Could Vimeo-Style ‘Tip Jars’ Ever Work For YouTube Partners?

Back in September, Vimeo announced that they would start rolling out a “tip jar” feature for all of their creators. The new feature would allow fans to tip their favorite filmmakers with Vimeo taking 15% of the revenue, which would ideally eliminate the need for pre-roll video ads.

It was an innovative idea on Vimeo’s part and brought into contrast YouTube’s current methods of monetization along with their strengths and weaknesses. With pre-roll video ads not being ideal for every partner, would a “tip jar” mechanic ever work on YouTube?

Tip jars could work on YouTube because …

One of the biggest complaints leveled at YouTube from creators is the lack of control partners are given over monetization options. Currently, if you want to monetize on YouTube, video advertisements must be enabled on your channel.

If a partner isn’t comfortable with running advertisements over videos, their options to profit are extremely limited. A tip jar mechanic could allow creators to make revenue from their channels without forcing their fans to sit through or skip over pre-rolls.

YouTube’s current monetization system favors creators with millions of fans and the resources to market, advertise and professionally produce. These are creators that appeal to the broadest audience possible. So where does that leave niche creators? A tip jar could allow independent creators with small but loyal fan bases to also make online videos professionally.

Tip jars could never work on YouTube because …

YouTube’s community of filmmakers is significantly different from Vimeo’s. YouTube has seen more than its share of shady characters looking to scam the system for a little profit. Introducing a tip jar to YouTube would only encourage trolls and con artists to find new ways to exploit the monetization option.

YouTube has also become a place for creators to speak directly with their audience. As the world’s largest vlogging destination, YouTube is the ideal place for people to take advantage of an audience-based monetization system. Not to say that every vlogger would exploit a tip jar, but as the success of “reply girls” has proven, people are more than willing to buy into ridiculous bullshit.

Introducing tip jar functionality to YouTube could easily bring a much sleazier element to the site. Much like pay-to-strip subreddit Girls Gone Bitcoin, the personal vlogging elements of YouTube could get real shady real fast.

Tip jars on YouTube — could they work? Would you like to see them on your dashboard? Let us know in the comments below.


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