# A Very Lucky Day
In October of 2014, I won $33,175 on a single spin of a slot machine. It was the most money I’ve ever won in my life and it was all very exciting! While I could describe the event for you in full detail, I don’t need to, as you can watch it right here:
Yes, I recorded a video of that Jackpot as it actually happened. I don’t recall exactly why I had the inspiration to do so, but since that time I’ve taken hundreds of “Slot Videos” and conservatively estimate over 1 million are viewed each day on YouTube from all creators in this space. Shocked? Maybe you shouldn’t be, as people watching others play video games is a billion dollar business so why not slot machines? Recall how Amazon acquired video game streaming service Twitch in 2014 for 1.1 billion!
# Opportunity Knocks
I confess that when I posted that original Zeus video, I had ZERO experience working in social media. And I truly mean zero: not even a Facebook post. I was starting from scratch but I thought it would be fun and before I knew it, I started gaining subscribers and generating revenue.
Without even realizing it, I’d become a YouTube Creator and starting posting videos more frequently!
Here is the second largest win I’ve had on the Midnight Matinee slot machine in April of 2018:
If you watch both videos carefully, you’ll notice there are many key differences between them and in fact, the latter is the result of literally years of experience working with YouTube. For example, in Midnight Matinee, there is a title screen and an end screen, it’s longer, it has more ads, and I react to winning versus staying mute. The overall quality of the video is much better, too.
As ad revenue began to grow, my YouTube channel became a legitimate pillar of our business and now contributes significantly to our bottom line. After years of effort, all of our hard work is paying off and we are now on our way to reaching the coveted 100k subscriber milestone.
And for those who do not know, over the long-term, you can’t win playing slot machines directly, although as content on YouTube, maybe, just maybe, videos of recorded play could become the foundation for a successful online business.
# And Poof, It Was All Gone
This is not to say there hasn’t been challenges! As a creator you are completely dependent on the YouTube platform and it’s something you take for granted until issues develop. For example, in December of 2017 a technical problem caused our channel to become “Demonitized”, which means ads were not being served. At the most critical earning time of the year, revenue went to zero and there wasn’t a damn thing we could do about it. Tens of thousands of dollars were lost and I had zero visibility with regard to when service would be restored or even if it would be restored. The lesson here is that you are completely at their mercy and frankly it’s a bit scary. The sad reality is that the work they needed to do to solve our issue could have been accomplished within 15 minutes and besides saving me from countless sleepless nights, it would have increased their revenue also by tens of thousands through the standard revenue share agreement. It’s good to be Google, for sure, right?! For the rest of us – zero recourse. (Google owns YouTube).
Another scary moment occurred in May of 2018 when two of the most prominent slot channels (“The Big Jackpot” and “Brian Christopher”) were abruptly terminated for two days. Think about that: these creators invested 1000s of hours into their channels and for Brian Christopher, it’s his full-time career. And yet they were terminated without reason. When your channel is terminated you are given one appeal and if denied, it means Game Over for good as further appeals will not be accepted. Brian Christopher was informed his appeal was denied and yet within two days, both channels were fully restored without comment to them. My question is, how do policies & protocols exist that allow for channels to be shut down without reason, denied appeals, and then restored without any explanation? The fact that mistakes can occur, where you have no recourse to have them corrected and you are just left completely in the dark is ludicrous. As there aren’t any competitive alternatives, creators can only hope YouTube improves their processes before they may also end up as collateral damage. Once again, it’s scary to build a business that can get wiped out over a mistake or by ignorance as no one will tell you what you’re doing wrong, the ax will just swing, and poof, it’s all over.
You can read more about this drama in The Atlantic and in Forbes:
# Lessons Learned
It will soon be 4 years as a YouTube content creator, and here are some lessons I’ve learned along the way:
- Focus on providing the best content for viewers, making sure your titles and descriptions accurately reflect your videos: don’t try and “game” the system. What makes for good content? That’s an article onto itself and will depend on your subject matter.
- It’s useless to compete from the standpoint of hoping that other similar channels in your space lose, so take the opposite approach and become an active member of your particular community. I make it a point to watch other channels in my space and have made friends in the process – we all learn from each other!
- Always be thoughtful about any major decisions you make that may greatly affect your channel. For example, think very carefully before entering into a partner relationship with any other company or doing anything out of the ordinary, especially if you have potentially controversial content. This even includes content on any websites you may link to from your channel.
- While the future may bring a huge payoff, it’s hard to imagine a successful channel not coming from a personal passion where you enjoy the whole process of building your channel brick-by-brick, or subscriber-by-subscriber, as it may be. This should be viewed as a marathon and if you’re easily discouraged, this isn’t for you.
- YouTube constantly works to “improve” its platform and sometimes this works for you and other times it works against you. Realize these changes generally affect everyone in your space equally, so you need to be flexible and just move forward. Sometimes a change that may start as a challenge turns into an opportunity instead!
- Keep your eyes open and research other channels in your space as tactics that others are using are many times right out in the open, and can be incorporated into your arsenal, too.
# Looking Forward
Moving forward, I’ve really been encouraged lately as everything has been firing on all cylinders! Over the past 10 years through our company Priva, we’ve been developing online businesses for others and now, it’s our turn. This is a great time to not sit back, but vault forward by continuing to build the channel to the milestone of 100k subscribers. In parallel, the website will also be improved to include a “Scoreboard Module” to bring exposure to the whole slot community and also a land-based casino locater.
Our YouTube channel can be found at https://www.youtube.com/TheBigPayback
You can visit our website at TheBigPayback.com
And our corporate website can be found at Privamedia.com
Have a question about YouTube or developing a custom application for the web? Feel free to contact me, Tim Wojnar, anytime.
This was a guest post submitted to the LaunchHouse blog. If you’d like to submit one, please read our guidelines here.