Friday, 11 February 2011

Becoming a YouTube partner

And, much like posting videos online, only the idiots
seem to get noticed.
Putting videos online is kinda like holding a witty banner at a protest - there's no guarantee that anybody is going to see it, there's certainly no positive way to make sure people like it, and half the time somebody has already done it and done it better. Actually getting noticed is a change roughly on par with winning the lottery without buying a ticket. Never-the-less, video sharing sites constantly rank as among the most viewed on the internet, with the absolute granddaddy of them all being YouTube.

YouTube is easily the best known and most popular video site, and with pretty good reason. It's one of the oldest, it's probably the easiest to use, and it has more content than any of the others (with over 24 hours being uploaded every single minute). Of course, that's not to say YouTube is perfect - indeed it's probably best known for having some of the most moronic users all waiting to post badly spelt insults on anything they find - but in terms of video sharing it's pretty darn good.

One of the things YouTube offers that no other site does is the unique partnership program. This program offers users who have a large subscribing audience, a large number of views, and who upload videos on a regular basis the opportunity to increase their audience through featured videos, customize their own brand through banners, and last but by no means least earn some money off of their videos (and let's face it, we all love money).

Now, YouTube isn't the only site that offers monetary gain for your videos - other websites, notably Blip.tv also offer money in a similar way to YouTube, although everybody is able to earn money from the get-go. In that sense, it's certainly worth a try, although it should be noted that videos on Blip are generally exceptionally high quality. It's a popular site for web critics and "Let's Play" video creators because it's not watched as tightly as YouTube is for copyright infringement.


So what does being a partner actually mean?


Featured videos by search results, featuring
yours truly
As mentioned above partners get a few additional tools at their disposal. The brand recognition is very popular to the point where a lot of people have asked me why I don't currently have a banner. Your videos also show up as "featured videos". This is when videos show at the top and at the side of search results, and also at the top of the "recommended videos" at the side of each video. This earns you many views - since becoming a partner my video views have absolutely sky rocketed! You can upload videos longer than the current 15 minute limit too, although this has also been offered to some non-partner channels, and you can upload custom thumbnails if that's your sort of thing.

Featured video in the suggestions
You also get to put adverts on your videos, and I do have a very thorough post on the pros and cons of this that you can read by clicking here. To give a brief summary, you can put videos at the side of your videos, at the bottom of the video, and before, during, or after the video itself. Then through an AdSense account you earn money when people click the adverts, or when lots of people view them.


What do I need to do if I want to become a partner?


I am asked the questions "am I good enough to become a partner" or "what should I do to become a partner" almost as often as I'm asked beatbox-related questions! The thing is, I can't tell you. Nobody can. The exact requirements are not posted anywhere so it's far from black and white. I can, however, detail roughly what is needed. YouTube looks at:
Face it - it's not gonna happen.
  • Your total video view count
  • The number of subscribers you have
  • The frequency you put videos up
  • Whether your stuff is "advertiser friendly" (so nothing sexual or explicit, nothing overly violent or shocking, and so on)
  • Your country of residence - the partnership program isn't available in every country
  • Whether or not your account follows the terms and conditions of the site
The final category is one that a lot of people have trouble with - it means that if you have any strikes on your account, whether they're community strikes or copyright strikes, you're almost certainly out with very few exceptions allowed.

Now for the video views and subscriber count I cannot give specifics because, as I said above, nobody knows - each application is looked at separately. However, I can vouch that when I become a partner I had just reached 1,000 subscribers and around 250,000 total video views. I have not had any trouble with copyright (everything is mine and mine alone) nor have I had any community strikes. I was putting videos up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and I had been a member of YouTube for around six months.


What if I've uploaded copyrighted content?


In short, you shouldn't've done that, and it's almost certainly going to bite you on the backside.. It's your own fault, all you can do is delete the copyrighted material and hope for the best, or start a new account. Note that song covers and parodies can count as copyright infringement - that's something to look out for, beatboxers.


How do I apply?


Go to http://www.youtube.com/partner and apply. If clicking the "Apply Now" button takes you to the homepage you aren't able to apply in your country.

You'll need to submit some information including your name, email address, and details of your YouTube channel. Then it's a case of waiting.

No really, you could be waiting for a really long time. I've heard of people waiting for up to and over a year for an approval. If the answer is "no" then that sucks, better luck next time; you can apply again after two months. If the answer is "yes" then congratulations! You'll then need to set up an AdSense account to get your money paid into, then when you reach a certain amount (£60 for the UK, $100 for the US) you'll have a payment made to you.


This is roughly how much you'll be earning.

How much money will I be earning?


To be blunt, not much. I won't discuss my personal earnings (partly because I'm not allowed, partly because it's none of your business) but unless you're getting tens of thousands of views a day you won't be earning anything you can live off of. However, it's enough to be useful, and it'll certainly go towards equipment and the like.


Is there a way of getting the benefits of being a partner without becoming one?


No. Not at the moment, anyway. Previous partner-only benefits (like channel boxes and longer-than-15-minute uploads) have been made available to non-partners so it's not a complete impossibility, mind you.

I've also seen a lot of people ask if it's possible to become a partner without having adverts. While it's technically possible to get partnership and simply not enable ads you'd probably end up having your partnership suspended; from a business standpoint the entire purpose of the partnership program is to earn YouTube some revenue. To carry on from here, if your AdSense account is closed for any reason your partnership will be cancelled. I found that out the hard way due to a mishap with changing my AdSense address from the UK to the US.


I wasn't accepted when I should have been - who can I complain to?


Absolutely nobody. All you can do is wait two months and apply again. Take that time to increase your audience, upload new videos... basically everything you can do to improve your chances. I've seen a lot of somewhat self-congratulatory channels that believe they should be eligible, then after closer inspection they've used sub4sub or spam to falsely increase their audience, or have uploaded only a dozen videos months ago, or have only a thousand or so total video views, or (more often than you'd think) have uploaded material that very obviously isn't their own. Simply put, it isn't going to happen. Even if you do have high views and a high subscription count, and even if in your eyes your channel is absolutely perfect, kicking up a fuss really won't make a difference.

I guess the point I'm trying to hammer at here is that you are never guaranteed partnership.


I was invited to put adverts on one of my videos - am I a partner now?


Yes and no. If a video of yours is getting popular YouTube may invite you into the IVP (or "individual video partner" if you want to use the longer and harder to spell name) program. This is when videos are placed on that video and that video alone, and your earnings are paid into your AdSense account. There is no limit to the amount of videos that can be invited, although if you are being invited a lot you should apply for full partnership.

If you don't see this, you aren't a partner.
Sorry.
You do not have any of the other perks to being a partner, so you won't be able to have banners or enable adverts on videos that weren't invited. If you aren't sure whether you're a partner or not go to http://www.youtube.com/partner - if it has a congratulatory message then you are a full YouTube partner, but otherwise you aren't.


Conclusion


The partnership program certainly isn't right for everyone so before applying take time to work out if you really want it. You aren't going to get rich overnight through the program, nor are you going to become a celebrity over the weekend through the additional traffic, but if you put in hard work and are enthusiastic about making videos then it's definitely worth checking out.

If you have any questions feel free to ask and I'll see if I can help!

Peace, love, and noise

-FT

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Making a DVD

So there I was, sat in bed, when suddenly a thought struck me like a stone hurled by a particularly accurate stone hurler. "Why not make a DVD?" my brain excitedly yelled. "It'd be so much fun and you can call it 'Fat Tony's Beatbox Tutorials Volume 1' and people can buy it and you could even handwrite little thank-you notes when you send them!"

Rather foolishly, the rest of me replied with "wow, brain, that's a really good idea" and thus the concept of a DVD was born. Of course, saying "I would like to make a DVD" is extremely easy, but within twenty-four hours my old friend Low Self Esteem (hereafter referred to as LSE) started kicking up a fuss along with Mr Dilemma (hereafter referred to as MD).

LSE: Nobody would buy it, you know. Your videos are all online, people would just view them there, it's a waste of time and money.
MD: You should re-record the tutorials then, and make them higher quality.
LSE: Oh yeah? With his stupid little camera and little netbook? It'll look terrible.
MD: Then maybe just a DVD with the tutorials on it in an easy-to-view layout?
LSE: Why would anybody want that?
MD: Shut up, I'm thinking here... now, should you sell them through a publisher direct or have a few hundred mailed out to you?
LSE: A few HUNDRED? Only he and his mother are actually going to buy a copy, what will he do with the rest, hand them out on street corners?

And so on, and so forth.

I would very much like to put out a DVD but I am somewhat torn with the various options (just looking at how to produce it is enough to make me crawl under my blanket and weep silently). I would love to refilm a bunch of tutorials but that would take an extremely long time and probably wind up being more effort than it's worth. I might end up just editing each video slightly to chop out the credits and bloopers and stuff.

The point of this (rather confused) blog is basically to ask for input from you guys, my fans, subscribers, and viewers. What do you want to see? What would you buy? What would you absolutely not buy?

Please comment, I could use the input!

Peace, love, and a battle within

-FT