LI teens make big bucks from YouTube

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All those parents griping about their kids posting videos to YouTube might want to reconsider when they hear about Eric Striffler, 18 of Manorville, and Mac Guttenberg, 14, of Plainview.

Each has been posting videos that have drawn such large and devoted followings that YouTube has included both filmmakers in its user-partner program, in which YouTube shares with them ad revenue - more than 50 percent - from display and overlay ads on or near their videos.

That places both Striffler, a senior at Eastport South Manor Junior and Senior High School, and Guttenberg, a freshman at Plainview-Old Bethpage's John F. Kennedy High School, among the program's top earners, which include hundreds of partners who are raking in thousands of dollars a month, says Aaron Zamost, YouTube spokesman.

Striffler said he's delighted to be bringing in as much as $2,000 a month, but that if the program were to stop, "I would not stop making videos. . . . I don't do it for the money."

In 2006 he launched his first YouTube channel, EricStrifflerVids, where he posts brief vignettes, followed in December 2007 by the ErickWithNoK channel, featuring short entertainment commentaries and reviews. He garnered close to a million hits on a recent review of the film "Twilight," and thousands of comments and video responses overall.

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Comments range from "nice video u rock" for "The fizzy incident," involving a dropped bottle of soda, to serious discussion about Black History Month, in which he makes the case for black history being celebrated year round as part of American history. Among the ads that pop up on or near his videos: SodaHead.com and TalentHunter.com.

Of course, not everyone sees the same ads, which are placed based on video content, as well as viewing and browsing history of the viewer, Zamost said.

The whole idea of the partner program, he added, is to allow video makers to "focus on creating great content, and we take care of distributing and monetizing it."

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Participants have applied for the program through Youtube.com/partners, but YouTube also has reached out to "our most popular and prolific users," inviting them to join.

Successful partners offer a variety of content, he said, mentioning a man in Florida who posts video tips on things such as how to chill a room-temperature soda in a minute and a half; a woman in Arizona who posts makeup tips; and the creator of the celebrity humor Whatthebuckshow, who is earning six figures.

Guttenberg, featured on the Supermac18 channel officially run by his dad, Mark Guttenberg, said in an e-mail that people are coming up to him in malls and restaurants asking for photos and autographs.

Among his recent titles: "My Dog Looks Like A Grumpy Old Grandma," and "Your Brain in Midterms."

A video he did a year ago on a family road trip has had 1.3 million hits. Placed next to these videos have been ads for Pizza Hut, CafePress.com and the DVD of "Marley and Me."

His monthly income? It's been about $3,000, which his dad says is, for the most part, being put into savings.

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