YouTube.com was activated on February 14, 2005.

On April 23, 2005, the first YouTube video was uploaded. Entitled Me at the Zoo, it features YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego Zoo.

While the world’s third most popular website, behind Google and Facebook, has changed over the years, one question remains: How do I make money on YouTube?

Get someone to do it for you while you focus on your craft and upload great content. One way is through a “multi-channel network” – an MCN. They aggregate YouTube channels, and attempt to help creators get better advertising rates, sponsorship opportunities, and much larger audiences.

Three of the most popular MCN’s, in no particular order, are Fullscreen, Maker Studios (which sold itself to Disney for $500 million) and Studio71, each with their own identity, and each boosting billions of monthly views.

If you’re creating something engaging and unique, even if it isn’t in a typical YouTube genre, you might have exactly what an MCN is trying to find. If you grab the attention of an MCN and they want to sign you up, here are some tips regarding some of the deal points you should encounter:

  • The duration of the agreement. While one factor is the actual number of months/years of the term, a related consideration is the MCN’s ability to extend the term.
  • The money. As with most agreements regarding profit sharing, the devil is in the details. You might be getting a healthy percentage of the net revenue, but make sure you understand what expenses incurred by the MCN are reimbursed through your revenues before you get paid.
  • Creative control. Who has it? Can the MCN censor your content if they don’t like it?
  • Minimum video requirements. Are you being required to upload daily? Only sign up for what you can handle, and ideally avoid a minimum required output.
  • Promotion. You will likely be required to promote other channels in the MCN. Make sure you get promoted on other channels too and find out what else the MCN has in store to increase your audiences, which in turn increases your revenues.

Don’t be afraid to ask what the MCN’s existing members earn, and what corporate sponsors they are working with who would be a good fit to organically advertise in your work.

YouTubers should consider asking themselves, what would make their life easier when making, distributing and monetizing videos, and seeing which MCN, if any, can provide a great solution, but only if the agreement terms are worth it.