Ellis and onCam – What’s The Deal?

If you listen to the show on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis, you’ve no doubt heard Ellis mentioning “onCam”. He’s gone as far as trying to work it into the show as a bit, but that didn’t seem to work. So what’s the deal? Why does he keep mentioning this app? No cloak and dagger shit here, the answer is simple. Money. He’s endorsing the product, lending his name to it, and mentioning it on-air in hopes more people begin to use it. Ellis was probably approached with an endorsement and / or investment deal. I seem to remember several months ago, him mentioning a meeting about an app. OnCam was probably that meeting. Endorsement deals are nothing new for anyone high profile enough to warrant one, it’s certainly nothing out of the ordinary. That’s it. No big mystery.

While you shouldn’t be surprised or butthurt by him choosing to endorse a product, you could be excused for finding it a little strange considering this endorsement isn’t for sunglasses, shoes, watches, clothes, or the normal brands you would expect for him to endorse. It’s for a specific technology, which admittedly isn’t Ellis’ strong suit. But hey, what’s wrong with him branching out of his comfort zone? Nothing. Matter of fact, some would even recommend branching out like that, you never know what’s out there until you at least dip your toes in the waters.

Unfortunately for onCam, nobody has ever heard of it and that likely will never change – and here’s why. The “app” market can be difficult to break into, there are far more failures than successes. Let’s take a bit of a closer look at onCam.

  • OnCam is a video calling app. it’s a free download (with in-app purchasing) just like the myriad of other free video calling apps out there on the market. Nothing sets it apart from the rest.
  • Major alternatives to onCam completely dwarf this app. Just between Google Hangouts and Skype alone, onCam cannot compete unless it is offering some kind of new, groundbreaking, never before seen, easier to use, better functioning service. Google and Microsoft offer a full suite of services already securely integrated into your various accounts, whereas onCam offers a watered down version of these free apps, but has no other services to integrate with.
  • App consumers are becoming more and more skeptical (as they should) with “free” apps. What makes them free? Simple. Advertising. They serve you ads. And in increasing cases, they also sell your personal information (collected via intrusive app permissions) to third party marketing firms. Which helps serve you even more targeted ads.
  • Believe it or not, onCam has been around for awhile, yet still has minuscule market share. Nobody is downloading and using it. Most venture capitalists have passed it by and it appears to be all but dead. Just take a look at the numbers of downloads in the Android or iTunes app stores. Or just search for “video calling app”, it doesn’t even show up in the top 100 results.

According to the DEMO Conference in fall of 2012:

onCam is the Twitter of Video Chat. onCam provides a platform to host live interactive events with up to 10,000,000 participants, record these events to social networks, mobile and TV channels, monetize these events, and access valuable analytics. TV studios, record labels, and celebrities all are onCam.

And that was from 2012, where they were seeking funding for this app. Clearly, it didn’t become the Twitter of video chat. And based on the above, it likely never will. Hell, now they have to compete with Twitter’s own Periscope as well. But hey, at least they can say it beat Freaky Scenes.