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How not to run a YouTube network

Discussion in 'YouTube' started by Ste Fishkin, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    In early to mid 2012 I ran a YouTube network. While it didn't last long (4 months), it was probably one of the strangest/most fucked up/fun periods of my life, it was none stop fuck ups from start to finish and it taught me more about business and making money than anything before, and anything after.

    This story is 100% true from start to finish - no bullshit. I'm not even going to change names as I doubt it will come back and hurt anyone anyway...

    This started in late 2011, I was making YouTube gaming videos and doing OK at it. I had met 3 people who I ended up talking to most days, playing with them, making content, trying to grow... It was all about the fun at first, but then we saw YouTube blow up and go from nothing to earning $100,000 a month. We all wanted that!

    The group was simple:
    • Leo - a gay guy who dressed up as a wolf and wanted to fuck other guys dressed up as wolves (they are called furys I think). He had huge social issues and claimed he could not leave his mothers house to get a real job because he feared leaving the house.
    • Gloomy - a graphic designer from new york living with 6 immigrants in a 3 bed apartment. Barely had a pot to piss in but he didn't give a fuck, a good guy.
    • Zack - a guy from somewhere near California, but not there. I remember he had the most amazing radio voice and he was a funny guy... as far as I know he's started his own network and is still at it in 2016. He was the only one who knew what the fuck we were meant to do.

    It turns out, starting a business with people you have never met, who are based in 3 different continents and you only know them by their xbox gamertag is a bad idea, but fuck it you only live once right?

    We were all struggling with YouTube, none of us were big enough to get partnered. None of us had any hope of the $100,000 a month the super stars were making, but through delusion and stupid thought we were still sticking with it.

    At the time I was a freelance web designer, youtube was something I used to break my day up. I was online for 9 to 14 hours a day either working or fucking around. We would have a none stop skype call going on for all this period, we talked a lot of shit. Broke down a lot of theories on how YouTube worked, found strategies for getting your video to stick at the top of the users subscription page, found ways to sneak our video onto the front page and worked out how YouTube SEO worked. That's how I found this place...

    We had all this knowledge, but no fucking talent. Leo wanted to fuck guys dressed as wolves who openly told everyone about it. Gloomy was called gloomy because he sounded gloomy, no one listens to that for entertainment. Zack was the most talented, but he made 1 video every month and that's not good enough. I was a troll, my videos were solely based around pissing people off on in game chat, trapping people in corners on call of duty and deliberately losing games for my team for reactions. My videos were probably only funny to me.

    We had no hope, and one day I snapped on skype on our call.

    Me: "You know who makes more money on YouTube than youtubers?"
    Gloomy: "probably google"
    Me: "What..."
    Gloomy: "they make all the advertising..."
    Me: "shut the fuck up, networks. Networks make the money. Fuck making videos, get kids to make videos for us and lets partner them"
    Zack: "how do we do that?"
    Me: "fucked if I know but if others have done it so can we."
    Leo: "A fury I know owns a network, OnAir.FM. He lives in Albania... I fucked him"
    Me: "how did you fuck an Albanian without leaving your mums house..."

    But lets leave that there...

    Over the next 3 weeks we focused on the network 100%. We got shit done! Between me and Leo we formed the company, registered the network channels, built branding packs, support desk software, signed our lives away to google, contract after fucking contract... Got the rights to show video games on our network, sorted out loads of music for partners to use, set up a website, drew up partner contracts, a forum, social channels, video intros..... We worked 100+ hours a week each and zack and Gloomy did what they could when they could.

    But we got there, we had our network. We could partner any fucking channel we like... we just needed to launch.

    At the time there were 3 networks in our gaming niche, Machinima. They just got a 30 million dollar investment from Google. We could not touch them... Yeousche, a shit network about 18 months old at the time and Vex, a brand new network that started the same month as us.

    We had to hit the ground running, we had to sign up a lot of people as fast as possible. We had to MAKE IT FUCKING HAPPEN and we did our best... but not much happened.

    Other channels didn't know who we were, they thought it was a scam. If we reached out to 1000 people we were lucky to sign 50 people up... It was a long hard slog and this was way before google opened adsense up. The only way you could get paid on YouTube was through a network.

    We were offering kids money, for doing stuff they already do, a no risk offer and they were still turning us down.

    What the fuck?!?!

    We did not understand this. We talked about it, it went roughly like this:
    Me: We are fucking up, we are doing something wrong. Our CPM is competitive, we offer a higher revenue share but no fucker trusts us.
    Gloomy: We don't have a brand like Yeousche, people know them
    Zack: No one likes yeouche, not even their own partners like yeousche
    Leo: Can someone buy me a pizza
    Me: Why don't we target the yeousche partners...
    Zack: What do you mean?
    Me: Offer them a better deal, 90% rev share. all the have to do is get dropped by their network by making a video talking shit about them. Kill the companies reputation, steal their partners. Grow our name.
    Zack: No we can't do that...
    Me: Why?
    Zack: because
    Me: Because what?
    Zack: ......

    So that's what we did. Our plan to grow our company was to bribe unhappy partners at another network to bad mouth this company, destroying their trust, brand and everything else while we stole their partners and claimed them as our own.

    As part of their contract with us a video had to me made explaining to their subscribers they signed with us.

    Before you knew it we started to grow... 10 partners turned into 25, into 50, into 100... The snowball effect was in full swing and Leo was working 12 hours a day checking contracts, adding people to our network and dealing with support.

    Gloomy and Zack were recruiting.

    I was left to handle the money, and self appointed myself as the guy in charge picking out opportunities and keeping us all together. It made sense, Gloomy and Zack had jobs and couldn't be online all day like me and Leo, and Leo was retarded.

    Things were growing, then one day Yeousche clocked on to our plan. At this point they probably lost 250 partners to us, that's 250+ videos of people saying bad bad shit about Yeousche and then 250+ videos of them announcing they signed with us. It was very obvious what was happening.

    One day I woke up, turned skype on and 2 people had added me. "Big Snacks" and "Chaos Silencer". I knew they were the two guys running Yeousche.. Uh-oh...

    I accepted their contact request, they immediately both called me.

    BS: "what the fuck do you think you are playing at"
    Me: "I don't know what you're talking about"
    CS: "We know you have been making our partners make videos about us"
    Me: "Got proof?"
    CS: "watch this" - He sent a youtube video of a skype call where I was explaining exactly what a yeousch partner should do to get kicked out...
    Me: "Yeah, you got me. so what's the plan"
    CS: "we're going to YouTube..."
    Me: "This is just a misunderstanding."
    BS: "You started a fucking war, this is unacceptable"
    Me: "If you want to play games, I'm already winning. So lets play games"

    I didn't give a fuck about their threat to call YouTube. They mentioned the word war, and I didn't give a fuck about anything else.

    This sounded fun.

    Part 2 coming later on, this is barely the beginning and I have to get some shit done.

    All further parts are below as replies in the thread.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  2. Peter Ngo

    Peter Ngo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Lol this is good,just grabbed some popcorn waiting for part 2.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
  3. Asif WILSON Khan

    Asif WILSON Khan Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    A tale of failure with the Ste Fishkin spin on things. Should be an entertaining story.
     
  4. Alma

    Alma Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    This is amazing.
     
  5. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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  6. Aluminium

    Aluminium Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    A long read.. But I can dig it ;).

    Sounds like your YouTube endeavours were quite crazy.
     
  7. Conor

    Conor Elite Member

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    If they don't make a movie about this, there is no more justice on earth.
     
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  8. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    Part 2

    Ok so, war was looming. I felt obligated to tell the other guys.

    Me: Yeousch are are onto us, they have a recording of me in a call telling a partner to make a video bad mouthing them
    Leo: Yeah it was [some guy], he recorded you so he could get a better deal from yeousche
    Me: Why didn't you tell me this...
    Leo: I didn't think it was important.

    During this Yeousche were sending out new contracts that locked users in forever, no 1 year terms as per their old contract. They were refusing to let people leave and this could not have played better for me. Not only were their partners ripping them to shreds and getting paid to do it but when YouTube called asking WTF is going on it meant we were not the only guys breaking the rules.

    We decided Leo was best speaking to them, as if they heard my voice the video recording our story would not work. Our plan was to state Big Snacks and Chaos Silence made the video to shut us down. It was bullshit and was totally fabricated to make us look like the bad guys. We explained their partners are unhappy but we had nothing to do with them making videos bad mouthing their network, it was something that a few of the yeousch partners did and it worked and others followed suit. They were naturally attracted to our network due to how much we pay.

    It fucking worked!!! Stupid youtube... But they did say this, which was rather special - "We have never seen a network get so many views in the first 30 days - keep doing the good work. We have no further action to take"

    We felt fucking invincible after this. We could do anything, piss anyone off, fuck with anyone and life would be ok. Our YouTube rep was totally on side and because of this we felt we could use the "oh they are trying to shut us down" card a lot to protect ourselves.

    We continued full steam ahead, Yeousche were crumbling at the seams, people were coming to us. We no longer had to reach out and we moved the 90% rev share model from just the ex-Yeousche partners to everyone in the network, new and old.

    Yeousche were desperate to fight back, and they soon did. Before long they were sending out email newsletters to all their partners and forum users "exposing" me in the skype recording they had. This did a little damage, but more than anything it pissed me off.

    Me: Chaos - what the fuck do you think you are doing with these newsletters, this is below the fucking belt
    CS: fuck off you started it
    Me: I'm giving you 48 hours to send another news letter apologising for this or our war will turn fucking nuclear.
    CS: Fuck off, what can you do to us. You have 2 teenagers and a gay wolf.
    Me: 48 hours and you will find out.

    We never made it to the 48 hour deadline, shortly after this he sent another newsletter saying other bad shit and quotes from people we approached. We stuck to our story of they made it up, but soon the hardcore Yeousche partners were making exposing videos as well... it wasn't going to plan

    I promised nukes, I brought fucking nukes.

    There was a Yeousche member of staff which was very friendly with us. We promised him $1000 up front and $500 a month to work for us. All he had to do was lift the contact details for all the partners (which they kept in a google spreadsheet) and lift the email list for their forum.

    This was easy, we had a 5th member of the team who helped Leo deal with partner support and signing them up and we just got something we could use to fuck Yeousche up with.

    I loaded everything into mailchimp, and it began. The first two emails on the list belonged to big snacks and Chaos Silencer, I left those on.

    The first email consisted of a picture of the yeousche logo on, which I took into my bathroom and did a shit on it. I was drunk as fuck, this is what I regret most but its key to the story.

    My girlfriend at the time walked in while I was putting newspaper on the floor to catch any shit if I missed, she asked what the fuck I was doing.

    Me: "I'm going to take a shit on this logo, then photograph it."
    her: "What?"
    Me: "I'm going to shit on this, then photo it"
    her: "what do you mean"
    Me: "just watch, I'm going to make us rich baby"

    I proceeded to shit on the logo and photograph it, she just didn't understand.

    As I bent down hovering over the piece of A4 paper I printed out I stared at her face, this is the most vivid memory I have of her. Shitting in our bathroom to send out as a mass email to act as an open declaration of war from me to Yeousche.

    Part 3 later - got more work to do.
     
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  9. Cryogenesis

    Cryogenesis Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    jesus fucking christ stephen.
     
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  10. reinie

    reinie Elite Member

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    I don't think one could have made that up if tried...lol good read
     
  11. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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  12. reinie

    reinie Elite Member

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    "CS: Fuck off, what can you do to us. You have 2 teenagers and a gay wolf."
     
  13. javabro

    javabro Power Member

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    ;););)

    Waiting for part 3
     
  14. b6ainy

    b6ainy Regular Member

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    Love what i read , don't late on Part 3 :cheerlead
     
  15. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    I can't concentrate on work, so fuck it. Part 3. I might finish this now, I might need more posts. sorry.

    So 2/3 days have passed since I got my hands on the email list, I was sending 1 email per day.

    I had a new skype request, DJ Keemstar (who you may know now as the drama alert guy who recently made a fake story about a streamer being a paedophile.)

    We talked:
    Keemstar: How the did you get that email list, Yeousche are saying you hacked them
    Me: No - we paid a member of staff to get it for us
    Keemstar: He's a mole
    Me: What? Nah fucking bullshit.
    Keemstar: It's alex isn't it - hes a mole.
    Me: How... Why did he give us the list?
    Keemstar: I'm fucking telling you, do not trust him, do not give him access to shit. Fire him as soon as you can, he will fuck you over.
    Me: Yeah, it is alex...
    Keemstar: He lives 20 mins from BigSnacks. He has done this before, he added you on skype and got friendly didn't he. Pretending his job sucked but saying how much he loves youtube and how he wants to stick with it but work somewhere else.
    Me: Oh shit... yeah....
    Keemstar: He is a fucking mole.

    Alex at this point had an account on our partner account, but more on this later.

    Keemstar: Another thing you may not know, Yeousche are not a real network.
    Me: What are you on about?
    Keemstar: Big Snacks and Chaos are affiliates of Fullscreen - fullscreen are the network. Yeousch just find them talent and take a cut
    Me: I need proof dude... come one...
    Keemstar: Here is a scan of the contract between them and fullscreen *file sent*
    me: How the fuck did you get that...
    Keemstar: I have fingers in every pie, every fucking pie.
    Me: You may be useful to us...

    I talked to keem often, he seemed ok but I never trusted him with shit. He had a lot of information really was like a fucking spy, he knew everything going on in every network, every company, every channel, every clan or group...

    It turns out Big Snacks and Chaos Silencer were caught mocking Keemstars daughter one day in a podcast they do. As you can imagine he was not best pleased.

    Keemstar one day asked me for a favour, I was little taken back and didn't want to do it but he was feeding me information non-stop and I had to do it to keep him sweet

    Keem: "send this out to the mailing list"

    It was a 300 word email, explaining that keemstar had bought all the rights to Yeousche from Big Snacks and Chaos Silencer. I thought it was strange.

    Keem: It needs to be sent from a yeousch.com email like your emails
    Me: No problem, but what is the end goal here... I'm not doing it if it interferes with my goals
    Keem: I want to fucking destroy them.
    Me: I want their partners
    Keem: Yeah, whatever. I just want them to lose their network rights or have their channels shut down.
    Me: I like this, ok. It works.

    The emails were sent, and more followed.

    At this point I was getting threats of legal action and all sorts from loads of people, but as I was in a different country I didn't give a fuck.

    However, not all of us were in the UK.

    Zack: WHAT THE FUCK HAVE YOU DONE!
    me: This is a war soldier (in a very stupid voice)
    Zack: 4 police officers were at my parents house today
    me: Did you rape a bitch again?
    Zack: They questioned me about hacking, emails I haven't sent and all the stupid shit you have done
    Me: Wait what...
    Zack: I want out, this cannot continue. This is too much
    Me: Hold on bro, what did they say
    Zack: I cannot sleep, I am shaking, you have no idea what you have done here
    Me: I'm sorry - I may have gone to far

    He immediately blocked me, and sent me this email 2 days later:

    This made me sad. We were 7 weeks in and already we were fucking up.

    Alex was no longer working very hard, and Leo was being Leo. It was around this time I got a complaint that he told a partner he would look good in a fur suit. He had a nice ass in his videos and he should visit Leo if hes ever in the UK.

    It must have fucked him up as he would only deal with me after that... Leo had that effect on people.

    Gloomy at this point was now running our hub channels. Working with partners to help them gain exposure on our community channels (as we called them) so they can grow. He did a great job.

    Things were growing, the war was calming down. Zack had gone at this point, but otherwise we were ok. I later added Zack from another account last year and apologised. He's doing well now with his own network...

    We were getting around 100 applications per day. Leo and Alex couldn't handle it. On the advice of Keem the only people that had access to anything important was me and Leo, alex understood. We explained it was due to expanding the team in the future and this makes it more scalable. We can't have 15 people working on the same file, it will be a cluster fuck.

    But soon we were getting more and more applications. 150 a day, 200, 300.... Most of them were absolutely not suitable to our content niche or their channel was shit or brand new... But you still need to sift through the wheat to remove the chaff.

    Leo: We can't handle this, we need a new system.
    Me: Yeah I can see this, it's going to implode
    Leo: We get 275 applications a day, only 25 are any good.
    Me: I know.
    Leo: We get 100 support tickets a day, I cannot keep up.
    Me: I know.

    We had a couple of hours brain storming ideas. I raised the idea of a $100 'deposit' for applying to our network.

    This was absolutely against YouTube guidelines. This is no warning, you are just gone kind of shit. This is totally against everything you sign when becoming a network.

    But we got away with everything else, so why not do this...

    So this is what we did, a $100 buy now button on our application form. We didn't even hide the fact we were doing it... To submit their application they had to pay.

    It was weeks before anyone caught on. On our website we stated this was a "deposit" to prove you were serious about your channel serious about youtube. People still applied... Whats $100 to make $3/1000 views right? These guys were getting 10,000+ views per day. It would pay for itself in no time and we made that very fucking clear.

    But what it did do was keep the no marks away from us. Guys with 5 subscribers who have 500 total views.... Fuck off.

    At one point we would have taken them on just to bump up numbers, but we were semi-established and going viral.

    We were making $1500 per day in these deposits. I sat my girlfriend on my lap and said

    Me: "remember when I shat in the bathroom like an idiot"
    her: yeah...
    Me: *logging into paypal* - look what I did with it...

    Of course, shitting in a picture didn't do this. I knew that but she didn't. She never treated me the same since and I needed to justify it.

    Me: sometimes you are 1 shit away from success

    Part 4 soon - I need to go for lunch.
     
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  16. b6ainy

    b6ainy Regular Member

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    Love what i read , don't late on Part 3 :cheerlead
     
  17. SH-M

    SH-M Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Interesting.

    What was the thing about Onair.FM (Albania)? I know the guys got pretty wealthy from that network as they've contracted the majority of the commercial singers in Albania, with most of these "artists" making up to 5k per event (singing).
     
  18. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    On Air are a huge company - Leo knew the guy in charge of their YouTube side from the fury community, he talked us through how to apply for a network from start to finish.

    When we lost the network (next part) Leo tried to carry it on as a sub network of OnAir but they wanted too much money and imposed to many rules. It just didn't work out for him.

    I believe On Air are a radio/TV station in albania, although I never looked into it. I'm aware they make money.
     
  19. MrJoe

    MrJoe Newbie

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    It's a fascinating story. Would be something that could be made into a movie.
     
  20. Ste Fishkin

    Ste Fishkin BANNED BANNED Jr. VIP

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    I don't want a story which contains me shitting on a piece of paper made as a movie. I don't care who plays me, its not happening.
     
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