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YouTube may have captured the largest video audience, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of niches to exploit. AniBoom is tapping into an impassioned community of video animators to create content that will, occasionally, capture some of that YouTube-sized audience.

A competitor for the video award at tomorrow’s Crunchies, AniBoom is different from most other video sites in one important respect: Almost all of its content was created by members, whereas video sites like YouTube are famed for having content ripped off from other sources.

AniBoom, by comparison, even has its own software tool, Shapeshifter, that can be used to make professional-quality animations. For fun, it also has the recently created Micro-Smotion tool, which can add simple animated tidbits to regular video. The site says it is growing rapidly in popularity.

Like other sites, most of the existing content is stuff you wouldn’t want to bother watching. However, AniBoom is counting on the star factor — from any large group of people, several exceptional individuals are bound to come forth.

AniBoom’s CEO, Uri Shinar, likes to compare the possibilities of his site by referencing Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who were unknown talents making short clips until a Fox executive groomed them, leading to the hit cartoon South Park. AniBoom attempts to replicate this success in its Creator’s Series, although none that we saw had gotten more than a few thousand views.

However, the South Park comparison is apt in more than one way. The Stone and Parker creation that led Fox to contact them was a quirky student animation of Jesus killing a deranged snowman. Many of the videos on AniBoom are similarly odd. One of my personal favorites: “Rabbit: Terror of the Wood,” a series of very short clips about a desperately horny rabbit.

The site also runs contests offering cash prizes, which seem to attract quite a few submissions, proving that the world’s junior animators are eager for both fame and money.

Although there are other animation sites around, like Crunchyroll (coverage here), AniBoom is one of the only sites encouraging indie content. Another is MyToons, which just launched.

AniBoom is located in Israel. The site took $4.5 million from Evergreen back in the beginning of 2007.

Reported on Venturebeat