YouTube has propelled everyday people with talent, personality and guts into celebrities. As if getting onto the Ellen show wasn’t enough, many are now turning their celebrity status into commercial value, by crowdfunding non-existent products or even for charity.
Pewdiepie, the number one YouTuber with 32 million subscribers, raised $342,828 for a charity called Save The Children via crowdfunding site IndieGoGo. Stars like Pewdiepie, don’t need to be anointed by a studio or network any more – the Internet lets them go straight to their audience. And they’re using their tens of millions of fans to go into retail or other ventures.
But not just any retail. Internet celebrities aren’t going down the traditional path and co-branding themselves for a display at Nordstrom’s. They’re selling things that don’t exist yet, taking pre-orders or running a crowdfunding campaign, and making only as many items as their fans ask for. It’s on-demand retail.
And it’s happening everywhere. Well-known startups like Pebble, Lockitron and Coin have been pre-selling products before they’re made to early customers based on a media splash. Often bypassing distribution channels like Amazon, because crowdfunding has made it simple to go it alone.
Crowdfunding merchandise is a twist on what some stars have done in the past. Video blogger Bethany Mota has her own Aeropostale clothing line, as do Nash & Hayes Grier, Cameron Dallas and Carter Reynolds. The act of crowdfunding itself has produced Youtube fame, as noted by this year’s Coolest Cooler, which raised over $13 million in a pre-order campaign whose video has netted over 2 million views.
There are good reasons why celebrities are moving into crowdfunded merchandise instead of traditional retail. Pre-selling online, and
Rather than relying on traditional TV advertising or in-your-face shelf placement, these stars and startups are using YouTube antics and growth hacks to sell to fans directly, sidestepping retail altogether. Plug-and-play online platforms are making it painless to presell and fulfill products on demand, driving the increasing popularity of crowdfunding among Youtube celebrities.
Many people think that brick-and-mortar stores are being replaced by Amazon, but the real winner is the Internet itself, and the people who know how to use it. YouTube stars — which also include Epic Rap Battles of History, Shaytards and Cryaotic — know how better than anyone else, with some raising over $300,000 in a single campaign — and as much $50,000 in a single day.
Posted from : http://www.forbes.com/sites/jlim/2014/12/23/internet-celebrities-are-changing-crowdfunding-this-holiday-season/