How I Make Money on YouTube

How much Money do Youtubers make?

Top level Youtubers make in the millions of dollars. PewDiePie, Youtube’s biggest channel makes over ten million annually and that number continues to grow. Tens of thousands of others make a comfortable six figure income and are able to support themselves full time via the revenue they earn from there channels via google adsense, product placement, merchandising, and branding themselves into a marketable asset. Needless to say there was a huge incentive to create my own Youtube channel. This is partly because of the potential to earn income from the comfort of my own home but also because it easily coincides with many of my hobbies.

So in 2014 I decided to do an experiment. The goal being to create a channel, create and upload content, and see how much money I could generate. I settled on creating vine video compilations. If your not familiar with vines there short six (6) second videos that play on a loop. People upload them via there smart phones. The idea is based on the adult attention span which research shows lasts approximately six (6) seconds. I chose vines that I found to be funny and organized them based on themes such as funny girlfriend / boyfriend, best funny pranks, etc. This helped me to create a targeted niche which which would help increase traffic to my channel.

Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, I want to mention that I got permission to use the vines I used from there creators or used vines that had creative commons tags in my video compilations. Additionally, I credited all the vines I used in the description of my video and also put a link back to the creators vine homepage. This is important to note as simply taking someones content and using it for financial gain can potentially be a copyright violation. Copyright is a tricky business and is ultimately the reason I discontinued adding content to this channel (more on that later).

How much Money did I Make on YouTube?




As of writing this post I’ve made over $451 for approximately ten (10) hours of work by creating a Youtube channel, uploading content, and than monetizing the channel with google AdSense. It’s not a staggering sum by any means and the money didn’t come pouring in. But it did come and when you look at the income per hour of work put in it  comes to just over $45/hour. The best part is that the 10 hours of work I put in back in June of 2014 is still earning me money every single day. That’s whats called passive income!

In total I spent about one hour per day Monday through Friday creating a short Vine compilation approximately one (1) minute to two (2) minutes in length and uploading it to my channel. I created ten (10) videos in total over the course of two weeks. After that I left the channel alone for several months and waited to see what happened.

Channel Analytics and Results


Within the first week some of my videos were getting hundreds of views per day. Within a month my channel as a whole was getting over 5,000 views per day! It was time to monetize my channel and start earning some cash. I went through the process of associating my YouTube channel with google Adsense and selected skippable video ads as my primary ad choice. I started earning money the very next day. Not a lot, but when you see a steady stream of income start rolling in that has the potential to continue paying you indefinitely it’s hard not to get a little excited. My daily earnings went from nickels and dimes to quarters and than dollars. On my best day I earned just over $6 and was earning around $75 per month. I wasn’t raking money in, but I was soon earning enough in passive income that I felt my experiment was a success. Of course it wasn’t long before things took a dive.

Where I Went Wrong

Copyright and technology really are a fickle thing. Even though I carefully took the time to find creative commons videos or get permission from the content creators i soon found one of my videos was getting flagged for copyright. I followed the copyright appeal process, providing evidence in the form of emails from content creators giving me permission and creative commons tags for the content I was using but to no avail. I pursued the appeal process all the way through to the end, even contacting the company or individual who claimed I was in violation of copyright but didn’t get a response. I soon found my channel had received a strike for copyright.

If your not familiar with YouTube and how strikes work, its really pretty simple. If you get three strikes on your account, all of its content gets deleted, wiped, terminated. If you get one strike like me, your channel goes through a probation period of 3 months. As long as you don’t get any additional strikes during this period the strike is removed from your account at the end of the three months. youtube-4

I spent a little time doing some research and came to the conclusion that one of two things likely happened. Someone stole the content from the actual content creator and gave me and other people permission to use the content they stole. Or, the content creator licensed his vines/video/content to a media company who in turn sells other people a sub license to said content. Per contract, these media companies than claim ownership of said content on behalf of the content creator and flag all other pre-existing videos containing the newly acquired and licensed content utilizing YouTube’s Content Id system. This system basically enables people to flag videos containing there content in mass and claim they are violating there copyright. Large media companies basically flag content they have acquired with little regard to agreements made previously with the content creators. It’s a complex business that is exacerbated by the fact that this happens millions of times per day across YouTube and the internet as a whole.

In realizing how complex this process would become to further expand my channel I simply decided to stay hands off as I had already done for several months. I would let the channel continue without intervention. Soon my revenue began to decline as videos were subjected to copyright claims, many of which were probably illegal on the part of the claimant. From talking with other YouTubers I came to the final conclusion that unless its your own original content that you created yourself, it’s not worth the time to walk the gray area that seems to make up a large part of internet copyright law.

As of writing this post the channel still has quite a lot going for it.

  • It has over 3 million views.
  • Over 7,500 subscribers.
  • Earns an average of $5.50 per month
  • Gets shared over 200 times per month
  • Has over 20 comments posted per month

What I plan to do with this Channel

As you can see, this YouTube channel still has a lot of potential. If it weren’t for the copyright issues that I experienced right from the start I probably would have put a lot more work into it. Luckily I weighed the risk versus the reward and decided to hold off. Since than, I’ve made other channels and have gained much more experience and am considering expanding this channel once again. Options include creating my own original content, going through the process of purchasing a legally binding license for content, and finding legitimate creative commons content that won’t be flagged for copyright. There are still loads of possibilities and I will continue to update the blog as this channel progresses.

What do you think I should do? Let me know in the comments section below!






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