YouTube “Partners” are contractually obliged to not disclose earnings from Google’s video-sharing property, but that didn’t stop #2 subscribed Ray William Johnson this week. On Thursday he told ReelSEO’s Jeremy Scott that his YouTube ad-share income over the past 12 months (March 2010-March 2011) has surpassed one million dollars.
Johnson, one of few top YouTubers that does not accept sponsorships or product placement, has earned $1 million strictly from YouTube’s advertising-sharing program. In his Tuesday video titled “F-U FORUM,” the 37-year-old New Yorker told his viewers he was tired of YouTube’s “cone of silence” about his “bodacious income.”
“I’m just a regular guy with an entertaining hobby that happens to make a friggin million dollars without leaving my apartment,” Johnson told Scott. “Am I supposed to apologize for that? If you’re jealous just do what I’m doing, and do it better.”
Numerous media articles have covered YouTube “star” income, but few YouTube Partners have revealed their revenue, either because they feared legal backlash from the “search giant,” or they hesitated alienating “fans” and viewers.” Johnson said he’s “tired of pretending he doesn’t earn it” because he “spends about 11 hours a day surfing for killer videos to rip and replay.” Johnson told Scott he was not concerned about potential copyright violations from his creations.
“My use of these moronic clips is covered by what’s called “fair use,” (expletive). And it’s a free form of creative expression because I add some comedic writing to the videos instead of just playing them over and over. Like I’ll say ‘hey look at this douchebag’ and then jump-cut edit myself saying “hey look at this DOUCHE-BAG’ from the opposite side of the video frame.”
YouTube spokesperson Felicia Williams would not confirm Johnson’s claims, but former YouTube Community leader “Big” Joe Smith said it’s “more than plausible.” Smith said Johnson’s nearly 1 billion cumulative views “would conservatively generate in excess of one million dollars.”
Johnson’s claims are also validated by Paul “Renetto” Robinette, who runs the metrics site “MyU2B.” Robinette said his most pessimistic calculations range in the $800,000-$900,000 range, and it’s possible he’ll double his income in the next 6 months based on growth projections.”