The Ultimate Challenge to Video Creators: Intimacy Versus Popularity

Yesterday I urged marketers to pursue niches instead of wildly popular videos. But if video creators pursue small niches, their videos will get fewer views, and they’ll therefore make less money via YouTube’s Partner program (which shares ad revenues based not on the appeal of the videos but the total view count). Ideally creators will find “niches” that also have large appeal- like Michael Buckley’s WhatTheBuckShow

This is a perpetual dilemma for me. I long for the days where I had a small audience and could acknowledge every comment. I knew who subscribed to me, and they tolerated a variety of my video styles. Sometimes the videos drew larger crowds, but they supported me even when the videos were barely seen or liked.

Here on WillVideoForFood, there are two sectors of participants. Those who “graze” for tips about video creation and marketing (they’re usually quiet). Then there are the WVFF “tribe members” who use the comment threads below as a lil’ community, and that’s much more rewarding. Even when you accuse me of offending Baby Jesus. Some of you happen to have a leg in each sector, and offer interesting commentary that exceeds the wisdom of my post (and you know who you are).

Intimacy is satisfying, and so is creating a video that I personally enjoy (like my “Dysfunctional Family,” which got fewer than 20K views). Sometimes I create a video I do like that becomes popular (Mall Pranks), but often my least favorite videos are viewed more. While I almost resent the fact that “Scary Maze” has 2.5 million views, it does help fill that giant void I call “the debt black hole.”

Following the heart or following the wallet? Ideally both, but sometimes it’s not practical.


27 Replies to “The Ultimate Challenge to Video Creators: Intimacy Versus Popularity”

  1. Some of Spielberg’s best work was not his most popular.

    I just watched two or three of your latest YT uploads and you had me laughing out loud… like the good old days of waking up to a new Nalts video almost every day.

    Merry Christmas to you and the clan!

  2. I thought we cleared up that myth that YouTube shares ad revenues based on the total view count and here you are spreading it again. Man, I WISH that myth were true. I get 20,000 views a week that YouTube doesn’t pay me on. You don’t read all the comments in your blog, do you?

    Anywho, I’ve been thinking about the technophiles and advertising clerks who read your blog and how difficult this economic recession has been for them and I found this video to show them that they’re not alone. Someone is documenting their plight.

  3. ^ Sorry about all the cussing in that video. Revver is still a democratic, level playing field site that pays content creators on ALL their views and hasn’t gotten around to having their twentysomething hipster editors censoring videos with cusswords like oh, you know who.

    Do you think YouTube will ever offer an affiliate program like Revver’s?

    AHHHHhhhh haaaa haaa haaaa!

  4. My favorites of my own videos barely get any views. I have one video that has over a million views and a few in the tens of thousands and only a couple of those I would consider a personal favorite. My conclusion: My tastes differ greatly from those of most online video viewers. That’s the way it’s always been for me. I listened to The Meat Puppets, Camper Van Beethoven, and The Dead Kennedies when others were listening to Micheal Jackson, U2, and The Backstreet Boys… or now I guess it would be The Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, and whoever else is producing annoying pop!

  5. Kevin, we are all here to help you get out of debt, we don’t want to see your children starve. Sure, we kid you about some of your videos, but it’s only because we care, especially Sukatra, your biggest fan, trust me, keep your distance.

    @3 I just looked at a video I threw up on revver, been a year since I logged in, to my surprise it’s still there and it’s made $2.08! That’s more than it made on You Tube, I’m rethinking Revver. I also came across a site that pays you for video, photos and blogs, I wish I could remember what it was called.

    All this thinking and talk about nitches has me thinking….

  6. @6


    Kevin, i think it’s funny you say that sometimes you miss the old days when you had fewer subscribers and knew them all. I have to say I miss those days too, because you were far quirkier and it was easier for you to respond to people’s comments. Oh well, the price of success. . . .

  7. @6
    you can think?
    Sorry, I had to.

    My favorite video has… I think less than a hundred views. My most popular video has over a thousand views, which is fine but it will never get me a subscriber, unless they happen to find it, but then also like my other stuff.

  8. For those of you not familiar with Revver:
    You see that part of the URL address in post #2 above? The affiliate 209 part? I am affiliate #209. That means that if you click on that URL, look at the video, see an ad, I get 20% of that income off of somebody else’s video.

    I just got a $28.00 PayPal payment from Revver last week. You only have to hit a $20 minimum to get paid at Revver as opposed to YouTube’s $100. Most of that $28 was from other people’s videos I pimped (click). Music videos my friends might actually watch/listen to.

    From YouTube I got nothing for Christmas. Nada. Bupkiss. Acid indigestion maybe.

  9. My favorite videos of the ones I’ve made haven’t gotten very many views. Probably half of the views are from me. Fuck it… people wouldn’t know a good video if it was shoved up their ass. People enjoy lame ass shit. They cant help it.

    My favorite “nalts” videos are “Hot Air Balloon Chasing” and “Making Daughter Laugh” Yeah… they aren’t as popular as Spencer farting in public *rolls eyes*, but I love going back and watching them.

    What the fuck is my point? Hell if I know. At this point I don’t even remember what this post was about.

  10. You know the videos you usually love are the ones you’ve put your heart and sole into. Ones you’ve thought out, thought through, scripted and edited with a hypercritical eye. The ones where you’ve loved most of the quirky you right out of the video. The ones I’ve like the most are your spontaneous ones that show us the full Monty…I mean nalty. The full nalty….please don’t ever do a full Monty.

  11. I have a different approach. I am a niche. The idea is to grow how appealing that niche is and get people behind the ideals. Lots of people think like me, they just haven’t come across the manifestation of our shared thinking.

    Either that or I am in the “critical thinking” niche. Both ideas are agreeable.

  12. I miss those days too! When you acted like you were whoring yourself out instead of actually doing it! LOL!

    Ahhh, the good ol days of viewing the “Nalts” cup slowly come into view from the bottom of the screen as Mr. Nalty takes an innocent fake sip. Then disappearing back to off screen land where we, the few subscribers you had back then, were thinking to ourselves, “Who’s he fooling?” *sigh* If only we had known! I would have tried to sabotage you sooner!

    Just as long as you don’t ever diss me if I ever meet you, you’ll be ok in my book! If you diss me, it’s on sucka! :o) Besides you’re making like 100 G’s or something like your secret lover Buckley. Money is the root of all evil though, remember that!

  13. Hi
    I am in a curious position when it comes to YouTube.
    I work for a live music video company. They are very open to online activity, and we feel that the more we can get out there the better. We are having a fair bit of success with YouTube, Joost, etc.
    However, because the artists that we release are not actually on our label, but licensed to us, we have very little creative control or flexibility. This leaves me a little frustrated because of the untapped potential I see that I am unable to use for more creative and interesting videos.
    Oh, and by the way, great videos, I watch a fair bit, very funny.

  14. Kevin:
    I agree. Back in the old days when there were fewer of us around, it was much easier to get a response from you, plus I got a new Nalts video every day. I used to say that a day without a Nalts video is like a day without sunshine. Not so much anymore.

    I guess that’s why I landed here. It’s still s reasonably small community, and we all know each other’s quirks, and take every opportunity to exploit them. It’s fun.

    Merry Christmas to all!

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  16. @14 ahh memories, actually that’s even a bit before my time, except once when I read Provoking Comcast and thought, ‘who is this idiot?!’ Actually, I didn’t think that and I wasn’t Gryphyn3 either, but this reminded me how I hooked up with WVFF… Kevin left a comment on a video I did, back in the day when he was out whoring for subs, so remember, leaving inane comments on people’s videos is a real good way to pick up subscribers.

    @19 mdj just either had a stroke or he’s posting spam e-mails; something I know nothing about.

  17. It was a minor stroke, jis. Momma took our grocery and electric bill money and spent it on beer for my sister and her drinking buddies out in the woods and delivered the stuff out to my sister’s trailer on the last bit of gas fumes she had in her car. Codependency is evil.

  18. ^ I’ll bet you can guess which depresses ME more. 🙂

    Gotta buy Chinese in Marshall. If I want nontoxic products, I’ve gotta drive 35 minutes to the next town, Longview. That amount of diesel for my pickup is just not in the budget right now. Oh how I miss Los Angeles’ mass transit system!

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