You don't have to be some high-paid auteur or even create a wildly popular character like "Fred" to cash in on YouTube.
Google announced Tuesday that its video site is opening the YouTube Partnership Program to the masses--provided they're packing a hot video.
YouTube said in a note posted to Google's blog that it will enable users who start accumulating lots of hits to generate revenue from their clips--provided they meet YouTube's terms.
"To determine whether a particular video is eligible for monetization, we look at factors like the number of views, the video's virality, and compliance with the YouTube terms of service," YouTube said in the blog. "If your video is eligible for monetization, you will receive an e-mail and see an 'Enable Revenue Sharing' message next to your video on the watch page, as well as in other places in your account."
Once a user says yes, YouTube goes to work selling advertising against the user's video.
Critics have always knocked YouTube's alleged inability to monetize the amateur-made videos on the site. Advertisers were afraid to get anywhere near this kind of content because it was too unpredictable. But that was when people thought YouTube would only serve ads against all of the content on its site.
The program gives YouTube the ability to choose only the choice material.
"It's taken us some time," YouTube wrote, "to build out the YouTube Partnership Program, our content-management tools and other infrastructure to handle expanding the (program) to so many individual users and videos."