Meet Team Internet’s Stars & The Fight to Keep the Level Field
The big dogs of #TeamInternet right now ARE made up of young millennials who have managed to turn fledgling followings on social media platforms into multi-million dollar global media empires.
There is YouTube star Michelle Phan who, with her 7 million subscribership following, has an $84 milion sale churn rate of various products she sells, according to a recent Business Insider report. Her first book “Make Up” is an Amazon best seller.
The 27-year old once receiving food stamps and was turned down for a Lancome sales job. On a hunch that perhaps she could get her millions of followers to pay for a product if she sold it, given all the advice, tips and suggestions she offers them thru her channel, Phan started selling $10 monthly subscriptions of glam bags consisting of various make samples. It worked!
Soon her influence over a billion of make-up loving tweens and teens led to major endorsement deals with brands like Coca Cola to her own make up line with L’Oreal. Lancome also ended up asking her to be its brand ambassador. Today, she owns a cosmetics-related start up and has interests in a digital music label.
Team Internet also includes another YouTuber, Swede Felix Kjellberg, who at age 25, makes about a million dollars from Adsense playing video games under the title “Let’s Play” on YouTube. His fan base includes 2.8 Million following on Twitter. Another member includes once unemployed 20-year old Matthew Varrone who makes between $600 and $1,000 a month in ad revenue from his videos via his YouTube channel, “Awesomefaceprod,” which has grown to 20,000 subscribers since he started Let’s Playing in 2011.
Gossip Blogger Natasha Eubanks from the website Young, Black and Fabulous parlayed her top-ranked blog that she started while on hiatus from law school following Hurricane Katrina into a gig as a national correspondent on a nationally-syndicated talk show, The Real.
Author and Parenting Blogger Denene Millner ghost wrote a New York Times Best-selling book “Act like a Man, Think like a woman” with comedian and TV host Steve Harvey which got optioned into a box-office hit movie.
Filipino American Jared Eng quit his job as a marketer to blog full time and eventually earned a 7 figure salary and became a bloglebrity himself.
Team Internet Members are not just the young people who’ve made it BIG on the Internet, but also those who want to preserve the Internet so that those coming behind them can have similar experiences.
They are not just about taking nothing and turning into something big but also about not letting stoic and rudimentary restrictions from the traditional brick- and-mortar dimension road block their success.
For example, when a record label assumed its music was partially responsible for the success of Phan’s videos, it used the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to go after her. Eventually, the two settled and Phan will soon launch her own digital music label Shift Music Group in partnership with Cutting Edge Music.
But before doing so, she worked on plans to enable content creators to launch their dreams without the fear of copyright trolls beating down their doors before they could even make a penny.
“We’re living in an age where we should be collaborating,” Phan told an audience at a recent event. “Because it’s the Internet now. It’s hard to say who owns what. I’m here to protect my fellow YouTubers. … I’m here to fight and stand my ground.”
No doubt there’d be a direct and explicit chilling effect of closing down creativity and mediums for underserved and niche markets whose needs are not met by mainstream media.
Team Internet’s goals could also be interweaved into the current Net Neutrality debate which many in the tech, internet biz and youth generation have latched onto, seemingly not really knowing the real life implications of handing off the Internet to the government to regulate.
Those working a round-the-clock, breaking only briefly to barely socialize with family and friends, serial nap, then dive back in, cannot afford to have the vibrant internet ecosystem shaken up in a way to stagnate our progress.
And just as we attempt true independence through angel or venture capital or some other investment vehicle or source, there is a risk that volatility and uncertainty in the sector would scare them away.
The current ambiguity is risky.
There’s risk as to who would be subject to Internet regulation, how the FCC would regulate and whether Congress will authorize a re-write of the 1996 Telecom Act .
No doubt, however the FCC ultimately comes down, we can expect litigation from unsatisfied parties.
And with litigation comes further uncertainty, potentially years-long appeal process and as it all works its way up the legal judicial and administrative law ladder and back down again.
Who stands to lose is the next generation of Phan, Eubanks, Engs working their pay and prepping their investor pitch.
Without finality, investors may likely, and are choosing other growth sectors not similarly marred with ambiguity and indecision.
Team Internet’s growth depends on the Internet remaining Open and Free and unencumbered and limited.