Friends and fellow gamers, I find myself torn. I like making videos. I like putting time and effort into them in order to make them of a decent quality with the goal of providing information and entertainment. I’ve purchased higher level video editing software and am taking the time to educate myself on their use. I’ve paid for a name brand, upper tier camera to improve the film quality. I enjoy the interaction with the community that my videos foster, the discussion that I can both learn from as well as add to.
I also like money.
Correction: I like what money can provide. Clothing. Shelter. Waffles. A night out with my girlfriend. The Pathfinder Advanced Players Guide. Better equipment and the power to run it all.
I have a regular job but it occasional falls short of my financial goals. YouTube provides the option to attach an ad to a video which, depending on amount of views, can generate anywhere from $0.10 to $10,000 or even more. I hear tales that the upper echelon of the YouTube producers rake in 6 figures a year from their videos. Doesn’t that sound nice?
There are no qualms from me about monetizing my videos. I can justify it many ways, most of which revolve around paying back what I spent on my camera and software. It isn’t a lot of money but it helps, especially in a tighter economic market. I do know of a way to improve my profit margin but it comes at its own price, and it is a method I’d like to term ‘Like, Comment and Subscribe’.
If you’ve spent any time on social media sites you’ve seen this method in practice… pandering, begging, appealing, reminding, whatever you want to call it. On Facebook you can find, under a picture of a smiling couple, ‘Like if you want to be happy! Don’t Like if you don’t! Subscribe to my page. Sub for sub!’ My brain melts out of my ears to see 50,789 likes on the picture.
From beginning to end in the four corners of a video on YouTube sit boxes appealing for your Like, your Subscription, your Comment, for you to follow them on Twitter and Facebook and OhGodAnotherOne. The video I most recently saw with this was one where a young man plays a video game where a crudely animated person rides a bike into things and body parts fall off, all the while the guy squeals like a stuck pig and makes inane comments about turkey sandwiches. 2,894,009 views. The guy’s channel has nearly a million subscribers. He is making thousands of dollars a month. To coin an internet colloquialism…WTF?!?
Now, I’m not looking to have an audience of pre-pubescent 12 year olds who find this stuff hilarious. I’d like to maintain a community that I know and can have thoughtful interactions with. I’m not looking to pander to the least common denominator with the subject matter of my videos. Lord knows how much I could make if I made videos about boobs, kittens and people getting hurt. My goal isn’t profits or numbers yet providing an income is essential to my survival and growth.
I thought that people would like or subscribe because they actually enjoyed the content and not because I mewed at them to do it, and they have, but could I have more? Could putting a reminder to subscribe increasing my audience? Would it feel like shameless pandering, as it does to me? Could I maintain the same quality of content and interaction with the audience AND also get bigger checks for it? Is it selling out to be paid for something you enjoy doing?
Let me know in the comments below….dammit…
About the Author
Sir Andrew of the Strong Arm, not known by this name to anyone, combines his passion for adventure, theatricality and education to offer an out of the box view on just about everything. He was once quoted as saying ‘I don’t even know what the box is’ as he wandered away with a confused look on his face.
Andrew lives in Colorado Springs where he divides his time between educating the next generation and devolving the current one. He best enjoys Fantasy settings when around the table and is currently running Pathfinder. Outside of gaming he also dabbles in voice acting, music and video production. Much of his “work” can be found on his YouTube channel, layered amidst his ramblings on gaming topics and videos of his tabletop groupLARPing Monty Python.
For more from Andrew, check out the Dawnforged Entertainment channel on YouTube!