Soldiers in the United States military received a welcome surprise on Tuesday as the nation celebrated Veteran's Day. Delve Networks, based in Seattle, along with Houston-based Marion Montgomery, a marketing and design firm, teamed to launch TroopTube, a video-sharing Web site developed solely for members of the military and their families.
Both companies were tapped by Military OneSource -- a program developed by the Department of Defense -- to launch TroopTube, which provides video-sharing capabilities to four million members of the active military, National Guard and reserves, and their families. Delve was selected to provide the back-end video platform, while Marion Montgomery did the front-end design work.
"The site allows troops to upload and share video, rate videos, search videos, and comment on videos," said Alex Castro, CEO of Delve.
'Officially Sanctioned Alternative'
Access to TroopTube is a way for the military and their families to share videos after the Department of Defense blocked access to several popular Web sites, such as MySpace and YouTube. In February 2007, the DOD released memos that said the Pentagon would block access to such sites for security reasons and the amount of bandwidth required to access the sites. The Pentagon began blocking access just a few months later.
"TroopTube has been made available as the officially sanctioned alternative," Castro said. "Basically, anything you can do on YouTube, you can do on TroopTube." The Web site has been in beta testing for a few weeks, according to Castro, and will not cost the troops anything, since it is a service provided by the federal government.
The Web site, www.trooptube.tv, is designed for easy navigation so users can upload videos and share video messages with each other in a private or shared setting.
"TroopTube makes the world a little better for the armed forces and their families," Castro said. "We are able to do something to help those who have made such huge sacrifices."
Already, the Web site features videos thanking troops for their hard work and sacrifice.
Petraeus Says Thanks
One video features General Petraeus of the U.S. Army giving a shout-out to the military from an Army conference in Washington: "Hey troopers, this is General Petraeus saying thanks for your tremendous work in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world. You really are the new greatest generation -- hurrah -- Army strong."
Delve executives would not say what the company was paid for work on the Web site, but did say the company sells its platform as a hosted software solution and is paid a fee based on subscription usage.
Castro also added that TroopTube is a great example of how the Delve video-publishing platform can be used to create user-generated video-sharing sites.