YouTube is testing a new “applause” feature to allow users to tip creators — and, of course, YouTube will take 30 percent of the profits. The feature is rolling out in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, and New Zealand. It’s also only available on the desktop version of YouTube right now.
Right now the applause option is only available for creators in the YouTube Partner Program.
Show your support — YouTube creators have made a living out of uploading videos for a long time now. But creators’ incomes are very much dependent on a variety of factors, many of which — such as advertising revenue — are out of viewers’ control. A tipping option will give users the ability to better control how they support their favorite creators.
This is similar to Twitch’s model for creators, where viewers can tip on top of their monthly subscriptions. However, YouTube will cap tips at $500 USD per week or $2,000 per week. Each virtual clap is $2, and all applause tips are non-refundable.
But not all that cash goes to the creator — Of course, there’s a catch: YouTube will pocket 30 percent of applause tips. So while YouTube’s latest feature has the potential to pad creators’ income from the platform, Google will be profiting from it, too. YouTube is not being altruistic here by any means — viewers will be applauding for the creator, and YouTube will be profiting from it.
The applause feature will undoubtedly bring more cash flow to those in YouTube’s Partner Program, and viewers will enjoy the personal connection of tipping. But viewers would do well to remember that YouTube is taking a hefty share of the tips, too.