Partners, Y’all

13 04 2012

When Google purchased YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion, no one thought it was a good move (except, of course, for the guys selling it). What in the world could Google possibly have in mind for what then amounted to a bunch of silly videos of people’s children and pets?

A lot, apparently.

Today, users upload one hours’ worth of new content each and every second. Of every minute. Hour. Day. Of every year. Try as you might, you could never even begin to watch everything.

Lately, though, YouTube has evolved into much more than cheesy home videos and songs put to slideshows, with talented performers launching their careers here. It has gotten to the point where YouTube stars now have super agents guiding their fledgling professional lives. These stars have all ascended to the level of YouTube Partner, which is a revenue sharing model YouTube has reserved for only those with heavy traffic. AdSense placements on those channels result in money going to both YouTube and the performer, with many of these performers making well into six figures.

No kidding.

But YouTube just lowered the fence and made it possible for everyone to enroll in their Partner program, thereby enabling everyone to make a nickel or a million off what has far more eyeballs than broadcast television.

Call me crazy, but I can see this unleashing a whole new era of videography, home and otherwise. In a short time that one-hour-per-second rate will seem passe and so 2012.

The best part is that all of us can rightfully share in Google’s fortunes. I do realize that this is a two-way street, and that Google provides us with the platform for posting our handiwork. But without that handiwork, YouTube would be nothing. User-generated content is getting the recognition it so justly deserves.

And if it all results in more traffic to YouTube, then all the better. Everybody wins. Google, in fact, has great plans for YouTube, and is launching 100 channels of its own. The goal is to provide ever more reasons to tune out broadcast TV, and instead tune in to the network that Google controls in its entirety.

Sure, more content is another way of saying more clutter. Our cable and satellite spectrums of channels are crowded by themselves; adding more voice and faces to the mix is going to make it harder to stand out.

But that’s where the social graph and virality enter the picture. We the people will determine what is good. And we will tell our friends. After all, Annoying Orange did not become insanely successful because of advertising.

Just funny content. Oh, and a lot of people clicking “Share.”

Which means our inner Spielberg had better answer the call. Broadcasting yourself just became potentially lucrative for all of us.

Dr “Share This” Gerlich

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