Sunday, 17 February 2008

YouTube Partner program explained...

When did you first use YouTube?
  • 2005 possibly if you were really quick off the mark.
  • 2006 is quite likely... Myspace was expanding rapidly at that time and the video hosting it offered was rubbish. As a direct result YouTube profitted hugely by enabling people to use the "embed code" to place their videos (hosted by YouTube) on their Myspace pages.
  • 2007 saw YouTube firmly establish itself as the market leader in online video, now with many people starting to call online videos "YouTube" videos regardless of which site actually hosted them.
Well for the old school fans amongst us you will remember the days of the YouTube "Director account". This was a scheme run in 2006 to try and reward the well behaved content producers by giving them some extra rights and customisations on their channel. Typically this included the ability to upload videos longer than 10 mins or 100MB. It also allowed them to display a logo alongside their videos. There was no money involved until the very end of 2006 when several YouTube directors were approached by YouTube to create Christmas and New Year videos. This was the very beginnings of the YouTube Partner Program. Mid 2007 being a Director lost all kudos because the program was opened up to everyone and is now simply achannel type in a drop down menu that you can select... whereas before you had been made to apply and be approved. The hangover from the good old days can be found HERE, the old "/director" page on the YouTube site which is now a graveyard channel which serves only as a reminder of what once was :)

I have recently been approved as a YouTube partner on both my YouTube channels. Almost exactly a year after i was approved as a YouTube director. 1 year on the benefits of these programs are pretty much the same. I will not make any money out of the partner program (it's not actually possible to) the point of the partner program is to give people the ability to customise their channel pages and feel more involved in the site. I have to say that the added features definately improve the look of the average channel page and I think it may well roll out to all channels in a years time (much like the old director channels are now open to all).

How do I know i won't ever make any money out of the partner program? Simple really, I don't receive anywhere near enough views. Top YouTubers like Nalts, LisaNova and Renetto can reasonably expect to get 10,000 - 20,000 views per video regardless of what it is, with some getting far more! Views is the key thing here. BusinessWeek reported this week that click-throughs on social networking sites are significantly lower than that recieved on other sites (4/10,000 rather than 20/10,000). This is significant because the partnership that YouTube offers is one that shares revenue with you from funds raised by GoogleAdwords. A friend of mine recently started a website and has advertised using GoogleAdwords as they are extremely effective. He pays something in the region of 15p per click-through. This means that even if i were to get Renetto's views i would only ever recieve at most 60p per video (assuming YouTube passed on the whole 15p to me - which we both know they wouldn't). Well we all like getting pocket money don't we... any revenue sharing under the current partner program on offer would definately be pocket money. Except YouTube clearly state in their T&Cs that they will not pay out any money due to partners until it reaches $100.00 (£50.00)... that's a whole lot of 60p videos!

So how are people like Renetto and Zipster08 able to talk about geting regular Money off YouTube? The original partner program is a pay-per-view deal. For every person that views their videos for more than 30 seconds they get paid. YouTube claim these partners are able to take home around $1000.00 per month.

So where does this leave you and me? Feeling exactly like we did with the Director channels a year ago.


Marquisdejolie said...

Great article! It's nice to get the whole story for a change instead of all the half truths and come-on hype.

Nalts said...

I hear ya, baby. Wish I did Nappy a few months sooner. ;)

Marquisdejolie said...

They reshuffled the deck when they saw you sidling up to the $100 table, Kevin.

John said...

That's interesting. To be honest, I watched YouTube for months before I even realized there were advertisements on it. I use Firefox add-ins to filter the banner/image ads that got added in at some point. Personally, I'd pay for YouTube access, not a lot, but I'd pay more than they'll ever get for ad clicks from me, ha ha. The Partner program should be automatic. If you generate enough views for a consistent period of time you should be offered partner status automatically. If you fill out the forms and agree to the terms, after that, you become a partner at that time. I could expire after a similar period of below threshold activity. But this, like a decent and properly working commenting (discussion?) system is probably too simple and workable idea for YouTube to undertake.