But Sxephil was so frustrated by YouTube’s technical problems — which he said deprived him of ad revenue — that he turned his daily rant toward the Google-owned video site, YouTube. YouTube provides him with shared advertising revenue that some estimate could amount to a 6-figure annual salary.
Last night (May 17), the YouTube Comedian noticed his recent videos lacked advertisements, and likened the glitch to someone arriving at work and finding their paycheck wasn’t processing. He has since removed that video, but his blog post “Bastards” shows a screen shot of his YouTube midget/prostitute video without ads.
It’s not yet clear if SxePhil removed his YouTube rant video because the site has resolved the issue, or whether it was a reaction to his viewers (some the YouTube’s community took issue with his perceived entitlement). He also might have had second thoughts about “biting the hand,” but his blog isn’t commenting about why the video was removed by him, or even if he removed it.
SxePhil, or “Phil DeFranco” (see PhillyD.tv) also was not available at press time for his comments. But to be fair… I didn’t try to reach him (one of the joys of being a blogger instead of a journalist). I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him at a Washington, D.C. gathering, and his true personality is miles from his on-screen persona. I’ve heard the same observation from dozens of people, including a documentary film maker that agreed he’s the YouTuber whose real self is most unlike his on-screen persona.
Last night’s video not only blurred the lines between DeFranco (if indeed that’s his real name) and SxePhil (pronounced “es-exy-phil”). It also created an interesting bifurcation of opinion, which took place on the YouTube video’s comments, in private e-mails among the community, and in live Stickam discussions last night.
- On one hand, Phil devotes most of his day to creating a short, daily video show. He’s paid only if people view his videos, and in direct proportion to those views. If Google fails to run the ads due to technical errors, both Google and Phil aren’t paid. Counter this to a television network that buys rights to a show and doesn’t sell or run advertising. My guess is the show’s producer is still paid. Another analogy would be a wholesaler that buys pottery from a local artist, and damages them all in a truck accident. Naturally the wholesaler would take the loss, while the artist would still be paid.
- On the other hand, Phil reminded his audience that he’s paid by YouTube while many of them aren’t, which leads to inevitable (and often deep) resentment. Most YouTubers are hobbiests or at best part-time YouTubers (even the increasingly popular Michael Buckley “What the Buck” has a day job). Members of the community don’t like the idea of one YouTuber not needing a job, while they go to work each day. This resentment is not as true for audiences of television or movie stars, who are often paid for one film what many of us won’t make in a lifetime. But since YouTube has a grassroots community origin, the audience sees itself in an equal peer group with the creators — even when fellow creators are propelled to top rankings. When I first campaigned to be in YouTube’s partner program (with a NAPPY video I haven’t since watched), I felt that community ire and resentment. YouTube viewers begin to expect more from videos of paid creators (an odd entitlement since they’re not paying to watch), yet Phil’s rant was viewed as a pompous entitlement of its own. Interesting?
I’ll be interested in the comments on this post since the video’s gone and so are many of the public reactions. I imagine the common denominator would be that Phil has a right to his earnings, but it might have been more diplomatic to work “behind the scenes” to resolve the issue. That said, YouTube is a company, and companies run on company time. So sometimes the squeaky wheel gets oiled. Thoughts?