Changes to video messaging

As we started listening to users and working out how we could make TokBox the simplest group video conferencing service on the web, we realized we’d have to make some difficult decisions.  One of those was to remove stand-alone video messaging functionality and instead to integrate video messaging more deeply in to our video conferencing experience.

Now video messaging has two roles.

The first is for video invitations to Video Meetings and Video Conferences. When you schedule either a Meeting or Conference, you will have the option to record a short video welcome message for participants.  Participants will see this message in the email invitation they receive for the Meeting or Conference.  They will also be able to watch it if they arrive at the Meeting or Conference early.

The second role is the equivalent to leaving a voice mail.  When you call someone and they do not answer you can leave them a short video message. They will receive an email with the video message, or they can watch it by looking in “Messages” on TokBox.  All video messages you receive are stored for 60 days, with an option to store them for a further 60 days when they are close to expiration.  You should know however that you will only be able to watch video messages you have received, not those you send after today.

If you’re concerned about what will happen to video messages that you have sent or received in the past, don’t worry.  Video messages you have sent before today will remain in your Messages for the forseeable future.  Video messages received before today will be kept for 60 days as above, with the option to save for another 60 days.

We realize that many of you have enjoyed sending video messages in the past, but hope that you can appreciate that they do not play a role in our larger mission of being the simplest group video conferencing on the web and we hope that you will continue to enjoy real-time video conferencing.

Micky

70 thoughts on “Changes to video messaging

  1. This is a real disappointment. You might have not known this, but Tokbox is (now was) hot among the deaf community because it made it so easy to send video e-mail using our natural language, American Sign Language. The sign-up process was easy. Recording messages was easy. E-mailing them to friends was easy (and it got them to sign up for Tokbox, as well). I’d get Tokbox e-mails weekly from other ASL users.

    There are similar services out there but they made it hard for all the reasons that Tokbox was easy.

    Now there’s no point in deaf people using Tokbox, since we’re already pretty conversant in the art of video chatting (iChat, Skype, standalone videophones, FaceTime, etc). The missing piece was video e-mail, and Tokbox fit that perfectly.

    It’s good that you’re focused on video conferencing, but keeping video e-mail as a niche feature would also have been nice. Do you have any recommendations on where I can go now for the same functionality?

  2. yes, this difficult decision made was a rather silly one as the video messaging was the only thing useful as i am in an American Sign Language program at George Brown College and this site was outstanding for sending video assignments and recieving feedback from our teachers, myself along with my fellow classmates do not feel this change should be necessary to make tokbox “better” as you so adequately put in your statement above, taking it away takes all of us away from using this site, and that shouldnt be what you want.
    Thank you for your time.

  3. Hey. Uhm. I would like to suggest that you bring the video messages back, because its fun for us Tokbox users to send video messages to our friends. Id rather you put it back in the Tokbox website.

  4. My friend and I only found time to catch up with each other by video messaging. I am disappointed that we cannot do that any further. I truly enjoyed sending video messages and hope one day it will be available.

  5. This is kind of a bummer. I used the video message quite often when my friend was too sick to chat (she lives with a chronic disease and some days are worse than others). I’m glad I can still leave a “voicemail” for her, but that means calling her when I know she doesn’t want to be disturbed. The option to simply send a video message on its own was a good one, and I hope you consider bringing it back.

  6. Micky

    The 7/22 “Changes to Video Messaging” state that “messages you have sent before today will remain in your Messages for the forseeable future”. However, they already show an expiration date in the “Sent Messages Archive”.

    And secondly, today’s changes say that “you will only be able to watch video messages you have received, not those you send after today”. Would you clarify if that means we won’t be able to watch previously sent messages (after today) – or only those we send after today ??

    Both statements are confusing. If you can’t watch the previously sent ones “after today”, or if they’re going to expire (and NOT remain for the forseeable future) …. then not sure of what use they are. Would like to request that they remain accessible indefinitely (NOT EXPIRE) …. as well as being viewable.

    Also noticed today – that FORWARDING apparently has been removed …. is that correct, or is it just hiding somewhere ? This is a great feature … would hope that it could be retained.

    Nothing mentioned about just how “short” the video messages will be …. the 10 minutes max is reduced to what ?

    Is there no way to allow users to save their messages to their own computers – w/o their just expiring ?

    Would think Tokbox will lose a big percentage of their “users” after today …. or who might also be referred to by Tokbox as “Free Loaders” ?

    Thanks, Charles

  7. I’m sorry.. but the only reason I used Tokbox was to leave people video messages.. That was honestly what separated you from the rest.. I find that there’s no point in using this means of communication without this feature, and that’s just my personal opinion. I know you guys have to do what you gotta do.. but I’m so incredibly disappointed.

  8. I’m disappointed to hear that video messaging is no longer available. This was such a unique feature and I had told many people about it. I had major plans to use this feature and now will have to look to another site for my business.

  9. Why did you removed video message? Video message gone already. We like and love video message easy private than seesmic, Bec people steal our private in seesmic and bec of people nosy that why. Please get video message back on and free video chat no pay. Pls email me thank you

  10. I personally did not see anything wrong with the TOKBOX program you had in place. It seems that someone is always trying to change things. I can understand adding things but taking things away really SUCKS. Is the greeting function gone??? I loved leaving messages for my twin brother in Texas ( I live in Illinois ) and we have used the program for about a year and really did love it the way it was. My younger sister was new to TOKBOX and now you change it after she’s been on here for about a week!!!! I talked her and her 4 daughters to come to this site instead of DELL Video chat site. Take it back to the way it was and add features if you want to. I saw something about pricing!!!!! Why does it always have to be about MONEY. My brother and I have been using web cams for over ten years now and have use alot of different programs in that time ( camera cafe, eyeball chat etc…) but we thought that TOKBOX was the best we have used. Sorry you felt you had to go backwards. I don’t care for your changes!!!! Guess I’ll have to look for another web cam site
    I say these things Respectfully
    Alan Ross

    • Alan

      Thanks for your note. Just so you know, there is still a free program that would be great for you to video chat with your brother, sister and nieces. It is the video chat program. If you try and call them and they do not answer, you can leave them a video message. I would encourage you to try the free Video Chat product as I think it will meet all your needs.

      Thanks
      Micky

    • Joe

      As I said, we did this to focus our energy and resource on live group video conferencing. If you’re looking for a simple video messaging solution, you could try Eyejot. (www.eyejot.com)

      Thanks
      Micky

  11. Hi, I’m really disappointed you removed the video messaging feature. I really can’t understand why you would do this?

    Well, it was great while is lasted. Thanks for that. I’ll be searching for another service now.

    Sincerely,
    Joe

  12. This sucks. I was just about to start pushing tokbox when you went and ruined it.

    Stupid decision if you ask me – but then, you didn’t.

    • Mark – sorry about that. We did let our active users of vmail know a few weeks ago and even held a large TokBox call with them to chat about it. I am sorry that you weren’t part of that.

      Thanks
      Micky

  13. I am a bit upset that you took out the video messages because I feel like that’s what made tokbox unique from other video conferencing programs like Skype or other Instant Messaging video chats. I think that was the best function of Tokbox, and now that it’s gone, it seems like I might as well use Skype now

    • Nat

      The really different thing about TokBox is that you can have video calls with up to 200 people. This is not something you can do with Skype. You can try out our Video Meeting or Video Conference products (free 30 day trial) if you want to experience what its like to have a big video call.

      Thanks
      Micky

      • so what if you can have a conference with that many people? THERES NO POINT! at 5 im struggling to understand anything. GIVE BACK VIDEO!

  14. Yeah I agree with the others. It was really simple to leave voice messages for loved ones escpecially the ones living in other time zones (ie. Texas to London) We can’t always be online at the same time. I went to send my girlfriend a happy birthday voice message today and it won’t seem to let me since obviously she is asleep since it is 4 AM there and 10 AM here. I was very annoyed at that and also now I can’t let her know a good time to get online. I know of at least 10 friends that used tokbox and I was getting my family used to using it to. We all loved your program. We chose not to go with skype because it was a complicated big company. Obviously from your statements above that’s the only type of people you want using tokbox now (big company conference calls). Anyway I hope you find a way for us to use the video messaging better because otherwise I (and probably the other people above) are going to stop using tokbox. Plus we are the only ones nice enough to actually put in a “two week notice” most people just get pissed off and leave. Anyway I hope to use your program in the future but not if the video messaging feature is shot.

    Thanks, Ryan

  15. End to video messaging?
    Bad move. You know exactly how many video messages we sent per day. You could have tagged on a 30 second commercial, or applied box ads around the message box. You had a captive audience for ads, and you blew it. This is your answer to a failing economy? There are millions of us who are turning off our cablevision, and obtaining our entertainment through DSL. We are still a marketable segment. Your management plan is wrong.

  16. Very disappointed that the video messaging has stopped, I used this website because it was one that I actually could use to stay in contact with my husband overseas. Other programs just wouldnt allow me to leave a video message for him to see once he had time. i really hope you guys find a way to put it back on the site, otherwise tokbox is no different from any other site

  17. Hello,
    Recent Tokbox changed a lot. I am very disappointment. I am deaf and Computer technician. I use American Sign Language. I am long time tokbox user. I always use alot Video message to my clients. They asked my help about their computer issue. This video message is very useful tool for deaf people. I got many deaf people complain about new change. New change lead to lot confusion. They grew their frustrating about Video message change. There no video message forwarding, reply to video message.
    They want simple video message and add back forwarding and reply feature. If new tokbox change remain same. Tokbox will losing many deaf tokbox user. Do you know why deaf user prefer tokbox? Only tokbox video message longer than 60 sec or 5 min. Tokbox has 10 minute length . Please help deaf tokbox user. Please listen deaf tokbox user express their feeling. Thank you for understanding.

  18. I’m very sad that you guys took videomail away. I liked it because when my friends were offline i could leave them a message and we would message back and forth. Thats one of the only reasons i use tokbox. Please consider bringing it back.
    -Georgia

    • Georgia

      Remember that if you call someone and they don’t answer you can still leave them a video message just like before. It can also be 10mins long.

      I hope that helps
      Micky

      • But I can’t just compose an original video message and e-mail it to anybody (even non-Tokbox users)?

  19. I am a deaf person and communicate with American Sign Language which is my form of language to speak to other deaf people. I am very disappointed that you had to make the changes to Tokbox and eliminated the Tokbox emails. What is the real reason for the change and is it because of us all deaf people are using it and you wanted to cut off their communication??

    • Billie

      That is definitely not the case. Video mail users were all kinds of people – business owners, teenagers, grandparents, marketers and the deaf. This truly is a case of wanting to focus our resources and energies on the larger part of our business, live video conferencing (video mail was used by less than 1% of our user base).

  20. I signed up for Tokbox after reading an article about the service in Inc. magazine. I liked the idea of using the video messages for marketing and promos to help my business brand stand out. Unfortunately, that feature has been removed from the service, which is somewhat of a disappointment. But, being an entrepreneur, I completely understand the need to find ways to maximize profits by offering billable services. I wish the Tokbox team much success in your endeavors.

  21. Please put back the v-mail feature. I think you have read the discontent from many users who are disappointed by this change. You guys rocked by having something that nobody in the web-video conference industry had but now it has been removed.

    Please consider this

  22. I also like one of the many on this thread who is sadden and disappointed by the new updates.

    Is there even a slight chance that Tokbox can re-enable its former video messaging capabilities? I think it is great that you are trying to focus on the live group video conference, but why eliminate something that had been working so well? Couldn’t you have just launched the live group video conference as an addition and improvement to tokbox without taking away the simple-to-use video messaging feature?

  23. The feature of being able to leave a video message without setting up a chat date was what set Tokbox apart from other web programs.

    I am living overseas from my family and friends, and because of the time difference, this was the only way I could see my friends and family without having to coincide ridiculously timed meetings with extremely different time zones.

    I hope that Tokbox will re-consider adding this feature back and making it work with their vision of ‘the simplest group video conferencing on the web’.

    -Mara

    • Mara

      If you subscribe to our Video Meeting product you can still use video message to schedule a “chat date”. Simply subscribe ($12.99/month) and when you set up your call you can record a video message which is then emailed out to everyone who you want to attend.

      I hope that helps
      Micky

  24. WOW so NOT cool.
    i am a song writer and was using v-mail to record quick ideas and collaborate with other song writers.
    not sure what your big picture is but i think you need a new artist cause the new picture sucks!!!
    thank god for the iphone!

  25. Such a shame!

    I am a university foreign language instructor and I used Tok Box for office hours (video conference function) AND for oral assignments (video messaging function). These are two very distinct functions; both are useful but for different reasons. Tok Box seems to have taken and either/or approach–either conferencing or messaging but not both. By eliminating video messaging, Tok Box is no longer what I loved–a site that gave me multiple ways to interact with my students. I will need to look for an alternative. ;-(

  26. i understand you are doing whats best for the your users, but some of us really enjoyed the video messager. i am deployed in africa and it aloud me and my son to talk and we well miss that, in truth we just found it right before you terminated it. anyways good lick with your web site.

    SGT Balser, Steven M

  27. Please, please bring back video messaging. It had played such a crucial role in our research community and was a main reason we use tokbox. It was the way I introduced tok box to friends. Please reconsider, there are plenty of other video conferencing programs out there but none that I know of where you can leave video messages! And it was clearly benefitting so many people.

  28. aw man!

    i LOVED the video message feature. so simple and so genius. i just discovered tokbox a few weeks ago but communicated with my man who was overseas the past couple weeks. it was hard to schedule chat time with him and the video messages worked wonderfully. i kept telling people: tokbox will revolutionize your life!

    now i am not sure what to say…

    i dont really understand why the new stuff (video conferencing) can’t co-exist in harmony with the old stuff (video messages) …. so sad. is there any hope this amazing feature will be added back on?

    —kippy

    • Kippy

      Thank you for your note. We have no plans to add back video messaging. We really are focusing on our core product. Remember to check out Eyejot. They have a video messaging product.

      Micky

  29. I agree, honestly the only reason why I was using tokbox was to email friends and family video messages, now that it isn’t an option anymore I have to find a different site that does it. I hope you guys reconsider bring that feature back, for it was the best one.

  30. I just got back onto the site, only to be shocked at the tremendous changes brought on. I liked it SO MUCH more a year ago when I first found the site. This site was so much more different than others I’ve seen, and now it’s just not as good as it once was. Hopefully one day soon you’ll add v-mail again and by that time I know all the users you’ve lost through this process you’ll gain back overnight. Guaranteed.

  31. The video messaging was a fantastic feature. I have told many people about it. The value lies in the fact that sending someone an email doesn’t convey the message nearly as well as it can be done via a video message. It also takes a fraction of the time. I was a very big fan of the video messaging feature and request that you bring it back. If not, is there another service out there that does something similar? Thanks for your help.

      • I’d be leery of a recommendation from Tokbox. They may end up doing the same thing as soon as you get used to utilizing the services.

      • too bad the email said it was, “just $99.95 a year.”
        sorry, not many people want to pay that much for something they used to get for free.

  32. I agree with everyone else, this was a terrible decision. Video messages were one of the primary uses for tokbox I had. I doubt if I will use it for anything much anymore. That was really the only advantage you had over skype.

  33. PostofWeb had a great idea about streaming advertising through the video message to bring in revenue for your site. I don’t know whats so great about being able to talk to 200 people at one time. Seems like a lot circus noise to me. In the day in age where people will quickly send out a typed lol it was nice to see a reckonizable friendly face that was meant for a specific person. Instead of a bunch of facebook wall junk. I believe its that personal capability that can set you apart from others. Not the ability to cram a bunch of people into a chat room theres enough of that. I think you had something for the business community and everyday people and there are more of us than there are of them. Blackberries use to be for business people but then when they made smartphones fo everyday folks the flood of users expanded tremendously . At some point I hope things change.

  34. Horrible! Easily said. Just Horrible!

    You longer have an embed feature on calls received. And video messaging is all messed up.

    Tokbox, you just made 10 steps back, and none forward. 😦

    Have always loved this service. Now it is caveman technology.

    I understand you have to make money. You should have left tokbox the way it was and give your new conferencing tools platform a whole new name.

    I really hate to say this, but goodbye to a great (used to be) system.

    It is amazing you did not have people knocking your door down to keep this great and free.

    Thumbs down!!! 😦

  35. I just got my mom to sign up to this site so I can send her see her and send her messages while I’m away at college cause we can’t afford to have me sent home for every holiday (only summer). I was really looking forward to sending her messages this way but now it just seems like there’s no point really. It took a while for me to get her used to this site and now that the only reason I joined is gone I’m somewhat disappointed.

    It looks like you have also lost many of your members because of this. While I understand trying to make a profit with this site I believe it could have been done some other way like simple advertising, there is more than enough room on the site for that. When I first joined I was thinking this site could be the next facebook but now that your only aiming at what seems like businesses it doesn’t look like it anymore.

    I’ll be waiting to see if any further changes are made that will make it worth staying on this site. In the case that no changes are made how can I delete my account on this site? I don’t want to be receiving e-mails that I’m not interested in.

    Also, it is impressive that you can have a conversation with up to 200 people but what point is there with the amount of confusion that call would create? With that many people attempting to voice ideas at the same time and with your delayed videos and stalling that I have experienced it doesn’t seem as though any progress would be made in that conference call.

    I am just very disappointed in this change and as I think about it more I just see more errors in this plan.

    • Stephanie

      I am sorry you are so disappointed. With regards to your question about 200 people in a video call. There are actually only ever 20 people on-screen at once, all the other participants are in the “audience”, watching and listening. They can submit video questions or be brought on screen if they need to. This makes sure that it is not a chaotic, but a really engaging experience.

      Micky

  36. To echo my fellow users, the video messaging capability was your only competitive advantage. Is it that the public (your users) are too stupid to recognize the brilliance of your “innovation?” Or is this another instance where the acronym, K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid), is sound advice?

    As many other users have expressed, the only reason we, and the recipients of our messages, joined tokbox was for this function. All the video conferencing stuff is cool but fulfilled by other entities. Tokbox is a video messaging sight. Without that, what really is it? Keep it simple Mickey! At least, tell them to. Whoever “they” are.

    My girl is in London right now in class, I lost a family member tonight and naturally, especially tonight, she is one my mind. I just want let her know im thinking of her in a way that is unique. My unique source as down graded itself to run of the mill. We can video chat anytime, on an array of platforms. (as we have been doing for like the last 8 years) The cool thing about this is that we don’t always have time to sit and vid chat. Sometimes, and perhaps more often than the former, we want to just shoot out a message that is easily more fun than a text or email or even phone call, and share what just happened, or that we are thinking of a friend or lover, or that we love our mom and dad. Offer us that “simple” pleasure once more. This is a case where you have over-thought.

    Please don’t take offense, you guys are the one who have spoiled us. Just please bring it back. You unique visitor rates will, again, erupt. I guarantee it!

    We promise to send more video messages than ever.

    Thank you in advance. As your listening ear has spark this change, i trust it will in turn spark the re-emergence of video messaging!

    That is all! =)

  37. i just logged in today to send a video message and learned i can’t anymore. Please bring back video messages – even if it’s just a basic functionality without the templates. i agree with other posts, i use skype as my main video chat application.

  38. It’s seems your business model is now focused mainly on video conferencing. Many companies when they make an unpopular change will have a backlash of complaints. The corporate mindset usually will be the complaints will become fewer and fewer in due time.

    It seems people are very passionate about the video email service that is no longer provided. You’ve taken it away and now you risk losing people who had been using ToxBox. You should have found a way to monetize that feature.

    I know that when I told my friends and family about ToxBox the main feature that seperated ToxBox from the others was the video email feature.

    I know my comments will not change anything within the ToxBox corporate mindset. I will now have to move on to another company that will provide a video email service.

    Remember, Buisness 101: Give the customers what they want.

    ToxBox, I want to commend you for the services that you had provided for me in the past. But, we are now at a crossroad and it seems we are no longer on the same path.

    I wish well on your future endeavors. But, you’re FIRED!!!

  39. Disappointed as well.

    Much of my child’s first 2 years of life is chronicled on Tok Box messages to family out of the country. Is there a way to upload/save them into a program on my computer so that this history isn’t lost forever?

    • I agree Michelle. My son’s summers in California have also been chronicled via Tokbox. Have you received a response yet?

      • Michelle, Antoynica

        Any video messages that were sent/received prior to July 22nd will be stored on TokBox until such time as we can offer an alternative such as downloading the content.

        Many thanks
        Micky

  40. I’m saddened and disappointed about this change.
    I have several videos that are dear to be saved as TokBox video messages. As Michelle was saying above, please provide a way for us to save these videos onto our computers so that we don’t have to lose those videos! That would be much appreciated.

  41. This is a real disappointment. My son’s language immersion school has been using this feature for over a year to assist my child and us(parents) in supporting his academic success. I, also infused this technology into my classroom instruction. Unfortunately, as I prepare for this upcoming school year I will be looking into other video chat/messaging providers such as OOVOO to meet my needs.

  42. I CANT BELIEVE VIDEO MESSAGING IS GONE. GAAAAAAAAAAH. I can’t send video emails to my friends across seas 😦 this is really sad. sigh.

  43. Wow. that was one of the things me and my friends did. its not the SAME! you ca’t type, we might of put an iside joke or a youtube link. added in something that they forgot to say in the video, OR SOMETHING! it’s borrrinngg! me and my friends would go back and look at our ‘Sent’ videos and laugh at how long ago or how funny it was. now we CANT REALLY DO THAT WITH THESE NEW VIDEOS! skype here i come…. maybe skype won’t make me mad!

  44. The only reason i used tokbox over skype was because of the stand alone video message. The removal of the stand alone video message feature does not make the site better, just another boring video chat website. The video message feature allowed me and my friends to keep in touch in a much better way than reading a blog or email. Yes, we can still video chat, but that’s difficult when you’re living in different time zones. With the video message feature we could still talk to each other. Honestly, this site is useless to me now.

  45. Your product TOTALLY SUCKS NOW!!!!! I tried to video call my sister and waited and waited and waited and waited over 5 minutes before I turned it off with NO chance of leaving a message. I never did see leave a message option come up. I have had it with you and I plan on starting a page on facebook to BOYCOTT TOKBOX because it NOW SUCKS page and see how many people respond. You don’t seem to care about all of your subscribers, only the one that are willing to PAY you for the service. You need to remove all of your internet headers that imply you are a free video messaging service because you are TOTALLY worthless now. All of the feedback (comments) I have read pertaining to your removal of the video message part of your program have been NEGATIVE comments and you just try to refer them to another service, eyejot or whatever it is. I looked at it and at first impression IT SUCKED TOO!!! I hope to see you in the failure department of BEST BUY soon. Your attitude has been flippant to you subscribers that really enjoyed your service and I now hope beyond all hope that your service is a total failure. I tried being nice on my first response to this but after reading all of the comments and your attitude I firmly believe you can STICK IT UP YOURS
    Sincerly and Respectfully
    Alan Ross

  46. Instead of getting frustrated at tokbox’s corporate decisions, just migrate to another service. That’s what I did.

    I suggest http://mailvu.com

    It does everything that tokbox used to do with video messaging except it does it even better!

    Check it out.

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