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Getting A Check In Exploitation 2.0

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The days of the talented waiting to be discovered by large companies with the means to distribute, exploit, and pay them a fraction of what the company is making are over. That process is soon to get an express lane. Exploitation 2.0 hasn’t often compensated the users that generate content, but that is changing.

Imagine that one popular four-minute video that cost you nearly nothing to make earns equivalent to the per-capita income of Louisiana. For a MetaCafe.com user, a video of an acrobatic martial artist attracted over 4.6 million users and put nearly $24,000 in his bank account.

After a beta period, MetaCafe launched its Producer Rewards program on Monday that pays video-sharers for views on a CPM basis — $5 for every 1000 views and a user-rating of 3.00 (out of 5) or higher. A spray-painting video earned $3,600; an acrobatic break dancing video earned $6,500 due to an Acura commercial running before or after the video.

As pointed out by Wired.com’s Michael Calore, other video sites, like Revver.com, Break.com, and Yahoo Current Network, pay users for their content once they reach certain levels.

When YouTube was independent, the model’s novelty was enough to get it off the ground with user-submissions, but it also brought, at its peak, a million-dollar-per-month bandwidth bill. Paying users perhaps didn’t fit in with the model or the budget.

But that will change now that Google is in charge. It’s easy to imagine, once word gets out that other user-generated video sites are paying their users, that users will begin jumping ship.

Unlessas we heard recently, Google is set to launch AdWords for Audio to monetize audio files for podcasts. It’s not much of a stretch to think an AdSense option for videos is a possibility, similar to the program MetaCafe is offering.

At least, it would seem pretty stupid if they didn’t.

This is another symptom of rapidly changing media. Few may be willing to say the way of Hollywood is out – won’t there always be a market for the professional and beautiful actor or actress? Won’t there always be a place for professionally done video?

But for the first time, there is also a viable alternative for the amateur and the jewel in the rough. Make videos, submit them to a site that pays based on number of views, and we have a day job to replace waiting tables for the starving artists – if they’re good at it, that is. And best of all, it whittles the line at the Exploitation Office down to nothing.

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