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YouTube “Stars” Won’t Get Rich. Google Isn’t In The HollyWood Business

searchguy.jpgYouTube is not the answer for you if you are making a “show”. The people who will make money on YouTube will be the people who create videos that solve problems, not entertain.

Think about this for a second. Google’s main goal is to provide relevant results, right? Now why would Google (who owns YouTube) focus on anything but that? They’re not in the “Hollywood business”, they’re in the “relevant solving problems search” business.

Here’s my prediction. Google is going to begin integrating video search results DIRECTLY into the regular Google search results by end of summer if not sooner. That means that anyone who ranks well in YouTube will be force fed into the first page results of Google as YouTube video icons.

Thank about that for another second. Let’s say that you make a video that shows how to plant tulips in your yard. You may have zero presence in Google’s regular search results, but… Right now, there are only a handful (maybe) of videos in YouTube on that topic.

Your video will be skyrocketed into the regular Google rankings, bypassing those seo’rs who have spent years working to get first page listings.

Maybe, yes, but I believe it. I’m like Morpheus.

There’s a very interesting post over at John Batelle’s blog that has a letter from a would-be YouTube publisher that says some negative things about YouTube’s partner program. But it’s a good read, even though it’s anonymous.

The Wall Street Journal also talks about how to become a YouTube star.

Personally, I think that, again, being a YouTube star isn’t going to be all that it’s cracked up to be. You want to be REALLY famous? For now, it’s still gonna take more.

More at Techmeme too.

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15 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Michael @ Freshome
    May 15, 2007 at 12:57 am #

    Who knows online video is so big right now, and someone from Hollywood, or from movie industry might see you. All depends on how good is the stuff you upload on YouTube.

    And the press can always help you, just think about this boy – http://www.jimkukral.com/sometimes-simply-taking-chances-is-your-best-marketing-effort/

    All the press was talking about him.

  2. andrew wee
    May 15, 2007 at 3:31 am #

    Joe Blow might not make the transition to network TV easily, but you can bet your bottom dollar the TV execs are watching the most popular videos on youtube for sure. [which is the basis for them broadcasting the most popular clips on tv].

    Like everything else, whether a paperback book, or a youtube clip, or a webmasterradio clip gives you the leverage to make it to mass media depends on your media strategy.

    I can think of at least a dozen ways to parlay a popular video series.

    Those guys at AskANinja.com can get a feature film done easily if they chose to go at it that way.

  3. Shawn Collins
    May 15, 2007 at 6:54 am #

    I agree, Jim. I think video should be part of an overall strategy.

    But to make videos on YouTube the basis for a success plan is pretty flawed.

    Maybe a clip show will pay “stars” $500 a clip here and there – nothing to retire on.

  4. Jim Kukral
    May 15, 2007 at 7:54 am #

    @Andrew… The one key thing that Askaninja and the other “stars” have so far is that they are engaging. Either funny or informative and entertaining. Not everyone, not even close to everyone, can be that. Engaging is hard.

    @Shawn… Yeah. Like I said, no stars are going to get super rich from Youtube. Maybe from the attention of being found, but not from a paycheck from Youtube.

  5. andrew wee
    May 15, 2007 at 8:14 am #

    Jim: the engaging – funny/informative/insightful/entertaining bit is something that everyone has to get a slice of, whether you’re a purebred internet marketer, a starving musician who wants some traffic juice from his myspace profile, or a teenybopper with movie aspirations. like they say ‘content is king’.

    Shawn: Have you checked out Metacafe.com? Some of the guys are banking about $800 a week from their videos. Some of the “magic trick revealed” videos have racked up $14k or more.

    A number of the video sites which aggregate Youtube vids are using an algorithmn to split google adsense revenue.

    Video is the future, it’s just a matter of embedding affiliate links using some of the technology you highlight over at affiliatetip, or using it as a branding opportunity to springboard to something bigger.

  6. Shawn Collins
    May 15, 2007 at 8:23 am #

    @Andrew – there are certainly some people making significant money, but I’d say the results are not typical when there is a gimmick involved.

    In the case of a “magic trick revealed”, I think that supports Jim’s thesis that “The people who will make money on YouTube will be the people who create videos that solve problems, not entertain.”

    Granted, that’s a mix of problem solving and entertainment.

    I certainly agree that video is the future – I’ve been tinkering with it a lot for the past year. ;-)

  7. andrew wee
    May 15, 2007 at 9:54 am #

    Shawn,
    Good points.

    Although I typically like to benchmark myself against the top, rather than the median.

    Anyway, it seems with these social things that the trivial and frivolous stuff tends to win out most of the time, and it’s mastering the trivial which’ll get you the traffic.

    I think some weird, offbeat thing is going to beat out an info type video any day of the week (talking about immediate monetization). The info type video will probably yield more in the long term, especially if it leads to consulting or other type of high value gigs.

  8. Jonathan (Trust)
    May 15, 2007 at 12:26 pm #

    “The people who will make money on YouTube will be the people who create videos that solve problems, not entertain.”

    I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of the entertaining ones making good money and jumping off their YouTube success into other ventures. I’m seen a few people I had on my favorites, singers, getting record deals. One I was watching just announced working on a TV shows based off his YouTube “stardom”. Some of them have websites or are setting up sites to drive some of that traffic too. Most people go to YouTube to be entertained. There’s money in it, some are still figuring the possibilities.

    As far as video, Google and the SERPS. I don’t see much changing at all. They have a link to video on the home page, they might push it more. But making a video isn’t going to shoot you to page 1. If they do something, here’s what more likely to happen.

    When Froogle first came out, many people were worried about Froogle results in the main results. What did they do?

    Product search results for newegg cpu fan
    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=t&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2005-07,GGLD:en&q=newegg+cpu+fan

    They might have
    Video search results for……………… where they have the product search results now.

    The main serps aren’t changing much. There are good sites, authority sites on the first page. They’re not going to lose their spots because someone decided to make a video.

  9. Trust
    May 15, 2007 at 12:28 pm #

    “The people who will make money on YouTube will be the people who create videos that solve problems, not entertain.”

    I don’t know. I’ve seen a lot of the entertaining ones making good money and jumping off their YouTube success into other ventures. I’m seen a few people I had on my favorites, singers, getting record deals. One I was watching just announced working on a TV shows based off his YouTube “stardom”. Some of them have websites or are setting up sites to drive some of that traffic too. Most people go to YouTube to be entertained. There’s money in it, some are still figuring the possibilities.

    As far as video, Google and the SERPS. I don’t see much changing at all. They have a link to video on the home page, they might push it more. But making a video isn’t going to shoot you to page 1. If they do something, here’s what more likely to happen.

    When Froogle first came out, many people were worried about Froogle results in the main results. What did they do?

    Product search results for newegg cpu fan
    http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=t&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2005-07,GGLD:en&q=newegg+cpu+fan

    They might have
    Video search results for……………… where they have the product search results now.

    The main serps aren’t changing much. There are good sites, authority sites on the first page. They’re not going to lose their spots because someone decided to make a video.

  10. Lyndon Antcliff
    May 19, 2007 at 7:36 am #

    It’s possible youtube can be more of a sprinboard into something that will earn, rather than being an earner in itself.

    I’m not going to base my retirement fund around the business model. ;}

  11. Eric Schiffer Fan
    June 4, 2010 at 2:24 am #

    Good insights. But I must say, there are those who really get a huge following after only appearing in YouTube. One example who comes in mind is Marie Digby.

  12. Stephanie
    March 14, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

    well… this is for some time ago… I guess now you regret saying this, many people now live out of youtube.. and live veeeery well!

  13. Donna
    February 13, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    @stephanie Jim is still right. Expert Village, a Youtube channel that consists of nothing but "How to," has almost a billion more total channel views (2.3 billion) than Youtube's number 1 partner Ray William Johnson (1.5 billion) . RWJ old videos are less valuable as his new ones. While older Expert Village videos are still as valuable in the long run as their new ones.

    Youtube stars may make $100,000 a year; if they are lucky enough to get everyone who watched them to click on an ad; which we know doesn't happen so their real salary is probably well under $100,000. But $100,000 is nothing when you consider that those Jersey Show kids make per episode; they made $1.3 million filming those 13 episodes in Italy .

    Youtube's headquarters are in LA. So Youtube gives more favorable treatment to partners who live nearby; that's why many youtubers move there. However, $100K is more like $50,000; CA has some of the highest taxes in the country, the average house in a good neighborhood costs $700,000, and everything their costs more! You'd make far more being a Dental Hygienist or tech engineer anywhere in the USA than being a Youtuber in LA.

    The only people interested in Youtube stars are those who watch a large amount of Youtube videos. This audience is very small compared to those who search on Google to solve everyday problems.
    So if you upload a good tutorial on Youtube, you'll rank in thousands of viewers with far less work. You won't have tweet, facebook, or even respond to your viewers feedback like the "stars" do. Nor will Youtube bother you about coming to live in LA or North Hollywood. And your viewers are more likely to click on your ads than the popular Youtubers (as their ads tend to be very general in nature). Because the ads will be from the sellers who carry the products the viewer needs to complete the tutorial. The other benefit from making tutorial videos, is that a good one will never go out of style. So you can make money on it for the rest of your life.

    So this proves exactly what Jim said earlier, it truly doesn't pay to be a star on Youtube. Especially when the competition among Youtube's partner program is going to become more fierce by the end of this year. As Youtube is planning on launching channels led by well-known stars and entities slowly throughout the year; Shaq, Madonna's Dance Channel, Ashton Kutcher, Rann Wilson of "The Office," and Amy Poehler of "Parks and Recreations," Wall Street Journal, TMZ, WWE, Sofia Vergara, Tony Hawk, and more. What are the odds of your Youtube video getting featured on the front page when Youtube has Madonna making exclusive Youtube content for them? Less than nil.

    So if you want to make real money off Youtube, you're better off remaking expertvillages' top 5 highest viewed "how tos" than trying to be the next Youtube "star" in an already crowded webspace. Five years from now, Youtube's most subscribed partners will be huge corporations. RWJ, Michelle Phan, Shaytard, ShaneDawson, and Sxephil viewers will look minuscule compared to the corporations . But someone who made a "How to fix a tire" videol will still get high views through Google searches.

    YouTube Announces TV Initiative With 100 Niche Channels: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/youtube-tv-

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