond, they don’t respond because nobody at Vital could last 140 characters in a war of words with anyone previously mentioned before it would be made abundantly clear that this cat has no claws.
That’s all I got for now. Am I biased? Fuck yeah I’m biased. But I’m 99% sure I’d feel the same way if I didn’t own a rival website. Pretty much all my friends don’t fuck with Vital either, and any time I mention anything that was posted on Vital (it’s hard to even think of an example given how bland their content is) usually nobody knows what I’m talking about.
All that being said, I don’t hate Vital. I mean really, as lame as the things listed above are, none of them are THAT serious in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure I’ll get at least a few U MAD responses, but I’m not mad. I have felt this way forever, and never even bothered to write about it until now, that’s how not mad I am. Really, I could have probably titled this article “8 Things I Wish Vital Would Improve Upon” and it would have been essentially the same article albeit less mean spirited. But where’s the fun in that? Talking shit is more entertaining than helpful advice and at the end of the day, the blog business is the business of keeping people entertained. Fuck you Vital, I hope someone spills coffee on your keyboard.
Comment on this post if you completely agree or completely disagree, I would love to hear some opinions.