After reports surfaced that Google could soon be shelling out $100 million for celebrities to make YouTube videos, the first question that came to mind was: Why isn’t that money going towards YouTube’s independent stars – the people who started with nothing and helped turn YouTube into the goliath that it is today?
So, we talked to several YouTube partners and got their thoughts on the matter.
While no one was surprised by the news of YouTube throwing cash at celebs, they’re still a bit disappointed that the focus has shifted from current users and partners to mainstream celebrities.
“Am I personally bothered by it? To some degree,” Dane Boedigheimer, creator of The Annoying Orange series, told us. “If every celeb gets a YouTube channel, regular YouTube partners will have a harder time standing out.”
YouTube has certainly rewarded its popular amateur users with its partner program and invite-only grants. However, the amount of money potentially being thrown at celebrities far exceeds what YouTube partners have received.
“I’m not really expecting any handouts from Google,” Alex Negrete (keeptheheat) told us, “but I feel that they should definitely contribute more to people that have a proven track record of being consistent and devoted to the site from the beginning, rather than people that are using it just because they’re getting some money thrown their way.”
Throwing money at celebrities to make YouTube videos is an idea that Google needs to make sure won’t alienate its existing community of users. Catherine Valdes, a rising YouTube partner due to her Catrific vlog, thinks that paying celebrities upwards of $5 million to make YouTube videos seems forced and could turn off some of YouTube’s audience.
“Of course I would love it if Google invested more of their resources into pouring into the users and partner’s that they already have,” said Valdes. “I feel like that would just be the more natural approach to developing what they have now and making it even more awesome.”
Now, let’s be clear again that the YouTube partners we talked to all understand the business logic behind YouTube’s pursuit of celebrity-branded content. In fact, most of them think this will turn out to be a smart move for YouTube since people’s celebrity obsessions drive tons of traffic to the site. Case in point: the personal channels of Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.
“Let’s say I’m not against it,” said Boedigheimer. “I just hope that if they do get a slew of celebs to join the site, Google still remembers the people that helped get YouTube to where it’s at now.”
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