It has come to my attention that Streamlabs, one of the streaming industry’s most well-known names, has been acting in bad faith. The OBS team has released a tweet revealing their experience with the company and has explained that they asked the OBS team if they could use OBS in their program’s name, the one we all know today as “Streamlabs OBS.” Well, it turns out, they responded to them, asking them not to.
They did it anyway.
Let that sink in a moment. They did it anyway, despite the response explicitly requesting that they don’t. The audacity of such a move is just… ugh.
If that didn’t make enough of an impression on you, consider this: Their website’s “Studio” layout is a carbon copy of Lightstream’s own website, with very little contextually different information found under near-identical layouts and headings. This is a disgusting level of plagiarism at work, a level that I end relationships over.
To top it all off, they even filed a trademark for the “StreamLabs OBS” term under the company name of General Workings Inc.
While they legally did not violate any terms of the GPL license attached to OBS Studio, the blatant disregard for standard business etiquette is one of the worst I have ever seen.
Table of Contents
The Problem with Similar Naming
You might be wondering, “So what? They have similar names. Who cares?” Well, as someone who relies on making content relying on keywords and SEO, I am intimately familiar with the drawbacks of something like this.
Similar naming confuses the Search Engine Algorithm & The Readers
The first point is that it confuses Search Engines. This means that they cannot accurately provide the searcher with the information they are looking for, resulting in many queries giving results for Streamlabs OBS and OBS Studio. This isn’t so much of a problem over time, as the algorithm can adapt.
It can adapt by the work put in by us writers to try to write in such a way to adequately distinguish between the two programs. However, being more specific does tend to further our readers’ confusion, as they may not realize that Streamlabs OBS and OBS Studio are two different programs entirely. What was simply “OBS” as a search term before became “Streamlabs OBS” and “OBS Studio,” respectively, to make the topic more topically relevant and distinguished. This is the confusing part for people who know about one and not the other.
This also affects creators in the video scene. YouTube is one of those platforms that don’t allow you to go back and edit a released video, so creators are forced to upload a new video with up-to-date information when something changes like this.
The community has mostly adapted to this by this point, but it is still confusing for those who are new to the hobby of streaming, especially when you stumble upon content that is now out of date.
Why Do This Anyways? Easy – Leech Search Volume from Established Keywords
The answer is Search volume. A quick note, the following data is an estimate provided by the Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension. This isn’t perfectly accurate data – only the search engines themselves have access to that information. Still, take a look at this:
And then this graph shows more information regarding the search volume trends:
Yes, that is for OBS studio, so let me instead provide you with the same information for the base term, OBS:
And here is the trend data:
Finally… the Streamlabs OBS data:
And the Trend Data:
So, what we can infer from this, is that prior to Streamlabs’ use of the OBS term, the search term OBS was used to describe OBS Studio. Streamlabs chose to use OBS in their rebranded program to capitalize on the pre-pandemic all-time-high search volume of the OBS search term itself.
Incidentally, the big spike in all the graphs is the start of the coronavirus pandemic, when everyone was looking to supplement their income using online methods, like streaming. In case you were curious.
This is what broke the camel’s back for me.
StreamLabs OBS – Where The Program Stands
I’ll admit this much – the software team who overhauled OBS Studio into StreamLabs OBS did a great job at making it more accessible and providing another option for users to choose from. However, that accessibility comes at several costs.
- As the program ages, the features diverge more
- Integrated store within SLOBS pushes users towards premium, paid features
- Bugs that are resolved in one remain in the other
- Among others.
I still think that what the team accomplished with the streaming program and the tools they offer streamers as being good; I just don’t like the distasteful origin of the name and the blatant plagiarism occurring.
It is up to you how you wish to respond to this revelation.
- Continue to use StreamLabs OBS, despite the public marring of their name, or
- Switch to alternative platforms.
Streamlabs OBS Alternatives – How to Cut the Cord
If you choose to cut your reliance on Streamlabs, here are some alternatives to get you up and streaming again with very similar functionality:
Multiple Platform Simultaneous Streaming
Logo & Intro Maker
- Canva (I use this myself to make the images on my site.)
Clip Conversion for YouTube Shorts
That’s most of the features covered – If there are others I find, I’ll update this post.