June 3, 2007 / 9:33 PM / 11 years ago

Life's instructions on redesigned VideoJug.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If you’ve ever wondered how to give a man-hug, a newly relaunched online video site, VideoJug, is here to help.

VideoJug makes its debut in the U.S. on Sunday, aiming to provide the meaning on everything one encounters in life, if not the meaning of life itself.

More than 15,000 video clips explaining everything from how to tie a Windsor knot to how to cope with chemotherapy accompany the relaunch of the site. An additional 100,000 originally produced clips are promised over the summer.

The site endeavors to answer the question: “How do we do life?” Peter Schankowitz, VideoJug’s U.S. chief executive, said in a phone interview. He called VideoJug a “video encyclopedia of life.”

Schankowitz, a former Hollywood producer, whose credits include “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “The Simpsons,” says he modeled the redesign, which now includes an “Ask the Experts” section, on personal experience.

Shortly after accepting the job in January 2007, he returned home one night to find his wife sobbing, newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I sat in the office with my jaw on the floor,” he said. “I literally had no where to turn. There’s millions of guys and women at home, who are dealing with the same thing.”

The experience helped him draw the outline for VideoJug’s series of cancer films, which include videos on “How I got through radiation” and “This is how my husband and wife dealt with it.”

Launched in Britain in September 2006 by technology and games entrepreneur Dan Thompson with a collection of how-to clips, the site has been expanded to include thousands more videos spanning the gamut of health and hobbies to food and finance.

All of life’s quandaries are now broken up into 20 categories that include autos, beauty and style, do-it-yourself, health and medicine, and technology and gadgets.

Under “Just for fun”, users can find video clips on how to “air-kiss” near instructions on doing the Waltz.

Over time, Schankowitz sees viewers contributing their own video tips on myriad topics, which will be vetted by its team of editors. The company employs about 100 people split between the United States and Britain.

VideoJug competes with other similar sites eHow Inc. and ViewDo.com. More broadly, it offers aspects of other sites such as About.com, owned by the New York Times Co., whose human experts give answer on various topics.

The company has raised about $30 million in three rounds of financing, Schankowitz said.

On executing the man-to-man hug, the VideoJug video suggested, “Start by spreading your arms wide, with the right arm about 20 centimeters (8 inches) higher than your left. Lean by ever so slightly is a non-threatening stance making it clear you are not about the attack.”

Unless you’re watching sports, in which case, “Anything goes.”

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