Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Exactly How Much Did That Skateboarding Dog Earn?

That’s a cool YouTube video you made. How much money is it making you?

If you distribute your own clips on the world’s biggest video site, that’s easy enough to figure out: You look at the site’s analytics tool, which well tell you exactly how much ad revenue the video is generating.

But if you’ve signed up with one of a growing number of YouTube networks, which promise to increase your distribution and dollars in return for a cut, that can get a little fuzzier. YouTube provides the information to the networks, but they’re not required to pass it along to their partners.

Now one of the bigger networks, Maker Studios, is pledging to make all of its data available to all of its creators.

In a note he sent to the company’s video-making partners earlier this week, CEO Danny Zappin says Maker is “the first Network to bring this feature to all of our partners.” You can see a sample of what that dashboard looks like, below — note that the estimated earnings number is a gross revenue figure, before Maker takes its cut.

All of this is very inside baseball, but there’s a bigger picture here: Maker and other networks are starting to grapple for the services of YouTube stars and would-be stars. Odd that “transparency” can count as a competitive advantage, but if Maker’s peers don’t follow suit, it will be.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work