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The financial hardships of mid-level YouTube stars

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We’ve all heard of the “internet famous”  Those lucky individuals who have received internet celebrity status through their endeavors and talents mostly on social media channels.

The top YouTubers have fans like any other celebrity, and rake in millions of dollars. But what about those YouTubers who have mid-tier status? Are their lives just as glamorous?

In a recently published article on Fusion titled, Get Rich or Die Vlogging: The Sad Economics of Internet Fame,” YouTube star Gaby Dunn wrote about the financial hardships that face some mid-tier YouTube stars.

Dunn has a YouTube channel, Just Between Us, with her best friend Allison Raskin, with more than 500,000 subscribers. Despite all this success the pair are “just barely scraping by.”

“There are hidden costs that people don’t see. And I started to get very nervous, too, because I would have young kids come up to me and say ‘I want to be a YouTuber when I grow up,’ and I was like, ‘No, you don’t want to be YouTuber. You want to be a makeup artist with a YouTube channel, you want to be in video production, you want to be a comedian and a screenwriter who writes scripted content for YouTube whatever it is.'” But the idea of I’m a YouTuber as a job, I started to get very nervous that there’s an entire generation that thinks that’s a job,” she said.

A photo posted by Gaby Dunn (@gabyroad) on

Allison Raskin (above) and Gaby Dunn (below), co-hosts of the web series “Just Between Us.” Photo credit: Julian Latif

Dunn says although it’s possible to make more money on YouTube by taking any job from advertisers that come their way, they would lose all their followers if they did so.

“The followers don’t understand. They, like, really get so p—– and so resentful and I never really understood that because they would be like ‘everything you do is promoted.’ But if you look at our channel there’s 120 videos that are free … and five that we’ve made with a sponsor. And people are so resentful and so rude about it because they think you are getting money for nothing,” she said.

As for the future and making money, Dunn sees many possibilities.

“Allison and I would like to be showrunners, and there is a new thing called YouTube Originals and YouTube Red, which is paid content on YouTube. So that’s a very interesting thing they are trying to do, sort of the Netflix, Amazon model,” she said.

Dunn says what she and Raskin want most of all is to keep creating.

“I used to think there was an end game, like how a lot of young kids are like ‘I would like to be a YouTuber’ and that’s the end game. And now I’m sort of like the best you can hope for is to keep working. And that’s what I want. I want to keep working. But there needs to be some financial security in that working,” Dunn said.

Additional production by Praveen Sathianathan

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