ABC News Features YouTube Stars (and Income Accuracy)

Two out of three YouTube stars (Jody Rivera/VenetianPrincess and Greg Benson/Mediocrefims) featured in ABC News’ story on “YouTube Top Earners” were among the dozen profiled in my “Beyond Viral” book.

Coincidence?  Or did the student author, Clay LePard (a member of the ABC News on Campus bureau at Syracuse University) forget to read his journalism manual on source citation? Hey it got Greg and Jody some press, as well as Ryan “Nigahiga” Higa. So it’s all good.

Now onto the estimates by Tubemogul (see Business Week)… while being directionally accurate and based on decent assumptions, they are often quite wrong… according fellow YouTube creators with whom I’ve spoken. Of course we’re all obliged by contract to keep the numbers to ourselves. I do know that the income estimates by Tubemogul for some individuals (who have fewer views than I) are paradoxically higher than my own actual income. It’s also worth noting that those Tubemogul estimates don’t include the more lucrative but sporadic sponsored videos.

The reality is that it’s total conjecture since even with total view counts, the actual income per video can range radically depending on the advertiser bidding. What’s important is that a) some do make enough to live comfortably, b) nobody knows how long it will last, c) it’s extremely difficult odds to live on YouTube income.

And as I like to remind people… if I calculated the time I’ve spent on YouTube and arrived at an hourly salary, I’m quite sure that I’d beat it working at Taco Bell. But I enjoy it, so I don’t bother with the math. At least the blog is profitable. Oh wait- that’s right. It’s got no revenue stream. Well ya get what you pay for.

2 Replies to “ABC News Features YouTube Stars (and Income Accuracy)”

  1. Everyone always says you’re not allowed to disclose how much you make from YouTube contractually but actually that’s not true. If you read the adsense terms it says you’re not allowed to give the breakdown numbers i.e. eCPM, clicks, views, and so on but it does say you ARE allowed to share the gross amount you get… so in other words you are allowed to say how much your check is for, just not how it breaks down. That being said you don’t go around asking people how much they make at their day job, its just polite not to ask how much they make on youtube either 🙂

    Here’s a clip from the adsense Terms & Conditions that explain what I just said in legalese.

    7. Confidentiality. You agree not to disclose Google Confidential Information without Google’s prior written consent. “Google Confidential Information” includes without limitation: (a) all Google software, technology, programming, specifications, materials, guidelines and documentation relating to the Program; (b) click-through rates or other statistics relating to Property performance in the Program provided to You by Google; and (c) any other information designated in writing by Google as “Confidential” or an equivalent designation. However, You may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments to You pursuant to the Program. Google Confidential Information does not include information that has become publicly known through no breach by You or Google, or information that has been (i) independently developed without access to Google Confidential Information, as evidenced in writing; (ii) rightfully received by You from a third party; or (iii) required to be disclosed by law or by a governmental authority.

    Again see this line:
    However, You may accurately disclose the amount of Google’s gross payments to You pursuant to the Program.

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