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Social Status: MetaCafe's Kipkay makes a living doing online videos

November 3, 2008 |  4:33 pm

Kip Kedersha Despite all the hype behind online video, critics point out that it's been difficult for anyone to make money on it so far. Content providers are, for the most part, offering their videos for free; online advertising is in a lull; and YouTube, the monster of all Internet video, is still struggling to turn a profit.

So, how is Kip Kedersha making his living with online video? With its series of instructional videos, Kedersha's Kipkay Videos has attracted millions of viewers, and, more important in the Internet video world, hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue in the last couple years.

For our latest installment in the Social Status status, which profiles the top users of social media websites, we hooked up an instant message chat with Kedersha to find out how he managed to become the all-time top-grossing MetaCafe user. In the two years since he signed up with the online video portal, he has earned more than $120,000 from MetaCafe's advertising model -- the No. 2 user has less than half that amount.

So, what is the secret to success for this 50-year-old video producer from St. Petersburg, Fla.? He sticks to a niche. Most of the 89 videos posted on his profile are how-to videos, usually technical in nature, such as hacking a radar gun or turning a flashlight into a laser pointer capable of popping a balloon (the latter earned more than $11,000 on MetaCafe).

Although Kedersha attributes his early successes online to MetaCafe's ad program, he's begun to turn some of his attention to YouTube, which began offering revenue sharing with users who display Google ads on their video pages. Kedersha said in our chat:

Kipkay: Well I have been active on MetaCafe for 2 years now and less than a year on YouTube's Partner program. I believe I will see YouTube surpass MetaCafe's view count for my videos. [MetaCafe's] video views have dramatically dropped.

KK: The income is nothing like it used to be and the Producer videos you see on MetaCafe are not making anywhere near the money they were a year ago. Most are in the $100 range.

LA Times: But $114,000 in two years. That's more than many people make in their full-time jobs.

KK: Agreed. I make around $2,000 a month now on MetaCafe. In the 'heyday' I had $8,000 to $11,000 months.

One of Kedersha's surprise YouTube hits was a clip unlike any of his others. It didn't involve dismantling any equipment or soldering any microchips. It employed a tried and true formula: short in length and with a cute animal. The video, Round Dog vs. Square Hole, shows a curious critter attempting to wedge itself through an opening in a bathroom cabinet. In just one day, the video earned him $500 -- more than the rest of his MetaCafe videos' combined gross in any given day.

But for the most part, Kedersha has chosen to stick to his signature how-to clips. His prosperity as an independent video producer caught the attention of Make Magazine, which hired him to shoot and produce its Weekend Projects clips. And although the online video well doesn't seem poised to run dry any time soon, he still has the steady paycheck to complement the risky and sometimes unpredictable Web  market.

-- Mark Milian

Photo: Kip Kedersha. Credit: Kipkay Videos