Business – Media in the Deaf community

October 4, 2010

It’s been interesting to see the growth of ‘deaf’ media over the years.  The U.S. Deaf community has seen the rapid rise of deaf ‘vlogs’ which basically is a self-directed video, similar to a blog, using PC/Mac webcam video technology to communicate a topic or issue in ASL.  This has turned into a free-for-all forum with deaf vloggers trying to ‘scream’ over each other with controversial topics, making outlandish statements or publicly debating other deaf individuals over their statements made on earlier vlogs.

Deafvideo TV image on Internet website

Page view of Deafvideo TV

The undisputed champion of this realm is a website called Deafvideo.tv which is the highest trafficked website in the deaf community in terms of overall participation by commentators and viewers.  It also has a very loyal following with some vloggers commenting, on video, dozens of times a day, thus scoring high in follower intensity and leaving others wondering where people get all this time to commentate all day long.  What’s most intriguing is the inability of these vloggers to convert this time and energy into creating an income.  Like in gambling, they always say, “The House Always Wins”.  In this case, the House is DeafVideo.tv, which is run by TaylerInfomedia.

Commercial advertising is what sustains most websites that cater to a relatively small market niche such as the U.S. Deaf community, which numbers anywhere from 1/2 million to 2 million deaf and hard-of-hearing people who rely on ASL as a primary means of communication.  In the past, DeafVideo.tv had a video relay sponsor, the defunct Viable Inc that was ensnared by an FBI investigation and literally run aground by the ensuing ruckus, that saw the indictment of 26 deaf individuals across the country, which still is rippling across the landscape.

Today, there is no visible sponsorship of DeafVideo.tv, however as one of the companies run by deaf entrepreneur Taylor Mayer, who runs TaylerInfomedia, I have no doubt his visibility from this fanatical following and well-earned reputation for web design

innovation in the deaf community niche has translated into a career that is satisfying and rewarding.  Some other good work that he has done includes DeafRead.com, a blog aggregator and Fomdi.com, a nationwide open/closed caption movie theater listing on the Internet.  It’s good to see another RIT alum doing well!

The next “Business – Media in the Deaf Community” story will be about Seth Gerliss at iDeafNews and his role as an upstart news provider for the deaf community….

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