It’s remarkable the length some customers will go to praise their favorite brands. Shouldn’t it work the other way around? Well, not always.

Branded video platform VideoGenie has today announced that their service has served up more than 5 million views of user-generated content that promotes brands, an important milestone.

Brands load VideoGenie onto their site, and can prompt their customers to record a video with their webcam. Once videos have been uploaded and approved, brands can publish the clips they like, and the creators are free to share the clips on their blogs through Facebook, Twitter and on various social networks. But why go through all the trouble just to promote a brand?

VideoGenie CEO Justin Nassiri compares it to when you get interviewed by channel 53, the local cable access station, then your friends and relatives to watch you at 6:30 when you have your big moment. However, in the case of VideoGenie, you’ve interviewed yourself, and you’re sharing a video clip with your community, because your existence has been validated by a brand.

The upside for brands is obvious. Users are creating free marketing content, which is heartfelt, and which they’re happy to distribute for no reward other than acknowledgement. Nassiri says that in an age of social media the rules of marketing have fundamentally changed. “It doesn’t matter what we the marketers think,” says Nassiri “it matters what the community thinks.” It’s not about finding the perfect message, it’s about one that is believable because it’s real.

The technical quality of videos I’ve seen are not great, but I’m sure that’s the point. There’s no denying that they are authentic. There’s also a certain voyeuristic quality that borders on the uncomfortable, which I will admit had me clicking through to see more.

On average, ShoeDazzle customers watch 10.2 VideoGenie testimonials per sitting, says Nassiri, which is about three minutes and ten seconds of branded content per interaction. Five million views may not be much in the face of a giant like YouTube, but VideoGenie is proving to be a very valuable way for brands to tap into customer sentiment. We all know when someone is marketing to us. When our friends tell us that they like something, we’re a lot more likely to believe what they say, or follow suit, because it feels like they’re just sharing.

Launched in May of 2010, VideoGenie has been used by the Obama Whitehouse, Levi’s jeans and Intuit.