Jan 26

S3MediaVault Features

By Ravi Jayagopal | S3MediaVault

Made for Amazon S3 & CloudFront: It can securely deliver files via both Amazon S3 and CloudFront

CloudFront Integration: Blazing-fast media loading speeds for your members. Up to 45% faster loading speeds for videos and audio compared to using just S3 alone.

“True Streaming” Videos: Impossible-to-download, Secure Video Streaming for your most important videos that you may not want even your paying members to be able to download.

HLS Video Streaming support: “HTTP Live Streaming”, aka HLS, is a media streaming protocol for delivering visual and audio media online. It was created by Apple in 2009. In v11, S3MediaVault.com currently supports HLS Video Streaming.

Practically “Impossible” Download: Using Amazon’s MediaConvert API’s and HLS Streaming, your MP4 video is chopped up into short, 10 second chunks, and then delivered online in chunks to the viewer. And the MP4 video becomes a flowing stream with the extension M3U8. And because the video is never downloaded to the browser, but streamed in real-time, it is really hard to download it to your computer, and you can’t do it even using browser extensions like VideoDownloader, for eg. Only way to download the video is if you create a separate download link, because you want your members to download the video. Or they would have to use a screen-capture tool. So basically, it’s practically impossible to download, unless you want them to.
You can also use the Standard S3MediaVault protection of your videos (“progressive downloads”). You don’t have to necessarily use True Streaming.

Works on ALL devices: iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Mac and every Operating System ever created!

Mobile-Responsive Video & Audio player will look- and work great on devices of all shapes and sizes

HTML5 Video Player – No Flash Required
HTML5 Audio Player – No Flash Required

Video Playlist: Bundle any number of Amazon S3 files or public mp4 links to create a combined Video Playlist Player.

Audio Playlist: Bundle any number of Amazon S3 files or public mp3 links to create a combined Feed Player – aka Audio Playlist Player.

Built-in File Protection: Protect all of your files – like PDF, Doc, Zip, Exe, even Images!

Protects your Video, Audio and other Files from being illegally shared with unauthorized members.

S3 & CloudFront: Create the audio playlist using secure S3 or CloudFront URL’s, or any publicly stored mp3 url’s stored anywhere like on your own WordPress site, Dropbox, Amazon S3, etc.

Clickable Timestamps: Insert clickable timestamp links below your videos, with a description, so that the viewer can jump right to certain points in the video that interests them.

Customizable Player Controls: Remove player controls (not recommended) from the video for webinar replays or sales videos.

Advanced Media Analytics: Track Shortcode loads Per User, Track Video Views Per User, Remember Video Play Progress Per User

Time-Delay Buttons & HTML Content: You can now take a pre-created button or HTML content (like text, images, etc), set it to be initially hidden, and then make it appear below the video at a specific time (you can configure how many seconds into the video it should appear).

It’s a WordPress Plugin – installs in seconds with a 5-minute setup

1-Click CloudFront setup: A single button click sets up CloudFront integration end-to-end. Just add Amazon Security Keys (detailed videos show you how)

Transcriptions: S3MediaVault now integrates with Amazon Transcribe, which is one of the world’s leading Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) systems. It allows you to analyze audio files stored in Amazon S3 and have the service return a text file of the transcribed speech.

1-Click Transcriptions: In the Media Manager page, S3MV will show you the list of all files in your S3 bucket. Click a link and get a transcription in minutes.

S3 Media Manager: Manage all S3 files from within the plugin. Never have to log in to S3 (other than one time during setup to get the Security Keys).

Full S3 Browser: Browse and Choose S3 files to use with the shortcodes, with just one click.

Instant Playlists: Just select the “Playlist” option, leave file name blank, and all Videos or Audio in that bucket (or sub-folder) will automatically be turned into an Instant playlist. Choose “Audio Playlist”, leave file name field blank, then all (and only) audio files in the bucket (or sub-folder) will be used to create an Instant Audio Playlist. Select “Video Playlist”, leave file name field blank, then all (and only) the video files in that bucket (or sub-folder) will be used to create an Instant Video Playlist.

Jan 26

Just Amazon S3 vs. S3 & CloudFront

By Ravi Jayagopal | S3MediaVault

Just Amazon S3
Amazon S3 + CloudFront Together

Using S3 is having one centralized location where your files are stored, and regardless of where your website visitor is located, their web browser has to fetch the Audio, video, PDF or other media, only from that centralized location.

But adding CloudFront means, every file gets fetched from a datacenter closest to the visitor’s region.

So Amazon CloudFront is an additional layer that sits on top of your Amazon S3 bucket, and speeds up the delivery of the media in your S3 bucket. Think of it as adding “Turbo Boost” to your S3 files.

The image on the left above, shows that your Amazon S3 bucket is a single location stored in the cloud, and when visitors to your website from all over the world try to access a video, audio, pdf or other media stored in that S3 bucket, they are still served those files from that one central location. Which means, the farther they are geographically from your S3 bucket, the longer (even if it’s just milliseconds longer) it will take to serve them the file.

But CloudFront has various “edge locations” (those little clouds you see in the image on the right) spread globally. So when a US visitor tries to access, say, a video in your online course, if it’s the first time, then the “edge location” (cloud) closest to that person, will copy that file from your S3 bucket to the local cloud. And from that point onwards, every US person who tries to access that video, will be served that video from the local cloud, and not from the S3 bucket. And because Amazon has these edge locations all over the world, your visitors from all over the world will see that your videos, audio and PDF start loading super-fast, because it’s loading from a local cloud that’s closest to them.

Jan 24

Prevent Members From Downloading Content

By Ravi Jayagopal | S3MediaVault

We get asked this question a lot: “How can I prevent members from downloading my content?”

So basically, they want their members to be able to access Audio, Video and PDF only via their website, but not be able to download it.

6 reasons why you shouldn’t make things hard for your paying members.

Unless you have a highly specific and valid reason for doing so, I don’t recommend trying to prevent them from downloading what they’ve already paid for and force them to view everything online.

My recommendation is that instead of focusing on how to prevent your paying customers from downloading your information, you should focus on how many different ways you can offer them the same files for consumption. Go in the completely opposite direction.

The best membership sites I know offer the same content in multiple formats: video, audio of the same video, PDF transcripts of the video, PowerPoint slides used in the video, etc. 4-5 different ways in which their members can consume that very same content. As it is, it’s very hard to get people to come, buy and stay and keep paying you month after month. Don’t make it hard for the real paying members.

Don’t worry about the 1% who will steal your content and pass it to their 4 loser friends :-). Instead, focus on the 99% of your legitimate paying customers who don’t have the time, energy or intention to illegally pass on your content to others, because those 99% are honest people who just want to learn what you have to offer and improve their own lives and businesses.

Also, preventing the downloading of videos that they’ve actually paid for, means that they always have to be online in order to view the video. And that sucks for your members, to be honest, that they cannot view the video offline, when they’re traveling somewhere, on a plane, train or bus. Or as a passenger in a car. And if they cannot download your content, if it’s true streaming, it means they also cannot “buffer” it. So if they have a slow video connection, they will never be able to watch the video, and you’re probably going to get refund requests from your members in countries where they don’t have fast internet access. And on top of that, they are forced to use their limited (in most cases) data plan, and your members may not want to do that. So again, you may be forcing your members to only watch the videos from their computer.

Everyone is trying to make it easy for their paying members, so that they can get – and keep – more members. That’s what the world of video/audio is moving towards.

So while you may feel like streaming video is more secure, in reality, it only makes life hard for your 99% of paying members, all so that you can protect the videos from the 1% of people who will steal anyway. So you could be potentially upsetting 99% of your members for the sake of 1%. Not a good long-term strategy to get more members and keep more members.

I talked about this on a podcast episodes, as well as in a video, both of which have been embedded on this page. Give them a listen if you get a chance..

Jul 21

How to protect download links to a digital product?

By Ravi Jayagopal | S3MediaVault

If you have a WordPress website, then what I discuss below is arguably the best way to secure your files so that they're only accessible through your website, and prevent them from being passed around and used by unauthorized users, including search engines:

1) Store your files on Amazon S3.

2) Use a WordPress plugin for Amazon S3 like S3MediaVault.com to then securely embed expiring, secure links to those media files on your WordPress site.

3) If you wish to protect the page itself (where you have the download links, or video or audio player), then use a WordPress membership plugin like DigitalAccessPass.com.

4) This is not a true Digital Rights Management (DRM) solution - so once someone downloads your Video, Audio or PDF to their computer, you no longer have control over it.

But that's OK because 99% of the abuse happens because...
a) it's not locked down,
b) because people can easily pass around links,
c) it gets mistakenly indexed in search engines,
d) someone shared it illegally in a forum, Facebook group, etc.

5) Your actual paying users/members will rarely, if ever, illegally share stuff that they've paid for. Even if they do, it may be with a friend or a family member.

6) Those who pay for any content online, usually have a good mindset and ethics. They're not going out there looking to screw you (the creator) and pirate your content like crazy and make you lose your income.

7) Don't lock it down so hard that you make things difficult for 99% of your ethical paying customers, just so you can make things difficult for the unethical, unscrupulous 1% who will try to steal from you regardless - taking screencasts, screenshots, looking in black-hat forums and warez websites for passwords and crackz etc.

8) Focus on the paying members, and giving them maximum value for their money, rather than focus on the minority of losers who will never pay for anything, and will try their best to pirate stuff.

9) Also look for advanced features like HLS True Video Streaming (which S3MediaVault.com supports) to stream your videos and make them impossible to download.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any further questions.

Jan 05

S3 WordPress Plugin for Amazon

By Ravi Jayagopal | S3MediaVault

S3MediaVault (S3MV) is one of the leading WordPress plugins for securely embedding your files stored on Amazon S3.

It also integrates with Amazon CloudFront - which means blazing speeds for your downloads.

The basic idea is this: Your website is not great for storing large media - like Video and Audio. Probably not even PDF files, if they will be downloaded by a large number of people at the same time.

So you basically "outsource" your media files to Amazon S3.

You upload your media files - Video, Audio, PDF, Zip & Doc files - that you need to protect, and make available only to authorized members of your membership site or online course - to Amazon S3.

But if you simply take the public link that Amazon S3 gives you and embed them in the member's area on your website, then that public link can easily be shared with other unauthorized, non-paying members, maybe even pirated by posting on a Facebook group or online forum, and now people are getting access to your secure content without even paying for it (and sometimes, without even giving you an email.

You don't want that. So you store the files on Amazon S3. And you need a piece of software that can securely connect to S3 in real-time, generate a secure, expiring link that will only work from your website, and that too only for a limited amount of time (from the time it was generated).

And you want it all to be automated. And you want it to be easy to upload files to your Amazon S3 account. You want to easily manage all of your files on S3, and you want to be able to delete unused files.

And that's where S3MediaVault comes in. 

S3MediaVault is a WordPress plugin that can connect to your Amazon S3 account (once you give it the proper secret and public keys from your AWS account), generate secure links to your video, audio, pdf and other files, and embed them on any page of your choice, in the member's area of your website.

And then, it lets you add "Amazon CloudFront" integration on top of it, so that your media files become downloadable at blazing fast speeds.

And S3MediaVault can create beautiful Video players for your video files, Audio players for your Audio files, and downloadable links for your PDF files. So it can protect all of your files, and also make it easy to consume.

Please leave a question, comment or suggestion below in the comments section.

Also, don't forget to watch the videos on the home page at S3MediaVault.com.