Vimeo Is Not For Commercial Use

Despite the number of high profile blogs that seem to be allowed to bend the Vimeo terms of service, Vimeo make it reasonably clear multiple times on their website that they are not for commercial use.

Their terms of service mentions it

The signup page mentions it clearly… below the fold it is however very easy to miss.

Which Vimeo is right for you

You could also take a look at their community guidelines


It is just as clear within their FAQ


The only place it isn’t 100% is their page for Vimeo Plus – you would expect if you were paying for the service you would be able to use it commercially.


I like Vimeo, the encoding is high quality and they use a top tier CDN (Bitgravity) so even here in Poland the video is relatively smooth even on a low end ADSL connection.
They also have some cool domain locking features which would make it perfect for the members area of a commercial membership site.

There isn’t any lapse in communication of their commercial terms as can be seen by this recent forum thread.

Either a lot of very high profile sites have somehow been overlooked by Vimeo, or they have some kind of alternative arrangement – I am sure they love the Google juice, but isn’t that then payment in kind for links?
However it is also quite possible they don’t realise that they are breaking the Vimeo terms of service. I have had to point it out multiple times in the last 2 weeks to friends, so I am sure this is a common occurrence.

Ramifications? I know Master New Media had their account deleted and they could easily turn around and send you a huge bandwidth bill or threaten legal action. Vimeo’s parnet company however is IAC… why haven’t they offered a commercial option yet?

I have some posts lined up covering lots of alternatives with various advantages.

What are your favorite video hosts, CDNs and FLV Players?

Liked this post? Follow this blog to get more. Follow


  1. Stock Market says

    Well, i looked that Vimeo Is Not For Commercial Use. it’s for personal use only. this matter to thinking about why not use for Commercial use? when it will that would be Great! :)

  2. says

    thats a very nice website! i never actually heard of vimeo before, the way it is designed it looks very good for the personal use anyway.

  3. says

    Attitudes I’ve encountered with things like this:

    1) Don’t know: some people don’t check terms of service to see whether commercial use is allowed.

    2) Rationalization: someone who recommended I use Vimeo for a commercial project rationalized that as long as the video isn’t being sold, it’s not commercial use. The videos were to be used on the sales page demonstrating use of the product. Sounds like commercial use to me. (I used Amazon S3 instead).

    3) Don’t care: so what if it’s against the terms of service — until they catch you and decide to delete your account, you’ve got free video hosting.

    • says

      The forum post someone was told that use in a member site was specifically commercial

      I have seen startups with Vimeo being used on their home page, top tier tech blogs using them as default video players, and multiple SEO blogs using them – even an SEO tutorial if you are an SEO company could be looked on as commercial, no matter how much value there is in the content – it is just “moving the free line” but still a sales/marketing function.

      S3 is a viable option though I have a few options that work out cheaper and maybe better delivery.

  4. Highest CD Rates says

    I believe and agree to your point. But people still are using Vimeo for commercial use. How could you stop doing that, or concerned authorities are doing something in this regard?

    • says

      They could just turn around and charge you $10/GB backdated

      They probably won’t, they just deleted all Robin’s videos – would really suck if those videos were something you had worked to syndicate extensively, built links to etc.

  5. Brochure Printing says

    What if the user made his own video for commercial purposes using a free account? Is it still considered an infringement of guidelines?
    Thanks for sharing this helpful info.

    • says

      No commercial use is permitted whatsoever, free or paid account.

      Please also note most of your previous comments were deleted because Disqus didn’t give me a choice just to delete links.

      Now Disqus is removed I have to go through and moderate comments again, and I am most likely to delete all the links again, as a link to a commercial site which doesn’t mention someone called Louise anywhere is really against the spitit of my comments policy.

  6. conveyor pizza oven says

    I Use Vimeo because it is one of the best tools and highest quality video made in that.

  7. barbrine says

    no commercial use ? If we want to add some commercial content in one video, they will delete it ?
    But, how can i post an commercial video ?

  8. progiftstore says

    well, I think I have got used to using You Tube. But if there is more convenient website, maybe I will try…

  9. says

    I’ve never used Vimeo before although I’ve been on the website. Didn’t spot the notice about commercial videos the first time round, so I can see why other users don’t know about the policy. That probably isn’t a good enough excuse against getting your videos deleted or being fined though..

    I personally use my own player and then use that to embed flash videos onto my pages. I’ve actually only just started using flash and making online videos, but right away it seems better than Youtube (or, by the looks of it, Vimeo). Although I would assume not everyone has the webspace to host their own videos.

  10. says

    Interesting discussion.

    * Signing up for anything without reading the terms is highly ignorant if not stupid. Vimeo is clearer than most vendors about what they mean with the term commercial use.

    * The term “commercial” itself is highly debated as we know. Sorry to say it, but AdSense or any form of paid advertising makes a site commercial, in the strictest form of interpretation. There are several shades of gray of course up to “I just can’t sell it, but otherwise it’s fine.” In that case the vendor must point out explicitly what is okay.

    I’d say: If you are not an artist promoting yourself, Vimeo is not for you. Fully agree with Andy here.

    * As far as Youtube goes:At first you shocked me, Andy. I read the terms again, “It’s okay to promote your business … but of course the content must not be in a paid membership site, etc.” Youtube/Google might not be cool with some affiliates though as they promote a third party business.

    * Viddler is kind of pricey but could be an alternative for businesses.

    * My favorite is Amazon S3. Not easy to handle for non-coders, but there are front end services like out there.

    * I really like the JW player. But it’s not free for businesses/sites with advertising.
    * Heard a lot about the FlowPlayer (but never tried it; have to check out the license.)

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts. Cheaper the Amazon S3? I am very curious. And at some point I’d love to hear your thoughts on video distribution as SEO tactic.

    P.S.: I had videos deleted or rejected for various reasons on various platforms but never an account closed. It’s not only about getting your videos out there (and possibly hosted for free). Video sites want to build their reputation for a certain type of content.
    You get what you pay for.

    • says

      Robert Plank had a large number of educational, but “talking head” and “whiteboard” videos wiped out from YouTube from a 2 year old account, and he doesn’t even do affiliate promotions – or at least very rarely and not with videos.

      Lots coming on Video and SEO

  11. says

    Since Vimeo owns the site they should definitely be able to post their own terms for service. I’m sure they want to keep from being bombarded with video “spam”. As for those who want to commercialize their videos, there are numerous other options out there.

    Has anyone else here tried I did create a page on their site for some of my home business video tutorials for one of my sites.

    • says

      It is actually quite hard to find sites that have all Vimeo have to offer, especially if you are running a private members site and want to have videos kept private.

  12. says

    Vimeo is an awesome site and I think they should stick to what they do. They have a brand image in that way.

    But what if you do have videos that you want to host somewhere that are either commercial or maybe borderline commercial – as in they don’t sell a product or service, but they are promoting a company just by the fact that they are educating people with how to articles, etc. Are their sites you’d recommend? YouTube?

    • says

      I quite agree, though the use I would primarily want Vimeo for would mean the content never appears on their site – I would just want their excellent video conversion and the ability to use a branded palyer on my site, virally and also behind locked doors.
      You don’t need a video community to drive thousands of views with affiliates.

      I will be writing about other options

  13. Gordon says

    Hm, I don’t really see the problem with commercial videos, especially if the owner has granted consent for them to be spread. In this day and age it’s pretty much impossible to hold sacred and private commercial use anyway – bittorrent anyone? Also, what about companies such as who are relying on viral marketing to spread their message? These are commercial as such. And how about videos which don’t necessarily advertise, but instead have a short and amusing skit?

    Questions, questions….

  14. says

    I agree on your statement with regards to: “In this day and age it’s pretty much impossible to hold sacred and private commercial use anyway”. IMO, i believe they just don’t want their site to be over populated by “commercial videos” instead, they rather want to make it an all exclusive “personal home videos” for their community users.

  15. says

    I think what their main concern is, for members to upload and generate interesting content.

    So many people are turned off from ads and marketing that it simply makes a person sick.

    But if you truly love what you do and what you do is something interesting then just promoting what you are doing through what you love will be acceptable.

    For instance, I love nature photography and I have a commercial website that sells prints and digital downloads, etc.

    However, I also give all of my pictures away for free and I publish free videos of our adventures in the mountains and forests.

    If I were to upload a video that simply promoted my commercial site (which would be selfish and self centered) then I can understand why they would deny my video.

    However, if I can upload something that will be somewhat entertaining, respecting the priviledge they have given me, then they will ikely publish it and just by it being published the content will attract visitors to my site and subsequent sales will eventually take place.

    It seems that we all get too self centered at times and forget that every aspect of life is a give and take relationship.

    Typically, the more that you give the more you will receive in return without expectations, simply believeing that by doing what is right and giving from the heart you will in the end receive reward.

    • says

      You really need to read the comments in the forum post I linked to – there really is no official exception to their commercial use clauses, you should pay for a real CDN

      I am all for giving more than you receive & the primary use I would have for their service I wouldn’t even want the videos available to their community, just mine in private.

  16. Brent2 says

    It might be dangerous to try the $10/gig bandwidth charge thing. Essentially, there’s a point to where you can say “You’ve left the following dozen high profile, high bandwidth use, sites online. This is implicitly allowing your ToS to be violated.”

    At the point where a bill for 50,000 shows up in a mailbox, don’t be surprised if a lawyer gets involved and drops the above. They may then have to back off, shut off and delete those accounts or just plain make any deals they have with them public.

    Safer, really, to just hit the delete button. Safer for customers, obviously, to just use something like YouTube or your own hosting service.

    • says

      Getty run around charging people all the time for use of their images – it is quite possible there are other deals in place, but some people have been shut down over commercial use – it is a liability.
      YouTube shut down users all the time as well.