The Hustle

How demonetized YouTuber pranksters still rake in dough

The Nelk Boys are YouTube pranksters. Despite making $0 from YouTube ads, the group pulled in $50m last year on merch!


July 1, 2021

The Nelk Boys are one of YouTube’s most popular prank groups.

Led by 26-year-old Kyle Forgeard, the group’s outrageous videos are known for going “full send” (a slogan that essentially means “all in”).

But despite racking up nearly 1B views and 6.63m subscribers, the group makes $0 from the platform.

YouTube demonetized the Nelk Boys…

… last fall after they posted in defiance of COVID-19 protocols.

Forgeard told The New York Times’ Taylor Lorenz that their revenue was already low due to the channel’s crude content, which they don’t plan to change.

They make money in other ways:

How much do monetized YouTubers make? It varies.

A creator with 1.9k subscribers told Business Insider she could make ~$2.3k/year, while a finance YouTuber with 1m subscribers cited $444k in annual ad revenue.

Business Insider also talked to 6 creators who’d made between $3.4k and $40k on a video with 1m views. That’d be at least 1,250 videos to make the $50m the Nelk Boys made on merch.

Compare that to what creators can make via sponsorships and other ventures — especially those with a fan base like the Nelk Boys — and YouTube can still be profitable, even if it won’t pay you.

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