January 31, 2008 // 3:19 am
- YouTube users in the UK will be given the chance to make money from the videos they post on the site.
The project is already up and running in the US and is now being extended to other countries, starting in the UK.
In the US some contributors are already earning thousands of dollars each month from their films, according to the video-sharing site.
The amount that is earned will depend on the number and popularity of the videos, it said.
Those signing up to the YouTube Partner Programme, as it is called, will be offered a share of the revenue generated from advertisements that run next to their video.
YouTube is not disclosing the exact details of the scheme, but does say that those making "several thousand dollars a month" are regularly producing videos with over one million views.
"The more videos you have and the more popular your stuff is, the more money you are going to make," said a spokesman for the site.
The first wave of US partners - including singer/songwriter Tay Zonday, wordsmith hotforwords and comedians apauledtv and peteandbrian - have already become responsible for a significant percentage of YouTube's total traffic, according to the site.
Tay Zonday's song "Chocolate Rain" has enjoyed 14m clicks to date, spawned over 1,000 response videos and seen him flown to Canada and Germany to mark YouTube's local launches in those territories.
Drinks brand Dr Pepper have based a product around it and made Tay the star of a glossy ad to promote it.
In the UK, among those waiting to sign up is GiR2007, a computer scientist whose most popular video 'Pancakes' has generated 2.5m clicks to date.
While Nerimon is already a YouTube star on the back of his so-called 5-fact Vlog Tag game which swept YouTube late last year.
The game involves users sharing five facts about themselves in a video and alerting five other members to the post. Those five members then make a video and so on.
Nerimon now has a 10,000 strong gang of followers.
British member Jimmy0010 has more modest fan base.
But the Midlands-based blogger takes it as a compliment that YouTube values his channel enough to have adverts.
"It's just an added incentive really for me to push myself and make videos to my best ability, he said.
"Obviously it's a fantastic hobby, but having people offer me money helps me make them a bit better."
Increasingly social networks and user-generated content sites are offering people a chance to make money for the content they create.
"As people are spending more time on such sites they are increasingly thinking about how to monetise it," said Alex Burmaster, analyst with research firm Nielsen Online.
"It is at a small level at the moment but if you are putting something on YouTube that is generating traffic for them perhaps it is only fair that you get a cut of it," he said.
However he suspects the first YouTube millionaire is still a long way off.
"It is very hard to generate a lot of income from it and it would have to something pretty amazing to make a lot of money," he said.
YouTube hopes to expand the Partner Programme to the rest of Europe soon.