a short interview with the creators of LonelyGirl15, the online video diary of a fake teen which became enormously popular on YouTube last year. The topic was what they think about the monetization of YouTube. If anyone would've benefited from a revenue share with YouTube in recent times, it's these guys (three of them btw, the New Zealand girl who played lonelygirl15 was not interviewed). The Daily Reel asked Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, two of the three LG15 creators, if there is real money to be made from online video. Their response:The Daily Reel has
"Hopefully! The numbers we get on our videos rival popular cable television shows. With the emerging popularity of DVR's and the difficult time advertisers have reaching teenagers and young adults, it only makes sense for advertisers to shift at least some portion of their advertising budgets to popular Internet video shows."
So how can you too join the impending monetization of YouTube? The AP is running a story entitled The keys to going viral on YouTube. It dryly notes "the consistent popularity of cute, young girls" as one way to achieve success. Parody is popular too -- as well as humor and celebrity gotchas (Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame being the most recent). Another way is very similar to what it takes to become popular in the blogosphere or any social network: actively contribute to and participate in the community. As Aaron Ferstman, a spokesman for YouTube, explained in the AP piece:
"One of the things that we always recommend is to build a YouTube channel and be an active part of the community [...] It's really about producing creative content, contributing it, getting comments and just participating with other people."
Getting picked for the homepage of YouTube is obviously going to help too. Also that old adage of 'it's not what you know, but who you know' comes into play. As the Wikipedia entry notes, lonegirl15 used these tactics right from the start:
"In "lonelygirl15"'s earliest videos, she posted video replies to and name-dropped popular YouTubers, which attracted the attention of their fans. Her video blogs eventually became popular in their own right, and attracted a massive following."
It'll be interesting to watch the growing ecosystem of 'professional YouTube creators' over the coming year or two - and how that will change the community and dynamics of the site. Meanwhile the YouTube team continues to roll out upgrades, including more customization for channels and a Google search enhancement.