Saturday, 5 November 2011


I'm not a successful blogger, in the sense that I have eighteen thousand followers, am known in four continents and the Queen reads my posts every week, at least. I might argue that I'm successful in that I wanted to start a blog project, did so, and continue to do so (almost) consistently ;). But that wasn't the point. The point is, if I WAS a followed-by-eighteen-K, intercontinentally-renowned, royally received blogger, would I have the right to profit from it?

Let's use an example familiar to many YouTubers. Plenty of people are subscribed to big names, for whom YouTube is their job because they receive money from it. How do they do this? The YouTube partner service, which rewards particularly decent YouTubers with money, and often advertising. The second one is particularly annoying; fans regularly complain about adverts at the start of videos. But here's the question. A factory worker doing something for a factory gets money, an office worker doing something for an office makes money, so why shouldn't a YouTuber receive something from YouTube?

One could argue that office workers and factory workers are contributing something positive to society, therefore they're truly *earning* money, but a quick look at the expanse of jobs available proves that not everyone is paid for something that contributes positively to society, or often the contribution is minimal. Look at all the people who work at casinos, in bars, who sell cigarettes. They indirectly contribute to gambling addiction, alcoholism, and cigarette smoke, but they are paid for what they do. We don't pay people necessarily because they contribute to society, they're paid so that they will work - because few other than volunteers and interns will work for free.

But then, YouTubers aren't doing what they do out of necessity usually. The ones that don't live with parents can get other jobs, they're doing what they do out of fun. So why should we put up with ads for them?

One could argue that they advertise at our expense, but I personally find this argument a little selfish. The adverts are a maximum of 30-seconds that you have to watch, most are skippable after watching five seconds. For five to thirty seconds of patience, the person who you love to watch, who makes videos for your benefit, is getting paid as a result. That said, I do sympathise with the people who say they just want to get on and watch the video and not be delayed by ads.

As to where I stand, I'm not sure. I'm usually in the position of "It's their career, their life, let them monetise what they do, what's wrong with it?" I started thinking about this when considering whether I should sign up for AdSense and put adverts on my blog. It might irritate the few people who read my blog, but would it be worth it given that I might make a tiny little bit of money out of it? And when I relate it to me personally, it makes it sound so much more selfish, which is rather bizarre. I'd've expected to find it more selfish when someone else does it than when I do it, not the other way around.

I'd happily ask Mum to help me sign up for AdSense - yeah, for those of you who don't know, Leonidas is 15 (to be 16 in four days as of 20:59 5/9/2011) - but I just don't want to turn into one of these people who cares more about money than about the content, and I know I keep joking about the small numbers of people that read my blog but I know there are some at least because my friends have told me they like it, and I don't want to impose annoying ads on my friends especially.

So the question with monetisation, I suppose, is how much are the people who like what you do prepared to put up with?

~Love Leonidas

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