Video-sharing website Revver marked its first anniversary yesterday by nailing a milestone. It announced that it has mailed out $1 million to the aspiring filmmakers, hobbyist Web loggers, and budding musicians who populate the website with content.
Yes, you can get paid by firing up that clunky webcam. It may seem hard to believe, since the most popular video sites like YouTube and News Corp.'s
By most accounts, the sums aren't much. It isn't enough to give up one's non-virtual world job, save for perhaps the makers of the Lonelygirl15 series. However, dangling dollar bills like carrots are shaking up the industry. As long as the practice is financially feasible and difficult to game, it's here to stay.
Google knows all about empowering through financial rewards. It beat Yahoo!
So why is YouTube so slow to democratize video-sharing the way it did the rest of the Web? It's a good question. Obviously, it's afraid of what opening up the genie bottle may do. The last thing it would need is for folks to upload a zillion unwatchable clips, game the system with inaccurate tags and thumbnails, and risk sending out checks to folks who may be doing nothing more than capturing copyright-protected television show clips and putting them up on the site. The whiff of money can also do some pretty scary things within a combustible community.
However, that's not really happening at Revver, but it's because Revver personally screens every upload before it goes live on the site. If YouTube ever made that kind of manpower investment, profitability would be hard to come by even before the revenue-sharing checks get cut.
It has a choice, for now. It's making the sober decision. Just pay the top draws. However, there's no mistaking the allure of seeing pocket change accumulate in an otherwise dormant account. It can't afford to let a website with a wider rev-share net get too popular. Google didn't pay $1.65 billion for a website to be chasing anyone but itself.
Take a ride through the YouTube revenue-sharing museum:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is ready to officially classify himself as a clip culture junkie. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.