If you’re wondering whether the latest Samsung mobile phone is worth the money, Dave Cryer can help. The English YouTuber has been reviewing the latest gizmos and gadgets on his channel and website, Geekanoids, since 2006. Cryer said that Geekanoids aims to deliver unbiased reviews to reviewers “so that they can make informed buying decisions.”
Since posting his first video on YouTube, the Geekanoids channel boasts more than 43 million views, with most of them coming from outside the United Kingdom, especially the United States. Besides his tech channel, Cryer has a second channel GeekVloggz, where he opens up to his viewers about his everyday life, including dealing with bullies and being a family man.
NMR reached out to Cryer about how he reviews the latest technology and his feelings about the ever-changing world of YouTube. It turns out he’s not a fan of YouTube’s paid subscription model in its current form.
What is the purpose of your channel and what kind of viewers are you targeting?
Dave Cryer: Geekanoids was established in 2006 and the vision for the channel is still the same, to give viewers the information they need about the latest technology so they can make an informed purchasing decision. That said, in the past seven years, the viewers have changed a lot with regard to age range. In the last couple of years I have seen many younger and older viewers engaging with all the latest tech and asking questions through the YouTube community.
What are some of the ways you try to interact with your global audience when reviewing products?
Interaction with your audience is a very important aspect of YouTube. I really acknowledge that they have spent the time watching my videos, so when they ask a question or offer feedback, they deserve a response. Wherever possible I communicate with my viewers by responding to comments or engaging with them on Twitter, Facebook & Google+. Even to this day I still find it amazing how far the channel reach is, especially when I get questions from viewers in really remote locations.
How does YouTube help you promote your brand?
In the early days YouTube really did help promote my channel. As more channels came on board this did lessen over the years. I put this down to a direction change for them, whereby they are really positioning themselves as a viable alternative to mainstream broadcasting. As such, they promote the main entertainment channels and viral videos (of course). This makes it harder for new channels to get noticed. I am just fortunate to have started very early on, so for Geekanoids success I really do have my loyal viewer-base to thank.
What goes on behind the scenes at the Geekanoids YouTube channel every day? How do you determine what products are worth reviewing?
We handle a lot of technology in the Geekanoids offices, with deliveries pretty much every day. On a monthly basis, I personally handle around 30-40 products, including the latest smartphones, tablets, cameras & the more obscure items that I spend my spare time tracking down. The review process takes up to two weeks on some tech, especially cameras, so organizing this is a fine art. Thanks to being able to expand my little empire a little, this is more manageable nowadays, as I now have help checking products in and returning them after the loan period. In addition the Geekanoids website sees daily updates from my editor, who happens to be my daughter … as they say “Keep it in the family :D”.
Being self-employed, I have to remain very organized. Although I handle and test products every day, there are days dedicated to certain tasks. One full day per week is spent recording, with another day dedicated to editing. The rest of the week is a mix of recording extra videos, researching new products and brainstorming new video ideas. Coming up with new ways of presenting the videos is one of the most enjoyable aspects. I class myself as a creative, so it is this process that gives me the most satisfaction.
Once you add in general admin work and being my only accountant (yes YouTubers pay tax too), it is a pretty busy week. It is very rewarding though, so the hard work is definitely worth it.
With regard to determining which products make it onto the channel, this is pretty easy. Because I run such a tight schedule, around 95 percent of the items are pre-approved, so I can evaluate whether I want to feature them or not prior to the manufacturer sending them out. I probably turn down around twenty products per week as they are either below par or a duplication of what I have already covered. Some companies send products in on spec, some of these are great and make it onto the channel, but I have received some very poor or non-functioning products, that to be fair, would have been embarrassing to show to my audience.
How do you feel about YouTube implementing the pay channel model? What YouTube channels would you be willing to pay for?
I knew the pay or subscription model was coming, and, to be honest, I have mixed opinions on it. For the most I think it will not work in its current state. Most viewers will see content blocked unless they pay and simply search to find an alternative ‘free’ video. For example, if I were to publish an iPhone 6 Review video for free and another channel charged $2 subscription, which would you watch? Another issue is that a lot of the YouTube audience is under 16 and I cannot see them paying to watch videos at all.
That said, for entertainment channels, where production value is high, some viewers would be willing to pay. Maybe a few years down the road we might see the likes of The Big Bang Theory only being available on YouTube. At this stage the shift will start to happen and the days of conventional television will be numbered.
Would I pay to watch? Well, yes I would, but I will be waiting until Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, Raj and Penny make the switch too.
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