Review of Self-Balancing Electric Scooters 2015-2016: Everything You Need to Know

Which self-balancing electronic scooter (cheap Segway hands free Hoverboard) should you buy? Here are 9 frequently asked questions- and They’re all from the same manufacturer, so select yours based on the price, shipping time, and seller trust.

hoverboard 2015
Charlie is 11 and is handling the self-balancing scooter well, but I’d be careful about kids under 14. As of this writing, Charlie’s hover board has not caught the house on fire.

January 2016 update: This blog post reviewing hover boards apparently filled a void: traffic to this “everything you need to know about hover boards” article has been insane! But a lot has changed in the past 45 days…

The bad news: in min December Amazon discontinued most models of the hover boards due to manufacturing problems causing batteries to overheat and even catch on fire. So buyer beware. This killed our US access to a lot of the low-cost models, and hover boards are not sold yet by traditional US distributors like Walmart, Kmart, Target, ToysRUs,

The good news: some manufacturers have convinced Amazon they are selling safe models. Here is one called “3rd Generation Smart Balance Intelligent Personal Mobility Device.” Here is another but only in white. Also some good long-term news Razor scooters bought the US patent so that company may eventually have a quasi monopoly on these, and that means higher prices. I can’t recommend a Razor yet because of the poor reviews.


Okay nowwww back to the original post with those edits:

The hot seller for Christmas 2015 was the new self-balancing 2-wheel electric scooters (also called incorrectly a hands-free Segway, razor skooters or hoverboard).

They sold like Heelys in the early 2000s. It takes maybe 5 minutes to learn if you’re mildly coordinated (so it took me 10). My four kids picked it up WAY more quickly than my coworkers.

Here’s what’s fascinating. These Segway-like handle-bar free scooters are getting tons of news coverage because celebrities and YouTubers are cruising around on them. But journalists are missing a vital piece of the story… they’re all made by the same dang Chinese manufacturer yet they have various brand/labels and range in price from about $300 to $1000. 

I’m writing this post because it’s really hard to find accurate, comprehensive review information or where to buy the best one for the best price. So in this post you’ll find:

Review of self balancing electric scooter and where to buy least expensive best one
Which self balancing electric scooter should you buy? Regardless of the brand name, they are all the same. So buy via trusted seller (like Amazon), and choose based on the price and shipping time (as well as Amazon ratings)

Now, dear reader, here are the 9 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) I would have liked answered before I purchased one:
Which to buy.

  1. Which self balancing electric scooter brand should I buy?

Good news. It doesn’t matter! Here is one I found on Amazon but they’re really hard to find right now. They’re almost all still from the exact same manufacturer in China (wholesale prices vary by the lot, but I’ve seen them for around $200). Look at the images and you’ll see they’re all the same except for the names splattered on them like eRover, PhunkeeDuck, IO Hawk, Oxboard, Cyboard, Scoot, Future Foot, Monorover, Airboard, Freego, Esway, Airwheel, iEZWay, Overoad. I don’t think Razor makes one and they’re not Segway brands even though people think they are. So buy on price, shipping speed and from a seller you trust. A lot of them are on backorder and can take a month to arrive. I see some are buying from Ali baba or express or whatever, but I’m nervous about that.
Where to Get Deal.

2. Where can I buy the scooter for the lowest price?

Per above, Amazon has a lot and here are the most popular self-balancing scooters they sell. Unfortunately, toy or major retailers (Walmart, Target, ToysRus, Kmart) don’t seem to have them yet. And even when they do they’re likely to mark it up significantly. For instance, if they purchased from wholesale at $200, they’d likely retail it for $400. You’d be getting the same thing (but you would be able to return it to the store, which would be convenient). Again- you can try Ali Express but I don’t know them. Here is the only one I could find on Amazon as of April 2015.

3. Tips if you decide to buy via on Amazon:

  1. Don’t be deceived by the price and Prime shipping. Sometimes the seller will provide a nice starting price and a range, where only one color will be low priced and Prime.
  2. I would hesitate buying one that doesn’t have a lot of ratings yet. If you’re really cautious, then you find one that has good shipping and price, and sort comments by four-star ratings (If someone’s faking positive reviews they usually rate 5, and 4-stars tend to be more objective).
  3. But here’s what’s important- Ignore any product-specific comments unless they’re many product problems since they’re all the same products. Instead look for notes about shipping or service or refunds.
  4. Consider the extra protection warrantee from a separate seller (I got the SquareTrade 2-year protection plan but I’ve never used them…. I just liked the idea of not having a hassle on replacements (and hopefully they don’t first force me to deal with the manufacturer).

4. Will it break? Will it have money back warrantee ?

Most online reviews are positive, but I’ve seen a number of reports that suggest the Chinese quality-control leaves something to be desired. Some comments indicate they do break, batteries die, and sometimes the battery burns. For less than $25 I bought a Square Trade protection plan that covers up to $349.99, and I hope that’s my backup if it fails. You buy this protection plan separately not from the manufacturer and to active it, you send the receipt to them via email. I expect to use it so I’ll update this post if I have problems. I do not recommend trusting the seller to take a return or honor any manufacturer warrantee.

5. How do I learn to use it? Is it safe?

Here’s a nice tutorial video on how to learn it. Here are the basics:

  1. You  step on it one foot at a time, but quickly (using a wall for support).
  2. Then you lean forward as if you’re going to fall over and you need to trust it.
  3. If you start to compensate your balance as you instinctively will you’ll get unstable… because it’s doing the same thing.
  4. Don’t tilt your feet forward like you’re pressing a pedal. Lean forward like you want to drop to a pushup. The more you do this, the faster you go.
  5. Turning is totally intuitive,  and you can spin around almost effortlessly.

Here’s me trying it out at work yesterday

In about 10 minutes I was cruising confidently in the hallway of my office...
In about 10 minutes I was cruising confidently in the hallway of my office…

But BE WARNED. It’s deceptively dangerous, so take precaution and use helmets. One of sons took a major spill while I was typing this, and he’s down on the ground with ice on his back.

Update January 2015: The discounted models referenced in this report apparently are not safe, so I’ve stripped out the links. I still own my two and we only charge it while monitoring them. But there have been reports of fires, and this has crushed the entire Chinese market for cheap ones that may violate patents. I’m quite confident the news has been overplayed by business interests, but it’s still a major “buyers beware.”

6. How long does it take to charge and how long will it last?

The online reports say it charges in an hour or two, and can go about 10-15 miles on a single charge.

7. How fast does it go?

It will go 4-6 miles per hour and it beeps when it’s maxed. That’s about the speed of a normal jog… it moves quick so ride carefully especially when stopping abruptly, turning or hitting bumps.

8. How heavy and big is the scooter?

It’s about 25 pounds, so it’s heavier than it looks. The length is 23 inches and the width about 8 inches. The stability means that it can carry up to 220 pounds.

It's about 25 pounds. And the length is 23 inches with a width of 8 inches
It’s about 25 pounds. And the length is 23 inches with a width of 8 inches

9. On what surfaces can I ride it?

It works great indoors or on carpet, but it can handle well paved driveways, streets or sidewalks. Watch out for bumps or curbs!

Here’s a nice review video that summarizes a lot of this.

Which electric scooter should you buy for the best deal?
Which self balancing electric scooter should you buy? The cheap one!

Specifications on mine: It’s about 25 pounds and can allegedly run up to 10-15 miles per hour. The wheels are rubber so they won’t go flat. The  charger voltage: 100-240v. Battery: 36V 4 4Ah Lithium Battery Dimension: 584 186 178 mm (23 inches by 8 inches).


AdAge Celebrates YouTube Sellouts

AdAge called out the biggest YouTube sellouts— those known for sponsored videos for top brands. Naturally my headline would have read “YouTube’s Most Prolific Sponsored Artists” had I been included in the list. For those of you whose nipples don’t get pointy when you hear words like “advertising, marketing, Mad Men, spot, creative brief, storyboards, USP, reach, frequency and single-minded proposition,” AdAge is kinda the Forbes for advertising junkies. It’s like Men’s Health except some straight people read it.

shaycarl t-shirt

The actual article is titled “Meet YouTube’s Most In-Demand Brand Stars,” and it’s a nice representation of the booming webstar, perhaps the central point of “Beyond Viral,” an amazing new book by Wiley & Sons coming out Sept. 21. Despite some conspicuous misses and a few odd inclusions, the article points to some interesting nuggets like MysteryGuitarMan (MGM) preference for a blank creative brief… his videos have never been better, and each one squashes my own confidence more aggressively than the next.

I would have also liked to read a “who’s who” of the companies that link stars with brands (Hitviews, Mekanism, PlaceVine, Howcast, YouTube). That’s something you don’t see covered well, and it’d be fascinating to read about the total market for sponsored videos and the dominant players.

TubeMogul helped compile this list, and you can see the webstar’s vital signs on the TubeMogul marketplace. The stats seem to be out of synch with YouTube’s counter and other sites (TubeMogul has me at 145 million, while YouTube alone counts 161 million…. so my views on Yahoo Video and other sites must be negative 16 million). It could be that once I “private” a video (like those I’ve buried because I no longer like them), I lose Tubemogul credit for them.

Before I could go to bed sulking for being overlooked by AdAge and Tubemogul, I discovered author Irina Slutsky sent me a note about this a week or so. And yeah I missed it. Just like the two e-mail offers to appear on AnnoyingOrange, one of the hottest web series by DaneBoe.

ADHD online-video creator and marketer seeks minimum-wage e-mail account manager from India.

These peeps don’t seem to read my blog, but I consider more than a few of them as friends… Trippy (he’s been in my kids’ bed), Buckley (he spanked me), Penna (wrote the Nalts theme and couldn’t get into bars at early YouTube gathersings), and Shay (he was new, we collabed, then he became twice as big as me overnight… and also got a lot more viewers). Others are more like acquaintances like Justine (who keeps a safe distance, but I made her what she is) and Smosh. Speaking of Smosh, Ian and Anthony get props for the recent Butterfinger Snackers video (“Selling Out”) that spoofed the criticism they’ve taken lately for doing a few too many sponsored videos. Heh. I did a Butterfinger video in 2006, a year before I goofed on this whole sponsored-video space with this video, which mentions Smosh. I’m guessing the Smosh kids never saw this diddy…

It’s me 3 years ago mimicking the emergence YouTube “sell outs” and the personalities who might desperately broker brand/webstar love connections... you know, the entities connecting brands and web stars. Most YouTube webstars know more about engaging an audience than turning a brand strategy into effective and persuasive messaging… so they need help. There are some exception- like Rhett and Link, who could just as well be their own boutique creative agency, as reflected in the quality of their advertainment and the highly unusual ratio of branded to non-sponsored views. I almost like their sponsored videos better than their brand-deficient ones because like a pro athlete they make it look easy.

And, lest I miss mentioning my book (Beyond Viral) in a single post, you’ll find mention of almost all of these cats inside the low-cost pages… including featured sections on Rhett & Link, Charles Trippy, Shay Butler and others.

Hey what ever happened to Buckley? I think he ignored me like Caitlin Hill (thehill88) and iJustine. Maybe Buckley needs an e-mail intern… I wonder if there are any Indians with the name Mason?

The Problem With Predicting the Future of Online Video (and the magic of marketers)

Ladies in gentleman, in this seminal post, I shall speak to you not as a video entertainer but as a student of psychology, a practicioner of marketing, and a former magician (age 10). Watch in awe as I explain why our human species has trouble predicting the future, why some of my online-video foresight has been subject to such annoying external factors (not my own failures, of course), and how marketers survive. Then gaze in bewilderment as I change the subject so artfully that you conclude with a round of applause for my genius, and your keen intellect and humor for appreciating it.

As you loyal readers surely know, this blog has periodically devoted itself to predicting the future of online video (see 2006 post), and my soon-to-be-published “Beyond Viral” has a short chapter that attempts some quite risky futurspection*. It may not surprise you that it was the last chapter I wrote, the one I procrastinated the most, and the one that will surely be wrong in as many ways as it’s right.

But you and me? We’re a lot alike in that way. We are all clueless at predicting the future, even though we’re masters at looking back in time to convince ourselves otherwise. We revise history to confirm that we purposely selected the path we stumbled into quite by chance. Ask yourself about the last major change you made (change in job, relationship, geography, etc.). If it was more than a year ago, the reasons you recall justifying it are entirely different from the ones that caused it. By now your psychological white blood cells have attacked that virus of a notion, but let’s move on… Common, drop it I said. Dropppp it. Keep reading. Good boy.

There are, of course, a number of problems our species has with making predictions:

1) We can’t escape “present bias” in making  predictions (a subject well explained in Dan Gilbert’s “Stumbling on Happiness“). For instance, in this 1960s futuristic view of today’s technology (video below), you’ll see that both members of the household enjoy the use of “televisions” (not monitors) and hand write communication that is sent from a “post office” in their very homes. What makes this video so humorous, of course, is that it completely overlooks the changes in gender roles. Wife is spending, and husband is busy using his multiple monitors to figure out how to pay for them. Oh, and neither have apparently adjusted their hair for the future.

I encourage you to check out Gilbert’s book if you share my interest in pursuing happiness, spiritual curiosity, amazement with psychology. I believe my next book (yes it’s time already to think about that) will be partially drawing upon Gilbert’s wisdom to provide marketers with new and entertaining ways to manipulate us transparently: let’s call it transmanipulation*. Does that sound odd? Than you haven’t seen my video about why I decided to become a marketer (click to see video about my experience with the $1.25 “flying ghost”).

Where was I? Oh- check out this video and ask yourself why it’s odd. The multiple monitors? The pen reader? The haircuts?

2) We tend to overestimate the short-term changes, and underestimate the long-term ones. (Better put by Naughton in 2008, “THE FIRST Law of Technology says we invariably overestimate the short-term impact of new technologies while underestimating their longer-term effects.” When I began imagining the future of online video in 2006, I expected online-video and television to have merged by now. But I failed to imagine far more interesting things like how we’re slowly beginning to consume more video from our smart phones, and about how television and online video continue to co-exist.

The big stuff creeps up on us like the frog in water that gets slowly hotter (legend has it that he’d jump out immediately if it was boiling to begin with). If you haven’t heard this analogy before, or investigated the flaws in it, then you really need to spend more time with some marketers.

3) Vested interests retard progress. This quote, from a wonderful 1950s article in Popular Mechanics predicting 2000, explains this challenge well. When I imagined integrated online-video and television, I underestimated how the economic interest by cable providers would delay what is readily available. Although ANYONE with moderate income can enjoy online video from their HDTV, few do. That’s because most of us are so lazy or uninformed that we default to the box that Comcast or Verizon sell or rent us. Then we laugh about how our grandmother is still renting a rotary phone from Mah Bell.

Predictions for 2000 (Popular Mechanics, January 1950)

Yes, friends, today’s technology is not entirely driven by possibilities and your preferences and demand. You’ll get what the economy rewards, even if that means you’ll buy your iPhone and iPad and give up Flash. And you’ll switch from one telecommunications provider with great coverage and low prices to another… because your emotional desire for beautiful and prestigious gadgets overrides your logic. Sorry, folks. The brain is the rabbit in the “hare versus turtle” tale. Bet on the heart.

Wait this time I switched subjects by accident not on purpose. But just out of curiosity, did you click the word “retard” in this section’s title?

4) We selectively recall predictions we and others called accurately (and ignore or forget the ones that were wrong unless they were wonderfully and profoundly wrong). This inarguable psychological nuance is the basis for a booming industry of futurists and psychics. Even their victims help their cause, like many Notradamus faithfuls do when selectively interpreting his predictions. But before you feel too proud to be above that, consider why you might visit a psychic… then later recall just a few of the things he/she predicted quite accurately. You know the Pied Piper is manipulating you, but dang that pipe plays a mesmorizingly* attractive tune.

While in 2006 I predicted fairly well the consolidation of online-video sites and the evolution of a network aggregation model (Hulu), I also thought some online-video stars would become television and film stars. Whoops- failed to appreciate that the television/film economy still mostly under estimates or snubs “weblebrities,” and that many have gained more income and larger audiences by NOT being plucked from web obscurity and graced with attention from talent agencies, representatives and producers. I’m also seeing more clearly that what makes a web star (talent, self sufficiency, persistence, social networking, interaction with audience, thick skin, diversity of skills) is quite different from what makes a television or film star (good looks, acting chops, Hollywood network, good timing, the right gene pool, ass kissing).

And of course sometimes I like predicting things unlikely just to generate some controversy or get people to think.

So why, you ask, am I reflecting on the “problems of predicting the future of online video” (or any crystal ball gazing)? You didn’t ask that, but I made you think you did.

Well its’ pretty simple. I’m using this post as an exercise in addressing cognitive dissonance with public use of rationalization, ego defense and misdirection. But now you think you saw that all along, right? In 2006 I predicted “marketers will get smarter” about online video. And although financial predictions suggest 2011 the space will flourish, I failed big time on that account. As a career marketer, I should have known one thing with certainty. We marketers will not get smarter in a year, or even a dozen years. We’re an impressive group with lots of sizzle, but smarter? So naive I can be.

We marketers lack the balls to sell or the intellect to create something. But we’re psychological masters of that odd space between creating (Beta tapes were good) and selling (VHS tapes were adopted), so we market!

Sure it's snake oil. We both know that. But isn't it fun to pretend it will solve all your problems and make you happy forever?!

And you’ll watch with amazement at our brilliance! Stand with mouths agape as we’re targeting important segments, generating unique consumer insights, identifying real and perceived value propositions, engaging and converting prospects, articulating benefits not features, and (of course) executing flawlessly. Yes you’ll watch our show like first-grade children enjoying their first magic show. Some will see our slight of hands, but all will leave with astonishment and wonder.

(Insert applause here)

* I made us the words in asterisks, and I hereby trademark them (c) Kevin Nalty 2010.

Want Your Ad to Go Old-Spice Viral? You’re More Likely to Develop Abs Like Isaiah Mustafa.

When I see my sweet AdAge pour more gas on the “Old-Spice goes viral” story, I feel like it’s time to remind my fellow marketers that they’ve got a better shot of developing (the shirtless actor) Isaiah Mustafa‘s abs than getting their TV or online-video spot viral.

Your man will never look like me, and your video will never go as viral.

This is another excellent example of the exception not the rule. Old-Spice’s dramatization is funny, slick, self-deprecating and memorable. Like other viral commercials, it stands out. It’s worthy of the 5 plus million views. But remember that people as obscure as me (nalts) with smaller audiences than me can fetch that each month. The one-hit wonder has given way to the webstars that are now building sustainable audiences, and they’ll promote your brand for less than it cost to groom Isaiah’s horse.

Now ask your friends and family to tell you the last time they sent or received a link to a commercial. Not your buds in the agency and marketing circles, but your friend next door that doesn’t understand what the hell you do for a living.

Television ads occasionally go viral, but viral is largely dead. We’re still seeing some twitches from the corpse, but the age of viral commercials will not see a resurgence. If you don’t believe me, read Beyond Viral when it comes out in a month or so (it’s already on Amazon, so I have bragging rights on that).

Maybe after a few more Benson & Hedges and my pension, I'll hear this damned machine's alarm. Wait, never mind. I sold my hearing aid for my third Scotch.

Now you read this, but like an elderly, smoking woman in Vegas, you’ll still play the odds. That’s fine. Just don’t bet the farm, eh? And hedge the bet- step away from the roulette table now and then and try the nickel slots.

GoDaddy is Listening: Online-Video Contest Case Study

I’ve written many times about what separates a good online-video contest from the myriad of failures. I’d like to add an important attribute that has been demonstrated recently by GoDaddy: listening and adapting.

GoDaddy broke one of The Cardinal Rules of a good online-video contest by providing a meager first-place prize and even less for “runner’s up.” As I often remind marketers, my personal incentive to enter a contest is driven by the “runner’s up” prizes, since I’m a rare winner and serial runner’s up (Butterfingers, Oreos, Panasonic, etc).

Jared (the King of Online-Video Contests, rivaled by his queen, SlatersGarage and his court jester ZackScott) tells the story of how his note to GoDaddy helped prompt the Internet hosting leader to up its prize from a paltry $3K to $100,000.

Jared wrote GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons via the titan’s blog, and urged him to “up the ante.” The quick response from Parsons: “Dear Jared, I hear you. I’m on it. Bob”

Days later, Jared got a note from a GoDaddy employee:

the prizes were increased as follows:  First place = $100,000, Second place = $50,000, 3rd place =$25,000 — then some other great prizes (hardware, software, camcorders, etc.) for an additional 10 places.  Landing page changes at to reflect this update are forthcoming — which I expect later today.

So, Jared – thank you for your feedback!  I am anticipating your submission as along with your peers.  I am coordinating the contest — so please send additional comments my way.  If you are good with it, I’d like to brainstorm with you ways to announce the winners.

The change is non trivial ($175K in total prizes), but more impressive is a big company listening to a subject matter expert, and adapting quickly. This earns the company more equity (albeit unmeasurable) than any Superbowl commercial. Click image below to see that, indeed, the contest has raised the stakes as promised:

Online-Video Marketing That… Doesn’t Feel Like Advertising

GE launched a health campaign today on YouTube that is part of trend toward softer advertising that, I believe, will have better long-term dividends even if it’s hard to measure.

GE is taking a lightly branded approach to promoting health and wellness by sponsoring a “Healthymagination” challenge among people on YouTube. There’s very subtle branding from GE, and no “drive to” play. In fact the company is not trying to build a microsite, and is aggregating commissioned videos on Howcast’s YouTube channel. Now millions of people will watch and participate in health-challenge videos by iJustine, Alphacat, Rhett & Link, Smosh, me and other YouTube people with large followings.

This is about as far from an intrusive yet measurable pre-roll advertisement as you can get, but GE’s brand will now be associated with health — broadly across a number of demographics.

Okay I doctored this banner with the faces of YouTubers. But click to see real channel.

As someone participating in this health challenge, I am certainly biased. So let’s look instead at Pfizer’s YouTube homepage advertising “takeover” in January, which was centered around videos the company commissioned about health and fitness. The promoted brand (Chantix for smoking cessation) was present but not “in your face.” The insight that may have spawned this approach? Smokers aren’t exactly going to dive into a video channel about quitting.

In a current campaign with a similar “hands off” approach, Rhett and Link’s I Love Local Commercials campaign was sponsored by Microbilt. But the video series is a celebration of cheesy local ads for small business (Microbilt’s target). There’s no forced messages about how Microbilt offers credit, debt collection or background screening to small businesses. People can get excited about cheesy commercials or health (especially when a charity benefits). But it’s hard to get jazzed about debt collection, smoking cessation or light bulbs. It’s the same reason I used Mr. Complicated to promote Clear Point (who cares about staffing technology?).

Brian Bradley, MicroBilt’s EVP of Strategy & Emerging Markets, acknowledges it’s hard to put an ROI on programs like this (parenthetically I addressed this topic on Tuesday at a marketing conference, and here’s the deck).

“Although the initial work that lead to “I Love Local Commercials” was very spontaneous, it is part of a body of work at MicroBilt focused on building awareness and establishing thought leadership across market segments, ” Bradley told me via e-mail. “So that our traditional marketing and sales efforts are more successful.” Bradley said, for example, that if his sales people call a business prospect who hasn’t heard of MicroBilt, they can quickly find out it’s a real company.

It’s tempting for us marketers to force our brand so we can realize (or assume) a near-term ROI. But sometimes the most effective long-term strategy is to have a gentle presence while something bigger, more interesting, and more entertaining takes center stage. This is more instinctive to corporate communication or public-relations people, but they’re generally without budgets to sustain even small pilots like these.

The results may not show up in website visits, instant purchase, and awareness/recall studies. But I would argue that test/control or pre/post qualitative studies (while being cost prohibitive for these case studies), would indicate that target customers have higher favorability of these brands. I don’t think pre-rolls and banners could do that alone.

And isn’t that what separates the AIGs from the Disneys?

Exclusive: How Much Money YouTube Partners Make

{Update from 2013 reveals YouTube stars making $4 million plus per year}

How much do YouTube stars make each year? Oh for goodness sakes. Just like my same 5 YouTube videos (see right column of channel page here) represent the majority of my online views… It seems that most of WillVideoForFood’s blog traffic comes from people searching for how much YouTubers make. If you’re curious, read on. If you want to make big bucks, buy my book first. You’ll still be facing tough odds, but at least you’ll wander into the jungle equipped with some survival tools.

We YouTube “Partners” (or “stars” as I hate saying) are all contractually forbidden to share our revenue. But I’ve given hints and clues over time. For those of you who Googled your way here, I’m both a marketer/advertiser and a creator/YouTuber, so that gives me two lenses into this Da Vinci-Code like mystery. Davinci made me think of “Da Bears.”

I’d estimate there are have at least a few dozen YouTube Partners earning $100K per year. That’s great money if you’re in your 20s or 30s and have minimal costs in production or overhead (like 4 kids and a horrific mortgage). But it’s a rounding error for a professional content creator or network.

To calculate a particular Parner’s income, here are some tips:

  • You basically take the Partner’s total views for the month, multiply it by a fraction of a penny, and you have a rough idea. TubeMogul‘s Marketplace shows some of the most-viewed people (and their monthly views). But remember: the most-subscribed are not necessarily most-viewed and vice versa. YouTube doesn’t give a hoot how many subscribers you have (although that certainly helps drive views, but increasingly it seems less powerful than being a “related video”). In general, the commercial content is getting more daily views but the amateurs have a lock on subscribers.
  • Most ads are placed by advertisers based on total 1K views, but some is on a per-click basis (CPC text ads placed by Google Adwords/Adsense). Google/YouTube is usually paid by an agency or media buyer a CPM (cost per thousand, say between $5 and $25 dollars per thousand views), then shares some of that with the creator. This can be highly misleading, because:
    • Some views earn nothing (if they’re embedded and no ad follows it).
    • And increasingly advertisers are paying a high premium for specific content they commission, target, or hand select. Sometimes this might average a few bucks and others it might be much higher… $25 CMP was the published rate of InVideo ads and I know of specific integrated campaigns that command a higher premium from YouTube. Yey!
  • Another confounding variable: potty-mouthed creator turns away advertisers. So watch the ads on your Partner for a while. Are they premium InVideo ads with accompanying display (square) ads? Or are they garbage Adwords/Adsense ads?
  • The text ads may SOMETIMES be paid on a per-click basis, which can make them fruitless or profitable depending on people clicking and buying the advertiser’s product (the latter must occur, or a savvy advertiser will quickly stop the campaign that’s raping them of click dollars and not generating business). I was telling my YouTube buds to turn these off because they’re ugly and don’t make much money, but a few of them gave me a stern stare like they knew otherwise. So whatever… maybe they make money and maybe they don’t. I don’t get a breakdown on them, and they’re still ugly.
  • Then you have to factor in “sponsored videos,” where a YouTuber promotes a product or service for a flat fee (or variable based on views) via Hitviews or related companies. That can easily be more than YouTube shells out per month for ad sharing. The going rate here is incredibly wide: from $1K to $20K and higher per video.

So in conclusion:

  1. Do your own math using monthly views on TubeMogul and assuming some CPM (cost per thousand), but recognize YouTube takes a cut and some of the advertising inventory isn’t sold or is driven by keyword Google adsense text thingies. Maybe the creator/partner gets a few bucks per thousand views and maybe more or less.
  2. Use some of the assumptions above to calibrate your estimate if you’re trying to peak into the W-9s of your favorite “Stars” like Fred. There are now dozens of popular YouTube people that make a full-time living on YouTube revenue, and I’d guess a lot of $50K-$100K per year people. I am not among the full-timers. With a family of 6, I gotta have a day job too. But Shaycarl, Sxephil, Charles Trippy, Michael Buckley and many more… they’re full-time at this. If I was making the bucks I’m making via YouTube after college, I’d probably go full-time too. Fred? Let’s just say he’s got college covered, or a nice nest-egg.
  3. Before you get excited (or jealous), it’s a long haul to cashville. And if you start with the hope of making money, you’re doomed. You need to LOVE it, and be extremely patient as the road to loads of views is tougher to climb, and requires an ass-load of persistence. Start as a hobby and “just keep swimming.”
  4. Finally, there are two forces at odds that impact the sustainability of this revenue for YouTube amateurs. First, we’ll probably see continued competition from more professionally-produced content that fetches higher ad dollars because it feels safer to squeamish media buyers (see, I’m not calling them all dense anymore… only the ones that don’t read this vlog). But the good news is that dollars are projected to grow dramatically. Currently, as a marketer, I’d argue that YouTube is selling itself short.

How’s that? About as specific I can be without breaking my contract or confidence from my friends.

I know some of you peeps know more than I do, so feel free to comment below anonymously or not. Da bears.

Video & Your Smart Business Marketing Plan

Welcome WVFF Guest Blogger
Larry Kless

New Year 2010 Signpost2009 proved the power of video and social media can change the world.

We experience the Presidential Inauguration with millions of friends on Facebook. We read breaking news stories from citizen journalists on Twitter. We saw live as-it-happens video on YouTube hours before the stories reached our televisions and the standard reports by traditional news agencies were read.

More than any other year 2009 saw the rise of video as one of the most effective communication mediums in world history.

Virtually, every aspect of video is now included in business. From concept, scripting, storyboards, production, editing, encoding, storing, managing, distributing, syndicating, tracking, analyzing, etc… Content producers, media companies, small and medium-sized business all have the same opportunities to build their business and become online video publishers like any major corporation.

2009 also saw a shift in how we do business, from the personal to the virtual, in boardrooms, in our living rooms and especially,  from our mobile devices; which will soon do everything and anything we can imagine.

The stresses of the 2008 economy saw businesses cut their travel budgets, so it was no surprise that after more than 20 years videoconferencing found its resurgence as, “the next big thing” and video became the vehicle for our conversation.

TelePresence became a household word. Powered by Cisco TelePresence Solutions nonstop marketing efforts, IP video chat, WebConferencing, collaboration and live video streaming moved to the forefront as many businesses and media companies looked for ways to connect people and their team members to broaden consumer markets and publishing.

In 2010 I predict the most important area for video marketing and publishing will be the value video brings to the rate of return, ROI. Analytics will be big! It is how we measure and track performance, but it’s not going to be just about numbers, it’s going to be about engagement and reach.

Since “views” is what ultimately drives revenue we will see the emergence and demand for a standardization metric in both the industry and in business. We will also see an increase in social media metrics focused on search, discovery and optimization.

It is no longer enough for companies to deploy video solutions, business will need to engage in the communities where their audiences are through a variety of social networks. Conversation tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube will help marketers extend their reach and promote their brands.

Video is now part of the strategy within the ecosystem of marketing, and not just part of online marketing, but it must be part of everyone’s overall business plan.

Finally, in 2010 we will see more focus on high quality content, storytelling and a Smart Video Business Model (SVBM) will emerge to help foster that growth.

Read Larry’s WebBlog
Website: Online Video Publishing
Larry’s Vator News Channel
On Twitter @ LinkedIn

VidCon: Community & Online-Video Industry Morphs in July 2010 Event

This video shows Hank Green (with his lesser known 3rd Green brother) announcing VidCon, taking place July 9-11, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Here’s the official VidCon website.

youtube gathering july 2010 la vidcon

For those of you familiar with the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green), I don’t need to tell you what an enormous connection they have with the vibrant and growing community of online-video. They’re funny, smart, and selfless; this week they’ll be orchestrating another “Project for Awesome,” where they encourage fellow video creators to make a video about a charity… to “reduce world suck.”

So it wasn’t surprising that they’ve attracted the “Who’s Who” of online video… literally the most-viewed and most-subscribed video creators of YouTube and beyond. Also- if you know Hank and John, you’ll know that the admission price is to cover costs, and proceeds are for charity. These guys aren’t interested in making money, but these events cost a lot to do well. So I’ve got little sympathy for those few dozen people who feel a price tag is “anti-community, man”- sing that tune to your waitress at IHOP, kids.

For you online-video industry people who are less familiar with the community side, I have one piece of advice. Attend. If I could only attend one conference this year, it would be this one.

There will be a series of professional tracks covering advertising, marketing and production. But of course you can see the “brains” of online video at any conference. This one you’ll see the brain and the heart. And you really don’t know online-video until you’ve seen the heart… watched the most-viewed amateurs interacting with the fans… seen the groundswell of enthusiasm about a medium that’s changing people’s lives… see the friendships among the talented people (and me).

The informal YouTube gatherings — like 7/7/7 — have brought hundreds and even thousands together in various cities, but this one’s actually organized and planned. So it’s likely to be a huge event. Book your hotel early, friends.

If you’re interested in speaking slots, panels or sponsorships (imagine how many videos your logo can show up on, and how many millions of times it will be seen), let Hank know or shoot me a note (I’m volunteering to help on the professional side). Much of that will be formalized by the end of January. In the mean time, follow VidCon on Twitter.

Best Resources for Online Video ‘n Marketing, Farty

Best Blogs and Websites about Online-Video Marketing and Social Media

Online-Video RSS

What’s on your RSS or what sites do you visit related to online-video and marketing? Please comment below, especially in the likely event I missed something. I’ll update this, and you and I can find this post again by searching the word “FARTY,” which unlikely appears elsewhere here. I could be wrong.

Yes it’s time again for a round-up of some must-read blogs & peeps related to online video, marketing social media, and the shizzle.

Here’s the problem about finding good websites and blogs about online video. If you add “online video” to a search query, you’ll get a lot of videos about marketing. And the social-media space is just too damned cluttered. Any idiot can write an article about that. I like the writers that touch on the intersection of online-video and marketing, and don’t stray too far into the self-indulgent world of traditional entertainment and advertising, the desperate starving filmmakers overproducing episodic content, and boring crap about technology providers.

Most of these peeps are smarter than me, but I actually spend most of my day marketing and making videos… not a journalist or professional speaker (although I’m doing more and more… someone help me figure out how to charge to speak please). So although my content will give you great secret or bore you to death, at least it’s mostly practical.

If I missed you, take a cue from Uncle Nalts. Shamelessly self promote below. Unless your blog is about cats.