Posted by & filed under branding, business models, YouTube.

Description: A surprising number of people are turning their video production skills and on-screen talents into entrepreneurial ventures, providing a service and managing to make a sizable income at it via YouTube’s Partner Program.

Source: Globe&Mail.com

Date: March 17, 2011


The program allows YouTube to share advertising revenue, generated from ads that are overlaid or appear next to the most popular videos, with its most popular and successful video creators. The more the videos are viewed, the more revenue they generate. Although YouTube declined to break down the specific revenue split, it says “the majority” of sales wind up being shared with the video creator.

For some people, the partnership can be big business. YouTube recently said it is running ads on videos more than 3 billion times a week, an increase of 50 per cent over last summer. More than 15,000 partners participate in the program and “hundreds of people,” YouTube says, earn more than $100,000 annually from it.

Some have even abandoned their traditional 9-to-5 jobs in favour of managing their own YouTube brand. Read rest of story

Questions for discussion:

  • How effective is the strategy of online promotion in youtube videos ?
  • Are their any downsides to embedding online ads into youtube videos?

26 Responses to “Start a YouTube empire, quit your day job”

  1. Brett Quinton

    Luck is a huge factor in the YouTube world. There have been many videos that have gone “viral” for no apparent reason. The people who are responsible for these videos are the people that make serious money. The chef mentioned in the article is one of those lucky few. There are thousands of people posting their recipes online doing almost exactly the same thing, except for making money. I like his statement that he would never return to the “regular” work force again. This is wishful thinking as YouTube popularity can go down just as fast as it went up. He is a popular chef now, but there will inevitably be someone that comes along in the future that will force him out, and most likely back to “regular” work. I have yet to hear of someone who has spent their entire career posting videos on YouTube, it is theoretically possible but not probable.

  2. Oloff Dreyer

    Online promotion is quite effective I believe because your customer base is basically the whole world. Though the content of the videos you produce play a large role in whether these people succeed at making profit, I think you have to be quite lucky for a video to attain over a hundred thousand or so views. There are quite a few downsides to embedding online ads into youtube videos some of which include the time it takes for the viewer to watch the ads and not be able to skip over them. This can be very frustrating and time consuming. People often times don’t want to watch ads therefore use youtube and now the ads are appearing even there. Though I can see this being quite a profitable revenue generator. The fact that the chef does not have to work a regular nine to five job is just luck and not many people will be able to generate that type of traffic to their channel.

  3. A.S.

    Online promotion in youtube videos is a very effective way in advertising. Accessibility is a major advantage in online promoting as consumers worldwide have unlimited access to a product or service that meeds their needs, and do not have to travel to a physical location to pursue it. It also incorporates time reduction/cost-reduction strategies and revenue generating for vendors. Yet, there are many downsides to embedding online ads into youtube videos. Viewers cannot skip through the ads (some of them up to 30 seconds to 1 minute long), which can be time-consuming and a nuisance for some. Although the YouTube Partnership Program allows Youtube to share advertising revenue, it is to the uniqueness and attractiveness of the product or service that has the potential to attract and retain hundreds and thousands of viewers. Most video creators have ran into failure, while others success can be attributed to luck.

  4. Kuda

    This strategy is seemingly attractive if it is applied well. Obviously there are other people who might be doing videos but do not command a high following like Chef John. Like any business, you need that can draw people or an idea that can draw people. So I would say it is effective to the level you know what you are doing. The disadvantage though, would be the uncertainty that is existent from YouTube just going out of business. What i mean is that this industry requires that you always be improving because someone else can wake up having a better idea or revenue model which leaves you down under. So even with the concept of dependence on such an advertising program entails that your ideas to set yourself apart has to be dynamic. Or else someone else will copy you and make better videos than you, living you with a dip in popularity.

  5. Kevin Beauchamp

    I think when done properly, the online ad promotion idea can be very effective. It allows you to connect to a global audience instead of a defined space in the traditional work force. As well, people are able to provide feedback on videos and state what other kinds of topics would be useful for future videos. It also has to be something that most people will find useful, but still has a different take on it. If not, most people will simply skip over the ad and become frusterated as it delays the time spent watching the original video. Although, some videos only need a couple of views to form a cult following, shown by example from the highly viewed videos the article speaks of. A major downfall may come from people simply getting lazy, thinking that since they’ve create one successful video that more will come. They need to continue to create interesting videos that will grab the attention of more viewers.

  6. Katelynne Swenson

    I think that online promotion can be successful. I think is pure luck that makes a video go viral on YouTube, and to actually be able to make profit and quit your 9-5 job needs even more luck. However, those that have been able to do it, such as Chef John, have obviously been successful at it. Of course there are downsides to actually embedding ads into the videos. The number one is the fact that people don’t want to sit through the ads. But then again, if you really want to watch the video, you don’t really have a choice but to watch them. The article said however that the ads are always directly embedded into the video, they are sometimes appear on the side of the video, which isn’t so bad for the viewer. This online promotion has already been proven to be successful. If already “hundreds of people” are makes over $100,000, that means that YouTube is making quite a bit of profit, proving it to be successful.

  7. Samantha.Kent

    Individuals who take the big risks to do online promotion are willing to give up lots and at the same time they must face the failure that comes with it. If the Video does go viral they are more likely to continue, however if their videos do not go viral they may have lost everything. But for embedding ads into videos, the ads may become annoying and to those who are watching your video they may not watch the video again. If individuals who are willing to take a chance by changing their jobs or go back to school are taking the same risk as those who are put up videos on Youtube and hope they go viral. The stock market climbs and falls each day but people are willing to play with the change so must the people who do online promotion with videos. These people are using technology to their advantage and if it works for them why not.

  8. Mark McKee

    It was interesting to read this article on YouTube and to see that people are making money from their video’s being linked to advertisements. I only recently heard that up loaders are making money just a few weeks ago. As many have stated it is mostly luck to have your videos go viral and become a YouTube sensation. There is also creativity and strategy as well. So is this partnership with YouTube only per invitation from them to you? Or can anyone sign up to be a partner with them? I would imagine you would have to sustain a level of popularity before the program is offered to you. I personally don’t watch the ads and once I realized an ad will play before the video I will switch to another page on the web until the video is ready to play. So how effect is it? I think it really depends. The only time I watch ads is if it applies to me and I have an interest. So they need effectively placed their ads.

  9. Warren

    Youtube is a great way for anyone to promote whatever career they are pursuing. The exposure on the website can make a popular video spread like wildfire. For any creator they can work flexibly to accommodate their schedules to work whenever they want. However, only a select few will really make it big. Justin Bieber as an example was discovered on youtube. Out of all the singing kids on youtube he’s one of the few to reach such popularity . Several other popular videos usually only get there thirty seconds of fame and it doesn’t go any further. A downside of the online ads of youtube could be seen as too commercial. People could be given the stereotype that they are selling out for money. It’s too bad that there are so many ads. Every video is subjected to an onslaught of ads. I suppose as long as the ad does not distract from the video itself there shouldn’t be much issue.

  10. Ashley H

    I think we have established that online promotion is beneficial for businesses worldwide by breaking down geographical barriers and reaching vast numbers of people. For instance, the Google video we watched in class showed just how much advertising that little cowboy boot making company earned through advertising on Google. The part I found fascinating is how much money people are making by posting their talented and not-so-talented home videos online. “Artists” like Rebecca Black with that horrible song Friday is probably making a killing just through her nasally vocals and train wreck lyrics. But because people want to see what this hype is about, every viewer puts a little more cash in her ever-growing bank account. Makes me wish I would have bought the rights to some horrible song and made a homemade music video, bad exposure is better than none I guess. Forget advertising through YouTube, post your videos and make some cash.

  11. J.E.

    So much fame has started for people because of posting videos on YouTube. Personally, I don’t even have a YouTube account and honestly can’t afford to spend time on their at this point in my life, but I do understand that millions of people can. This brings me to the online ads embedded in most videos. This drives me absolutely nuts because a lot of times it’s not just one add but a few, and by the time you close all the ads you need to re-watch the video you just missed. The other thing about this is that I cannot remember any ads that I have had to close. All I can remember is that they are on the bottom of the video and usually just a bunch of words not anything eye appealing or anything that would make me want to read more about it. YouTube should just stick to ads on the sides of peoples videos instead of on the video itself. That is where I would choose to advertise.

  12. Kim B

    The strategy of implementing online advertisements into a youtube video is a controversial one. On one hand, it is very annoying to have to watch a 15 or 30 second ad when all you want to look at is a quick youtube video. most of the things advertised we skip over anyways, or focus on another activity, such as watching tv, until said ad is over. from personal experience, i do not pay any attention to these ads, and if i do watch the odd one, they rarely are advertising anything i would ever buy or spend my time doing. This being said, some people actually do pay attention to these ads, and they are obviously generating some sort of revenue both for the suppliers and for youtube, or they would not be put up and financed. So i suppose to some extent they are beneficial and effective advertisements, but this girl will not likely ever pay much attention to them. I get enough advertisements on tv, let alone having to watch them on my internet video site.

  13. JJ

    I really enjoyed this article, as it showed me a new way of building wealth and a business that i never really thought of. On the flip side for most people who use youtube, i am sure you are all well aware of the ads that play. I honestly think there pointless and most of the time i end up just clicking around in a hurry for the ad to be over and don’t really ever watch them. Youtube is definately a good starting point for an entrpreneur, but they have to have the right idea or service like John did with his cooking. On the flipside people use it for fame and other stupid reasons. I watched a video the other day that had 58,000,000 views or more and it was a complete waste of time. So if this person decided to switch into a businessman overnight and had some type of servive or business idea that he was going to launch through youtube, I would most likely never watch him again.

  14. AS

    I didn’t know that youtube paid there video contributors by how many hit they got for displaying ads but it seems like it could be a very profitable project. I think that this is a very effective strategy of online promotion using youtube videos. If it is a very popular video, for instance the sneezing panda, then the amount of people that are going to view your ad on the youtube video is mind blowing. It adds a new diversity to people you can reach through advertising as well. I think there can be some downsides to embedding online ad in youtube videos in the fact that viewers may be annoyed by them. I know that I find it annoying when I have to exit the add because it is covering the bottom half on my video especially when the video is short and you miss half of it and have to restart it. In conclusion I think that the ads on youtube can be an added benefit to the company in order to encourage people to add their videos.

  15. Travis Sedrovic

    As a marketing student, youtube ads are a hot topic in a lot of my classes. In the last few years we have seen more and more advertising on youtube, and more and more complaints. But is it still effective marketing? Yes. For the most part, the ads are suited to “fit” which video you are watching and be relevant to the subject material of the video (if there is any). We are going to have to live with waiting 15 seconds to watch a video or listen to a song, but hey- you are getting it for FREE, and youtube has to make money in some way. I think it’s great that people with large amounts of viewers can share in youtube’s success, although I cannot say that I enjoy most of the mindless videos posted.

  16. Mikey

    Youtube is a great portal for introducing new things. The secret to being successful in youtube is to think of your market target, is it youth, kids, adults, etc. Once you grab your audience, voila!

    People love free stuff. I remember when I wanted to learn some complicated songs on the guitar I went to youtube and a few months later I ended up buying this guy’s DVD teaching people his songs. I saw the value and talent of this man and I was willing to pay the price for better quality videos and exclusivity.

    The recipe for success is YouTube + Social Media + Free. A problem I see is google embeding ads on the videos, I personally find it pretty annoying when I want to watch a video and it has ads, it drives me nuts! But if that’s the price we need to pay for the service, then I’d rather click the small X and not have to pay cash for it.

  17. Chris

    I was surprised you could make 100,000 annually making a youtube video. It must be a successful business if they are quitting jobs because of it. There are some downsides to this is that if you don’t make a successful ad then people won’t watch it. People will have to be careful that they don’t quit their job and find out it was not successful. It is an easy job to have because you won’t have that nine to five lifestyle. It also lets you follow your dreams of the career that you want to be in like “chef john” in the article. It will attract any entrepreneur and make a good profit for youtube as well because the more people you attract the more money the site can make. Youtube also didn’t quite say how the profit is shared so I am sure they are making some good money. This is also opening up a whole new way to make money and attract others.

  18. Abiola Ogunyemi

    Viral video advertisement is the way to go nowadays. with the the advent of video sharing platform such as youtube. creativity is key to catch viewers attention. Its not surprising that one can make up to $100,000 annually making video for youtube. With the opportunity to work from home producers and people with video editing skills can showcase and share their talent to the whole world with just a click of the mouse.

  19. Asif Hirji

    Wow! Look at the times we live in now. I think the youtube partner program is a great idea! Who knew you make upto and probably over 100k. I think youtube is a great way to promote yourself. A good example which I’m sure EVERYONE is sick of is that Rebecca Black Friday song. Some 50 Million + views in just over a week? If that isnt publicity then I don’t no what it is. I even saw the girl on the news.. youtube is the way of the future.

  20. Teigen

    The ability to make money from YouTube for uploading videos is great. There are so many people out there who are using YouTube to teach others. Like the guy freatured in the article, people who are helping others learn to do something should deserve to be paid for their videos. Especially since they are taking the time to make quality videos. At the same time, I think people who are just continually uploading videos for the sake of sharing them on YouTube should not be able to partake in the service. It’s great that the people who are willing to share their secrets, talents etc with everyone else are getting paid to do so. With everything being available on the internet anyway, these videos are great tools to enhancing your experience, and the creators deserve to get paid!

  21. N.P

    I use youtube for everything! I think the use of promotional ads through youtube can be successful. Ads that come up just before your video loads can be frustrating sometimes but for the most part, if you have time to watch random videos than you must have time to watch random advertisements. After reading the chef story, I realized how well advertisements can target specific audience members. Yes, companies may pay the big bucks to put one of their ads next tot he most popular videos, but sometimes they can go unseen, especially if their product does not cater to the needs of a particular viewer. In regards to the chef story, advertisements can be targeted towards people who enjoy cooking. If the chef’s viewers are regulars and religiously watch his clips than they’ll be on constant watch for any type of cooking item whether it be ingredients, electronics, or recipes. Advertisements through here can go a long way because of its reach to their target market.

  22. Nyle Watts

    I agree, I am also frequently on Youtube, The use of promotional ads, even though they can be very annoying and I try to skip them whenever I can, are very successful.

    As for quitting your job and starting making your income via Youtube, it definitely has a great advantage, especially for entreprenuers who are trying to get their information out there and who wish to get feedback on their ideas. Once you can target your audience, grab their attention, and create a loyal fan base, then your bound to be successful. Its just such a great way to promote yourself. I kinda hate to actually use this as an example, but look at Justin Bieber: he posted videos on Youtube to get himself out into the world, was discovered by a person who later became his manager, and is now one the most popular celebrities right now. Mind you, luck is always a factor in a situation like this, but it is definitely a great to be heard by the rest of the world.

  23. Dylan B

    Deep down inside i would love to say “this is a terrible idea and i hate it and it should go away” simply because nobody likes advertising on their youtube videos, but I also believe that this is the way of the future. With that being said, these videos capture the attention of an easily measurable number of people, so it was only so long before advertisers wanted to be a part of it. Youtube still charging nothing to the users, and are giving profits to certain video producers, so i see no problem with the model. I think that as long as youtube is careful not to over-advertise and scare us all away, this is a sustainable way of generating revenue.

  24. Corey Bedard

    I don’t know if I have ever paid attention to an ad on YouTube. I don’t know if its because with my slow internet connection I have a habit of changing the screen while my videos load or if my mind just simply chooses to ignore the ads but they really don’t penetrate into my mind. That being said, its great that some people can benefit from the videos that they make. I would totally jump on board with this idea but I’m not sure how many YouTube hits I would gather for taping myself making a clear and concise Income Statement and Balance Sheet…perhaps I need better talents. It seems strange that YouTube can afford to pay so much to the video makers without really bringing anything new in. They are basically losing a large chunk of their revenue with no added income.

  25. naismithj

    You Tube is like any for of communication, there for people to tell you what they “think” about a specific subject unfortunately not everyone wishes to hear just anyones take on a particular subject. I am all for personal opinions as long as it doesn’t infringe on other’s rights. I think that You Tube is in a way like “reality tv” people love to watch the first three episodes and the last three episodes to view the extremes on both ends of the spectrum. The really dillusion are as entertaining as the cream of the crop to most, is that right or just, probably not. It makes the mediocre even more so and makes last place more acclaimed than say fourth. I guess that’s where “life isn’t fair” really rings true, if people want to quit their jobs and make a fool of themselves be being the low end of the spectrum we should at least attempt to avoid helping their plan but curiosity did kill the cat…on the other end if you have something important to share with the masses by all means just ensure you proof read your manuscript first 😀

  26. Rob C

    The creation of YouTube itself definitely started a new age, modern way of selling, advertising and entertainment through user video sharing. This revolutionary site, has changed the way people share information and have also helped in levelling the geographical barriers turning it into a global sharing community. I think it is remarkable and inspirational for a former chef to use his craft by taking his career into his own hands and create his own cooking show starting from grassroots.

    It is also remarkable how today there are platforms such as YouTube and Google that have created a community for opportunities such as these wherein they are using innovative ideas to spawn even newer ideas such as these in an ever-changing environment.

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