Popular on YouTube? You may soon get a profit cut

Lonelygirl15 among video contributors sustaining "large, persistent audiences" the Google site is offering a partnership.

Google's YouTube is now ready to cut some video makers in on the action.

The shared revenue will come from advertising money generated in connection with individual contributors' videos, the company announced in its blog Thursday.

But the policy won't extend to everyone.

Unlike video-sharing site Revver, which shares its advertising revenue with all of its contributors, YouTube's partnership deal is strictly for contributors that YouTube feels are significant and draw a crowd--in other words, the popular kids.

Among the chosen partners are Lonelygirl15, LisaNova, renetto, HappySlip, smosh, valsartdiary and others who have garnered YouTube celebrity status.

The new arrangement has been in the works for some time. In January, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley said the video-sharing site was making plans to compensate video creators. A big question at the time was how YouTube would incorporate advertising with the user-generated videos.

"We're going to continue evaluate the program....Part of the reason the program is limited is to help us ensure that our advertisers are comfortable with content their advertising is adjacent to," Jamie Byrne, head of product marketing for YouTube, said in an e-mail.

"Because they have built and sustained large, persistent audiences through the creation of engaging videos, their content has become attractive for advertisers, which has helped them earn the opportunity to participate on YouTube as a partner," the company blog said.

"Once they've selected a video to be monetized," the blog continued, "we'll place advertising adjacent to their content so participating user-partners can reap the rewards from their work."

The shift is significant because it creates a stratification among YouTube users, a site that has touted itself as a place of egalitarian opportunity. The company has already been providing similar revenue-sharing and promotional deals with big content providers ranging from video game companies to universities to the NBA.

YouTube community reaction to the news thus far has been positive but pointed.

"That's great...Now how do we get part of the action?" YouTube member kaysha2201 posted in response to the blog entry. That sentiment has rippled through the entire YouTube community.

YouTube said it will offer the chance for others to apply for partnership status through something called a "partnership lead form."

The blog NeeTeeVee was first to report on YouTube's new policy, in an interview with Jamie Byrne, vice president of marketing at YouTube, posted late Thursday night.

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