Be honest, at some point in your life you’ve probably watched a video that has gone viral on YouTube. It could be anything, it could be one of those cat in a box videos or an online comedian or even a music video. With the expansion of the Internet people are actually able to make money off the videos they post to platforms like YouTube.
According to this article from The New York Times people are able to make a living off of their online videos and no longer need to work because their income is funded by their online videos. It’s great. People are able to make a living by creating engaging videos, but how long can they keep that up for? Well, if the video posters are Internet savvy they manage to maintain their audience and increase it by adapting and keeping up with online trends. For example, Hannah Hart the creator of the “My Drunk Kitchen” videos went from just trying to cook while she got comically drunk to including other YouTube sensations in her videos. From there she has gone on to act in movies like Camp Takota and is supposed to star in a re-boot of Electra Woman and Dyna Girl. Hart went from making silly videos in her kitchen to acting for Hollywood. That’s a really cool way to start a career and it also reveals how powerful the Internet can be.
While making money from the Internet seems great, there can be some down sides as illustrated through the backlash Arianna Huffington received after she sold The Huffington Post to AOL. She was called a “sellout” and has been widely criticized for profiting from the work of her unpaid bloggers that contribute content to the site. In fairness, she should have been paying her bloggers since they were creating the content and driving people toward the website.
So while some people like Hannah Hart are supported for profiting from their online content, others like Huffington (who founded HuffPo) are criticized and seen as selling out because they tried to make a profit.