Why I Was Suspicious Of YouTube From The Beginning [1 of 3]

In Business & Entrepreneurship
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I remember when YouTube first emailed me and told me I had a video that was “popular and eligible for monetization!”

YouTube offered to run advertisements against my videos, and to pay me money for each video view based on their proprietary advertising algorithm. 


I was excited. I’d been publishing videos just to share with people in between my basketball playing career. But now I could get PAID for it? Making videos came easy to me; perhaps this would be a great second career after basketball, even. 

I quickly accepted YouTube’s offer to monetize my first video. 

More offers to monetize videos came, and the more of them I accepted, the more of those magic monetization emails came my way. 

Now, I wasn’t just publishing videos to help players, I was thinking of how I could title my vids to make them more “popular” and thus, make me more money. 

Eventually I got accepted as a YouTube “Partner.” This meant that I wouldn’t have to have a video “become popular” to earn money from it; EVERY video I uploaded would be monetized immediately upon publication. 

To become a full Partner on YouTube, I’d have to electronically sign their Partnership Agreement, a 20-plus Page document that’s behind every “I Agree To The Terms And Conditions” checkbox we confirm all the time online. 

I downloaded, printed out and read that entire agreement (also known as a “contract”). There was one thing in it — the main thing in it — that I didn’t like. 

For every $1 earned, Creator (me) receives $0.55 cents. 

YouTube/Google gets $0.45 cents. 

In other words, YouTube was taking 45% of my (and everyone else’s) revenue. Great business model… for them. And I know: 55% of something is better than 100% of nothing. But what I had to offer was more than nothing. 

While I would continue to publish content, I no longer saw YouTube publishing as a potential second career. Not when I was giving up 45% of my money in a deal that was not even open to negotiation. 

I decided that I would use YouTube as a lead generator, and make YouTube publishing work for me, instead of me working for them. 

Launching my first self-made products that same year, I started pushing every video viewer either to my storefronts to buy related products, or to my website to get my recently-released first book (Buy A Game) free, in exchange for an email address. 

I had begun gathering the two most important things any business needs — the ONLY two things any business needs. 

Leads: interested people who wanted to hear from me. 

Customers: people who’d purchased something from me. 


A few years ago, Facebook tried to buy Snapchat for $3 Billion. 

Snapchat refused. 

Facebook proceeded to create Instagram Stories (and Facebook Stories; FB owns Instagram), siphoning many (but not all) Snap users away in the process. While Snapchat still boasts many millions of users — 190,000,000 using the app daily, to be exact — who like the privacy of Snapchat’s disappearing chat, IG Stories did manage to take some Snap users away. 

Here’s the thing, though: most people have the wrong idea of WHY Facebook wanted to buy Snapchat. 

It wasn’t the technology. 

Facebook employs a lot of highly-paid engineers and designers. And, as you can see, Instagram Stories copied a good amount of Snap’s “story” feature on their own. 

Facebook wasn’t offering all that money for technology. In any industry, once you put your product out there, anyone can copy it and offer a cheap (or expensive) knock-off imitation. 

Facebook wanted the one thing that they couldn’t get from Snapchat without Snapchat’s cooperation. 

Their user base. 

Facebook was NOT offering that money to learn how to make disappearing videos. There’s someone on Fiverr who could code that feature.

Facebook was willing to pay THREE BILLION DOLLARS for Snapchat’s LEADS. 

Leads. People who were using Snapchat for free were worth $3 Billion to Facebook. 

Why? Because leads are the lifeblood of any business. 

Leads are people who might become customers. 

Customers are revenue. 

Revenue keeps your doors open and your lights on. 

No revenue = no business. 

Leads are the whole game. 

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you what happened next with YouTube and how my mindset around business and all these “free” social platforms changed. 

Until then, though, you should read The Business Bundle, which is 3 of my books on sales and communication. You can get the bundle here: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/Biz 


-Dre Baldwin 

Remember: You’re Just One Bold Move Away…