Back in January, YouTube offered up a list of the 2011 breakout stars.
Eight content-creators who the site believed were primed to make $100,000 or more per year.
Their subscriber growth was strong, their views were growing.
All they needed was a little push.
Eight months into 2011, how are things going?
Well… it’s a mixed bag.
Some are doing great while others are struggling (or seem to have given up entirely).
We emailed all of them and received replies from a few. We included those responses, as well as our own thoughts about their progress.
Like the original list, this one runs from least likely to strike it rich to most.
What we said then about apersaud: People's obsession with reality TV dance shows like Dancing With The Stars has carried over to the web. Persaud's videos teach aspiring dancers of all levels how to salsa, and judging by his channel's subscriber growth rate and viewership, people want to learn.
2011 reality: Persaud's answer: 'Yes, we are making money on the site, in our mobile applications (iPhone, iPad and Android) and we have been invited to travel to different places around the world to teach salsa workshops which has kept us busy as well.
We have posted new videos on YouTube including a Spanish one (see addicted2salsa.com/videos) and our last video was for July 9th, 2011. We are working on new videos for our mobile applications as well for our series for later this fall.'
What we said then about RobH0629: 'No one else really does what he does,' says a YouTube spokesperson. His subscriber growth has shot up in the past three months, and he's also expanding his lessons to juggling, pool, and chess.
2011 reality: Rob writes: 'I have gained over 37,000 subscribers and am on track to make a six figure income this year. So, I'd say my channel has definitely been gaining popularity and I'm very happy with its growth this year. I have always enjoyed being part of the Partner program and creating videos, whether or not I make 'over $100,000 a year', as was predicted. I get more out of just hearing positive feedback from my viewers and subscribers, saying they enjoyed my video, or that they were able to make something I instructed.
I have posted around 13 videos in the last year--averaging about 1 per month. You can see a full list of my videos and when I released them here.
YouTube is a hobby of mine, I am currently a full-time dental school student, as I told William when we spoke back in January. Because of that, I am not able to produce as many videos as I'd like. Eventually, I would like to post at least 1 video a week and expand my video topics and lessons. It's just hard right now to find a balance between school, YouTube, and my own personal life. I truly love the YouTube community, it is just amazing how big it has gotten since YouTube started. I will always try my best to please my viewers with great content and keep them entertained as well. I really owe it all to my subscribers, I don't want to let them down.
What we said then about BettaWithToast: Since the tragedy, 'Betta' has committed himself to his music and to becoming a better rapper. He's also doing the nearly impossible task of posting a video onto YouTube everyday.
Reality in 2011: Unclear. There are a lot of uploaded videos but not a lot of views. If nothing else, he is extremely prolific.
5. New Left Media - Chase Whiteside & Erick Stoll - talk politics from the liberal side of the aisle.
What we said then about NewLeftMedia: The duo of Chase Whiteside and Erick Stoll are still in school, but Stoll tells us that they have an increasing desire to work on their channel full-time. New Left Media could be following in the footsteps of The Young Turks, who have proven that a political talk show can make it to the top of YouTube.
Reality in 2011: One video posted, around 75,000 views.
They write: 'We've been working on a book to be published next Spring which has taken up most of our time. We intend on returning to filmmaking full-time this fall. Naturally, our YouTube ad revenues have been modest in this period of low activity.'
What we said then about catrific: Valdes could join the upper echelon of YouTube due to the fact that there aren't that many notable female vloggers. Catrific could be the next iJustine or real-life lonelygirl15, and she also tells us that she wants to be the face of YouTube when it comes to the tech and startup scene.
Reality in 2011: Cat writes: 'Traffic is fluctuating up and down depending on the week to be honest! But I think in general traffic has gone up since you posted that article. I still make money from YouTube and it's not my full time job and I've moved from SF to LA to focus on just YT.'
What we said then about CuteWinFail: Each video they show has the potential to turn into a viral hit. The channel is backed by YouTube star Philip DeFranco, who knows a thing or two about building a YouTube brand, and hosted by YouTube personality Toby Turner.
Reality in 2011: Going strong with over 190,000 subscribers.
What we said then about KurtHugoSchneider: Two words: Justin Bieber. The teenage sensation was discovered by a record executive who saw the young Canadian cover songs on YouTube. Schneider certainly has the musical talent, but he's also using YouTube to showcase his filmmaking ability. Schneider's videos are much more polished than Bieber's were, and he's in the middle of shooting College Musical -- a movie based off of the popular High School Musical series.
Reality in 2011: Very sweet. Over 1.1 million subscribers. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of views per video. This kid is raking in the cash.
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