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.

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?

TubeMogul and DynamicLogic to Prove Video Sells

In this NewTeeVee piece by Liz Shannon Miller, Tubemogul CEO Brett Wilson announces research with DynamicLogic that will finally show the ever debated link between online video and sales.

He also proclaims his disdain for the words “viral video” and “view.”

TubeMogul's Brett Wilson Hints at DynamicLogic Study to Show Sales and Video Relationship. DynamicLogic is One of the Leading Web Research Firms.

With my luck this study will be released the day after my final manuscript is due for Beyond Viral. Don’t ask me when this book is published because I can’t remember. I see manuscript in a few weeks.

Beyond Viral by Kevin Nalty. You Can't Judge a Book By Looking at Its Cover

Trivia: Time Watching Television Versus Online Video?

I’m fairly immersed in the online-video space, but would have had to “phone a friend” if you asked me some of these questions on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”

  • Are we consuming more or less television now that we have online video and the mobile players (3 screens)?
  • What percent of our live television viewing has given way to “time shifted” (via DVRs, TiVo, AppleTV and stuff)?
  • How much time do we Americans spend in front of the television versus watching online video?

The answers may surprise you. Try to guess before peeking.

  • As you might have gathered, we’re actually consuming more television according to Nielsen’s “Three Screen Report” (despite the other two screens: mobile and computer).
  • I must be in a small minority because I watch precious little live television. The rest of the nation consumes only about 2 hours of time-shifted television per week, compared to about 35 hours of live television. Obviously our attention differs dramatically. For instance, my kids are blaring Nickelodeon behind me as I type. But I just noticed an ad for Miranda Cosgrove’s new CD, so maybe that counts.
  • Now for the zinger. A single amateur can sometimes command a larger audience than well-known television shows. I just made the graphic below for my book, “Beyond Viral” (Wiley). Pretty wild that one dude can swing 50 million views in the past 30 days (according to TubeMogul). Dane Boedigheimer, who produces GagFilms and AnnoyingOrange, was late to the YouTube party because he was soaking in the now set Metacafe sun… but now he’s knocking out more than 1.6 million views per day.
One YouTube "webstar" commands 50 million views in the past 30 days. That has him rivaling audiences of many well-known television shows.
  • But before you think we’ve all migrated to online video, our average consumption pales when compared to television. We early adopters are still early. Yes the folks that gobble up 35 hours of television are only watching 22 minutes of online video according to Nielsen Wire’s recent chart below. I suppose those 22 minutes might be longer if the majority of us made it past that first 60 seconds (which we don’t according to this way outdated Tubemogul report).
Video consumption by medium by age... seems we're still only snacking online video while we're feasting television.
  • Before you make any major conclusions based on this data, it’s important to remember two things: First, if we looked at a bell curve, we’d observe that these numbers are highly skewed by those that won’t be bothered with online video. I know many people who have abandoned television entirely. Second, this behavior is changing rapidly. For instance, there’s been a 30% plus increase in our simultaneous use of television and web (now I’m hearing Flapjack in the background).
  • I wish it was TreeTrunks or the little hand alien from Bravest Warriors. She’s so soothing.

TubeMogul: 1 GB Per-Video Distribution, Upload, Analytics and File Backup

TubeMogul upgraded its total file size to 1 GB, and Brett Wilson (its CEO and founder) claims they did it for me (I begged).

You see, if you’re posting videos online, you might as well post everywhere you can (even if 95% of your views are on YouTube). As long as you set up your own accounts on the dozens of sites that TubeMogul feeds, you can upload once and be done.

But I’m also adamant about uploading the maximum size because I still regret compressing my earlier videos for convenience. So until now, I’ve been creating a Tubemogul version (under 300MB) and a YouTube version (up to 1GB). Now life is simple again because TubeMogul raised its limit to 1 GB!

TubeMogul also allows you to run reports on all of your video views, regardless of website. It’s also an easy way to find out if one of the smaller sites is featuring your video (since I don’t exactly visit daily).

There’s another secret benefit to TubeMogul. Even if you have 13 hard drives, you’re bound to lose a video file or two. TubeMogul, unlike most of the video-sharing sites it feeds, allows you to download your old videos in their original file format (as opposed to a compressed or converted files). This has saved me a couple times.

I write often about TubeMogul because there’s nothing else like it, and it’s free to creators. Sometimes I feel guilty that they don’t charge me, so I pimp them so I can sleep at night.

I’d sleep even better at night, if TubeMogul replaced that tired thumbnail of Brett from its homepage… and maybe put up a Nalts video or something. Or a quote from me: “If you’re not using TubeMogul to distribute and monitor your videos, then you’re probably the guy who misses rotary phones and 56K modems.”

Viral Video Case Studies… and cute dog costumes

I’ve developed a fairly comprehensive list of my sponsored videos, and the case studies surrounding them. See this page on to review the brand goals and see the videos. I’m glad to have a TubeMogul profile so potential clients can see accurate, real-time details about my views and demographics (see chart below).

My most recent client,, has posted the “Out of Video Ideas” on its homepage… so please visit and comment!

This weekend we’re going to try dressing up babysitterofnalts‘ Rusty (see his famous video) in various Halloween costumes based on a ReadersDigest article about dog costumes. So if you see Charlie walking around with Rusty this weekend, watch for the hidden camera.

nalts demographicsAs I said in yesterday’s post about CPM, the future profit model for online-video creators has sponsored content at its heart. Nothing makes more sense for creators and brands, and it’s much less irritating for viewers than those interuption ads on Hulu.

Park Your Own Subdomain Free at (who needs TinyURL?)

ofnalts usernamesI don’t recall if I’ve ever announced that you can park your own free subdomain (username) at, which you can “point” at any website or URL. It makes that complex YouTube video URL (or other long URLs) short, simple, memorable and pretty.

I use it in lieu of TinyURL because I can link to my YouTube videos easily inside a Twitter post… and it’s fun to create my own name instead of using a random code on TinyURL. BTW- you can now park a vanity TinyURL name, but most of the good ones are gone. Alan (fallofautumndistro) already snatched! And I parked a few YouTube celebrity names, but had them point to other people’s channel pages. Moo haa haaa. Try Or

This free little OfNalts application was created by Tim Breslin (of Xlntads). Tim saw a lot of YouTube usernames starting with a word and followed by “ofnalts.” This was prompted because I needed an account for Jo and naltswife didn’t look right. So we went with wifeofnalts. Tim Breslin, while we’re on the subject, is the guy I tried to convince to create a multi-site upload tool before there was TubeMogul. But he blew me off.

Insert footage from “It’s a Wonderful LIfe”: Sam Wainright to Jane Bailey: Still got the nose to the old grindstone, eh? Jane, I offered to let George in on the ground floor in plastics, and he turned me down cold!

Where was I? Oh- Here’s how ofnalts works…

  1. You simply go to, and click “register” (ignore the username/password prompt).
  2. Then you put in your username (whatever you want), password twice, and e-mail address. But no worries- you won’t have to wait for a confirmation e-mail.
  3. Next you enter your long URL and hit confirm. Now you own
  4. Now your personalized [insert name] is listed on the bottom of the ofnalts page, and you can use it anywhere to redirect people to the complex URL. Note you don’t use www.

Sounds more complicated than it is. Once you use it once, you’re hooked.

And a subdomain on ofnalts is a lot more charming than the overused tinyurl.

Avoid Regret Pixelation Hangover When Posting Videos

I’ve lost original video files before, and sometimes even the compressed versions. I’ve had to rip my own video from Revver so that I could own some version, and it’s a horrible pixelation relative to the original file (or even the compressed low-rez version). Now I have a few simple rules to save you from this agony:

1) Whenever you finish a video, export it as a FULL digital file and stick it on a backup drive (they’re down to .20 cents per gig so there’s no excuse here… don’t buy a 1 terabite drive- get a few cheap 500-750 Gigs… it’s a hassle, but the more drives you have the damage one crashed drive will inflict). Then kill the master edit file (too big) unless you think there’s a good chance you’ll have to rescore or condense the video (both are hard when the music becomes smooshed with the audio.

2) Upload the best version you can. It pains me that I was uploading 5-15 meg files (when the max on many sites were 100 megs) because it was easy… I could explort as “CD-ROM” in seconds. As a result, my old videos weren’t even taking advantage as the resolution of that time. Now I always upload larger files so they’ll look good as the potential delivery quality options evolve (YouTube feeding to Comcast or Verizon or AppleTV). Sometimes I even upload the full DV file if it’s within the 1 Gig limit.

3) Use the high-end uploader on TubeMogul (by the way, I don’t make money from TubeMogul but if you’re not using it you’re an idiot. You can upload to all the sites in one swoop. Who cares if nobody finds them on Yahoo Video or the dozen other sites. It’s worth a shot, and it helps you in search engines. The company is my favorite video startup and is always adding new features and tools. Well guess what they now allow you to do!? You can download your video in its native form (I believe). That’s huge. How many times have I ripped my own video because it was the best archive. Now I’ll always be able to at least retrieve the highest version I submitted.


10 Famous People That Are Less Popular Than Me (Nalts)

In a move so brilliantly self promotional that I myself am in awe, TubeMogul ranked the top 40 most-viewed users. This is a delicious marketing tactic because (a) we popularity whores cannot resist bragging rights on this, and (b) if you want to pull a “whose your daddy” on me, you have to use TubeMogul. Now I’ve been a TubeMogul fan before TubeMogul existed. I was spending hours a day uploading to multiple sites, and hating every second of it. When my YouTube views took off, I stopped uploading routinely to the wealth of other sites that got paltry views but provide access to long-tail viewing. TubeMogul solves this for me. If I get no views on, at least I don’t have to manually upload or confront that sad fact daily.

So here’s the list of famous people that aren’t yet as popular as me. Wowza.

  1. HBOTubemogul nalts
  2. Rocketboom
  3. CBS Interactive
  4. National Lampoon
  5. PBS
  7. Warner Bros
  8. Fox
  9. Nike
  10. Sony Pictures

I boast playfully about my popularity in this video (which also addresses recent allegations that I abuse animals for video entertainment). Mind you that TubeMogul is measuring creator stats  based on videos that flow to YouTube and other popular sites via Tubemogul’s upload tool (which captures downstream data as well). The larger media properties have two arms tied behind their back on this ranking.. First, they may choose to upload directly to some sites and circumvent Second, many of them are selective about distribution. Does HBO want to provide content to a website that is a potential competitor and doesn’t share advertising revenue?

Interesting stuff, and the ego role I play in this video is really just a mask worn by a child who fears for the end of a nice era.. one where amateurs with low production costs can, even for a moment, rival larger media plays.

P.S. This post was edited this morning once Ambien wore off. You really shouldn’t blog on Ambien.

Nalts discusses animal abuse and Tubemogul

Video View Count: Short Shelf Life vs. Long Tail

forecast video viewsTubeMogul reports on the short shelf life of online videos (courtesy of ReelPopBlog). While it’s true that 25% of video’s views tend to occur within the first 4 days, this is a bit missleading. First, TubeMogul focused on videos exceeding 1,000 views and the website is used more by serious content creators looking for broad distribution. Second, this means that 75% of the videos occur over an extended period beyond four days.I can usually tell within 4 days if I have a hit or a flop, but many of my 650 videos have a “slow boil.” My most popular videos continue to garner views in aggregate, and that exceeds the count of the most recent videos.In a similar model, a blog tends to start with a dozen readers. Then that eventually grows to hundreds and thousands. The delusional blogger begins to believe that his daily posts are read by hundreds. In fact, those visits are aggregated views to the creator’s entire legacy of work. The long, long tail.If I stopped creating videos, it wouldn’t be long (6-12 months) before I was forgotten nearly entirely. But for a period, my old videos would continue to get views as people stumble into them via related videos and random searches.I try to keep a rhythm of creating daily — or every few days — because that fuels viewer interest in my old work and also gives the viewer a reason to subscribe. It also helps keep me from getting constipated. I was constipated yesterday for real. Man did my farts stink.