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YouTube adds virtual tip jar feature

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Google YouTube TV Debuts

YouTube CEO Susan Wojicki speaks during the introduction of YouTube TV at YouTube Space LA.

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Amid mounting demand for recognition and compensation among internet content creators, YouTube has introduced a new feature that will allow users to pay people directly for their work.

The entertainment platform confirmed Tuesday that “Super Thanks,” a virtual tip jar through which viewers can donate money to their favorite channels at the click of a button, is on its way.

The rollout for the philanthropic widget, which will appear underneath creators’ individual videos, will begin with thousands of channels this week and take full effect by the end of the year. “Super Thanks” will enable site visitors to contribute amounts ranging from $2 to $50.

Creators who have been accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, which equips artists with creative resources and ad revenue for their videos, will be eligible for the “Super Thanks” feature. About a third of proceeds generated by the new tool will go to YouTube.

“At YouTube, we’re always looking for fresh ways creators can diversify their revenue streams,” said Neal Mohan, chief product officer at YouTube, in a statement.

“This new feature gives creators yet another way to earn money while also allowing them to strengthen relationships with viewers.

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By clicking the “Super Thanks” icon — which will trigger a celebratory explosion of animated balloons on the screen — users will also be given the option to comment their reason for donating below the video, where creators can respond.

The fresh addition marks YouTube’s third “super” option, following “Super Stickers” and “Super Chat,” which permit users to purchase a lingering reaction or comment on a creator’s livestream for other viewers to see.

As more creators have been leaving YouTube in search of greater audience engagement on popular apps such as Instagram and TikTok, the pioneering video platform has been devising new methods to court artists’ loyalty.

The introduction of “Super Thanks” comes a couple of months after YouTube launched a $100 million fund for creators of video Shorts — the company’s TikTok equivalent — to be doled out according to viewership and engagement rather than its typical ad-revenue model.

Last year, TikTok unveiled a $200 million fund to support content creators aiming to make a living off the Gen Z-facing platform. Meanwhile, Black TikTok creators — who consistently produce a sizable portion of the app’s most viral and imitated content — recently went on a production strike to expose how white creators depend on and benefit from their intellectual property without giving proper credit.

“I just think that this is very long overdue. When I first learned that there was a strike, I was in such amazement,” TikTok creator Keon Martin told the Los Angeles Times earlier this month.

“Black creators are just really tired of our dances and our trends being stolen. We’re not given credit, but a white person can do our trend and walk out with 100,000 followers.”

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