A chat message sent to your favorite YouTuber could cost you $500

A chat message sent to your favorite YouTuber could cost you $500

YouTube is once again rolling out new features but before everyone gets too excited – there is a catch.


YouTube has announced that it is finally offering content creators (aka “YouTubers” in the cool lingo) the ability to stream Live.  If you have been paying attention you know that YouTube streaming live is not new and has been around since 2011 and even recently, YouTbe streamed the world’s first 360-degree live video with 4k support.

What is new, is the ability to stream Live but from the mobile phone. So now YouTubers can fire up the app and chat with their fans from wherever they happen to be as long as they have a fairly decent internet connection.

Videos that are streamed live will be saved into the creator’s library of videos and these will be treated the same as “regular” videos with titles, description and could even be found later in search queries: “Live streaming from Miami beach” for example.

So what’s the catch?

Right now only creators with 10 000 subscribers and above have access to this facility. I am assuming it will be rolled out to others once the feedback is in and additional load on the system is analyzed.

I worry about Super Chatunnamed (1).gif

The second new feature that is rolling out is the called Super Chat and that is the ability for fans to send a chat message to the creator. Again, chats aren’t new and have been used in YouTube Live sessions as well as other apps such as Facebook Live and Instagram Live. This Super Chat is initially going to be available to creators in 20 countries and viewers in more than 40 countries.

“Super Chat is like paying for that front-row seat in the digital age: it lets any fan watching a live stream stand out from the crowd and get a creator’s attention by purchasing chat messages that are highlighted in bright colors and stay pinned to the top of the chat window for up to five hours” as the official release states.

Creators get to share in that revenue although it’s not clear how much of the message charge the creator gets to keep but the report is available in the Transaction Revenue Report.

And that’s the worrying part.

When I think of the kids who are swarming to follow their favorite YouTubers, they will love the Live Streaming. So when kids use their parent’s mobile device to “just watch a Live Stream”, it’s just a matter of time before we see an insane parent bill when the 10-year-old purchases $500 messages… Creators are able to encourage their audience to pay to have their message seen/ read out and even be given a shout-out which is a popular request especially by young kids who admire their YouTubing heroes.

$500 is not an exaggeration

Here are the costs that a fan can expect to pay per message (calculated for your currency):

I see a lot of chargebacks on credit cards and scammers now have a new way to move money around. This is open to serious abuse which I am sure YouTube is aware of. How they will curb the abuse remains to be seen…

Parents – you have been warned!


Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning blogger, YouTube strategist and Podcast. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging and real way that regular consumers can relate to. He also drinks too much coffee!

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