NeonGrid Is Building IMDb for YouTube Stars

Founded by former IMDb executive John Gibbons, NeonGrid lets anyone take credit for their own work, helping content creators build their professional resume

A former IMDb executive is building an IMDb for online video stars and musicians. John Gibbons, who helped IMDb make money from products such as IMDb Pro, has founded NeonGrid, a crediting platform that lets anyone take credit for a video, web series or podcast they made.

The product launched Thursday at VidCon, the annual convention for the online video community, and has several high-profile partners in tow, including multi-channel networks Machinima and Big Frame and YouTube stars Olga Kay and Lauren Elizabeth.

Also read: Can Big Frame Build a Management Company for Internet Stars?

While nobody needs a crediting platform to learn about a true star — be it Tom Cruise or Ms. Kay — NeonGrid gives lesser-known creators a resume of credited content they can use to land new jobs and  locate potential collaborators.

“Credits are the universal language between musicians, film people, podcasters, audiobook people,” Gibbons told TheWrap. “Credits are currency that people in the various entertainment medium use to get more work and display what they’ve done and collaborate with people.”

Also read: YouTube Strong-arming Bands That Resist New Licensing Agreement

Gibbons founded the company with Greg Delson, a musician who struggled to find fellow musicians and collaborators for shows and music video shoots.

“Whether it be directors for my music videos or to find a drummer at the last minute for my gig, I constantly needed these creative people,” Delson told TheWrap. “I see stuff all the time, like other music videos that I loved, and I’d be like: who did that? Or I’d listen to a song and be like: oh my god, who’s the mixer for this? And you just can’t find it anywhere.”

Also read: ZEFR Partners With Fuisz Media to Offer IMDb From YouTube

The site has been in private beta for a few months and has more than 30,000 credits on it. It pulls information from YouTube, Vimeo and IMDb among other places.

Any person who creates an account can seamlessly credit for anything they have done, and their collaborators will police it, confirming or denying who participated in a given video or song. While the cinematographer for a Michael Bay movie gets credit on IMDb, the cinematographer for a second-tier web series might not.

Also read: NATAS, Daytime Emmys Pre-Show Executive Producer Refuse to Address Red Carpet Disaster

Other musicians, directors, actors, networks and advertisers can then use the platform to find potential collaborators or check on someone’s credentials.

“Creators are suppliers; they supply services,” Gibbons said. “And on the other side of that supplier are people who demand the services. [Multi-Channel Networks] demand the services by representing them. Ad agencies demand those services to be able to put out ads for their products. Other collaborators demand collaborations with people. So, in the case of BigFrame and Machinima, they are the people who want to see what these content creators have done.”

Also read: Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar’s Secret Start-Up: Vessel, Hulu Meets YouTube

Gibbons and Delson plan to launch a premium version of the product they can charge users for, but that is down the road. For now, they are a privately funded enterprise that will soon be in search of venture capital.