The business model used by social media sites differs slightly from traditional media. They’re both based on “building and aggregating mass consumer audience shares for the purpose of selling that audience share to other companies.” Television networks provide programming. The larger an audience is, the more advertisers are willing to pay for ad space. Web 2.0 isn’t entirely different. Social media sites provide us with a free service, in turn, we watch advertisements. Users are not customers. We’re the product. And I’m perfectly fine with that. The success of companies like Facebook and Twitter suggest that for most of us are as well. Honestly, before this assignment, I never noticed the ads on my Facebook page. Despite recording my browsing history and using cookies, most of the ads are completely irrelevant. Primizie bread, Toyo tires, and Custom bar crawl t-shirts? No thanks.
One major difference between more traditional media is that the web offers regular shlubs an opportunity to monetize their content online. When discussing web economics, we often focus solely tech companies and their bottom line. However, it’s useful to determine what this means to the average person. The low barriers to production and distribution via websites like Youtube make it possible for anyone with compelling content to sell advertising space. For example, Google’s Adsense allows users to place advertisements on their page and throughout videos. These are usually the annoying T-mobile ads you can’t skip or the pop-ups that obscure most of the video.
Smosh is Youtube’s top channel featuring the comedy duo of Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox, who started by making Flash videos around 2005. As of 2013, they’re the most subscribed channel on Youtube with over 8.7 million followers and 2.2billion channel views. In addition to making painfully lame skits, they operate a blog and produce 3 different web series. Their channel has brought in over 10 million in revenue this past year, and their ad sharing revenue is well over $9000 a month. The following is one of their more popular videos. It’s awful. You’ve been warned. http://onforb.es/VybPdK
Third on the list is Jenna Marbles, another “Youtube personality.” She makes humorous potty-mouthed rants about things like “How to Trick People into Thinking You’re Good Looking.” It probably doesn’t hurt that she’s attractive either. Currently, she has over 1 billion channel views. Unreliable internet guestimates place her total earnings somewhere around 1 million.
This last one is my favorite. Since 1996, Brian Bates, the self-proclaimed “Video Vigilante” has been catching prostitutes with their “johns,” camera in hand. He usually follows them in their vehicles until he catches them in the act. Bates opens their door with his catch phrase, “you’re busted buddy”. He then posts the video online to shame the “johns,” and discourage further soliciting.
Not everyone will get rich online, but a strong following on Youtube can mean additional income for anyone. If you’re funny, unfunny, attractive, unattractive or enjoy following prostitutes, there’s always the possibility of earning money, provided your content is interesting. Who hasn’t spent hours watching Japanese poodle exercise videos? My question is, what could possibly be the downside of monetizing your content?