We're posting live from the Strutta private alpha launch party at their offices in Gastown, Vancouver.
The launch beards have been shaved and the Strutta team is ready to take the metaphorical curtain off their web creation as they show it off for the first time today to a select group of bloggers and local web company folk. For a stealth startup, the Strutta team has not stayed out of the spotlight. Granted, when you're moving up from Silicon Valley and starting your third internet company, like Strutta founder Danny Robinson was, your actions aren't going to go unnoticed anyhow.
From hosting and sponsoring the three Launch Party events, organizing a Free Geek hardware recycling drive, up to co-presenting Videoblogging 101 at Northern Voice last weekend, they've done a good job of letting everyone know who they are, and that they were working on something really cool. Their glossy color bar logo and the frequent YouTube postings of office antics gave enough of a hint: something with video. But they couldn't tell us yet.
So now, after months of secrecy, I'm pleased to be able to answer the question they've teased us with: What is Strutta? Strutta is an arena, a platform for video competitions, called "games". A game is created with a theme, such as "Best George W. Bush Impression" or "Best Surprise Wedding Dance". Users can submit videos for that theme, watch others, and vote which they think is the best. A key rule is that a user must submit their own video: either they appear in it or are holding the camera. A broad set of categories makes space for almost any video. Leaderboards and graphs provide comprehensive statistics. I was impressed with the clean and functional interface design. Users can start using the site right away and register later.
The site incorporates Web 2.0 features well: videos can be recording from within a browser, uploaded, and embedded from YouTube. Contacts can be added from Facebook and LinkedIn. Its built on Drupal, and powered by Amazon's EC2 and S3 services, ready to scale.
Overall, I'm impressed: the concept is well fleshed out and accessible. I think Strutta will be enjoyable for viewers and contributers alike. Many people already post videos on YouTube in the spirit of ego, and Strutta provides a context for the competition. It is only open by invite only right now, more invites will be coming in week. If you want to get on the invite list, sign up on Strutta's home page, or watch Techvibes for details.