Recently, my girlfriend and I took our son and his friend to the movies. While driving to the theater, the boys talked about two of their favorite subjects: YouTube and Minecraft. At this point, I usually tune out since I think Minecraft is about the silliest video game ever created. Minecraft graphics remind me of playing on a Commodore 64.
Anyway, the boys prattled on wildly about the game when their conversation morphed to our son’s favorite YouTube channel host, Dan TDM (which stands for The Diamond Minecart, don’t ya know). Dan TDM hosts one of the most successful YouTube channels on Minecraft and gaming.
Dan TDM is so cool the boy even colored his hair blue one day to emulate his YouTube hero. He was a very popular kid at school. Thank God, the color washed out the next night in the bath.
Until recently, I had thought Dan TDM was a bit of a goofball.
Now, I think he’s a goofball genius.
I Want to be a YouTuber!
Since starting my blog, I’ve opened my eyes to a number of things, one of which is how the internet is monetized. I mean, I’ve always understood Amazon. That one’s easy to get. It’s a store, duh. I understand pop-up ads, which annoy us all, and the ads on the side of web pages. That’s all the stuff you can look at and equate to “normal” life (aka television or magazine advertising).
What surprised me was the stuff that I wasn’t seeing beneath the surface. Like marketing ads on blog pages or those that pop up on YouTube videos. I would skip past them, but never considered that someone was making money off them due to their visitor traffic.
I wasn’t clueless. I just used the internet for what I needed: basic information and entertainment. It’s the same way I consumed television and magazines. It wasn’t until I wanted to start this blog that I began paying attention to this other information and really making the connection between social media and business.
Did I mention podcasts? Holy cow, I fell in love with podcasts a couple months ago and listen to them daily now. Do you know what I realized? They’re making money, too! Just like the radio stations, advertisements are slipped in, sometimes with the podcaster even given a personal reference.
How had I become so desensitized to advertisements? Was it years of commercials interrupting broadcast television every eight minutes and radio stations after every three songs? I had developed a tolerance for advertising whereby I accepted it with a bit of annoyance and ignored it, sort of like a barking dog. It was only the barking dog that I liked that got my attention.
When I started my blog, my eyes opened to a new world.
Then one night at the dinner table, the boy announced, “I want to be a YouTuber.”
The former version of myself would have said, “Nah. That’s not realistic. Let’s talk about being an entrepreneur in another field, like commercial real estate.” In my head, I heard my dad saying something similar when I proclaimed I wanted to play guitar as a kid.
Instead, with my newly discovered information, I said, “Great.” My girlfriend almost fell out of her chair. She’s not a fan of any social media. She eyes it all with the distrust of a spy caught behind enemy lines.
So, I asked him, “Do you know how YouTube works?”
This lead to a dinner conversation about videos, subscribers, content, advertisers and more. Even my girlfriend joined in and was a voice of encouragement and excitement. We brought out a laptop and pulled up Dan TDM’s YouTube channel. He has almost 14.5 million subscribers. That. Is. Mind-boggling.
The Internet Comes Home
Oh, there is also money to be made with the internet beyond the digital content. There are various live instructional courses, conferences and actual books sold through blogs. Shirts and other swag are also sold. All from content that originated on the internet!
That is also what will bring a twenty-something, blue-haired, English YouTuber across the pond this summer to Spokane, Washington. That’s correct, we bought tickets to see Dan TDM live! By the way, I used the exclamation point for the boy because he lost his mind when he heard Dan was coming to town. You would have thought this was the 1960s and The Beatles were coming to America, the way the boy freaked out.
And like that, Dan TDM just took me for $150 which wasn’t in the budget.
As I said before, Dan TDM is goofball genius.
What about you?
Were you totally dialed in on how money was made on the internet
or were there "a-ha" moments for you?