Creators On YouTube Can Now Receive "Tips" Directly From Viewers

Making money on YouTube is a bit of a struggle. In order to even have the opportunity to make ad revenue, your video must reach a certain amount of views. Even then you're only able to generate minimal revenue from these ads and, if your video traffic stops or drops, so does your ad income.

In July Google announced that soon all YouTube creators would be able to be "tipped" by viewers "at any time, for any reason." Now today that feature has quietly gone live. So what does that mean? When you watch a video published by a creator that has tips enabled, you'll see an icon in the upper left corner of the viewer. Hovering over it will reveal a "Support" button. Click on it, and you can choose exactly how much you'd like to donate.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki talked about the new feature in June. "To put it really simply, any viewer can show any creator their love by tipping them." The tip amounts are not shown to anyone but the donator and the creator, but the donator does get credit on any comment they leave. According to Google, the comment "will have a special badge next to it to let people know you supported (but the amount you selected will not be displayed)."

Fan Funding is only available in the U.S., Australia, Japan and Mexico. Google takes a 5% cut of all donations, plus a 21 cent fee (in the U.S.). The function is available through desktop browsers and the Android YouTube iPhone app functionality yet. Is this Google's first foray into crowdfunding? Or maybe a platform for new iterations of viral sensations like the #ALSIceBucketChallenge? We'll see.

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