Five months ago, YouTube’s founder Chad Hurley announced that his site would share revenues with its users. It is becoming a reality…for some topnotch contributors. YouTube shared the news with its users on its blog a few days ag

o: “We’ve seen the content many of you create evolve to become elaborately developed series, concept videos, and sitcoms with tens of thousands of subscribers. Many of you have gone from creating videos in bedrooms and living rooms on webcams to becoming YouTube celebrities with fans and audiences all over the world.” “Up until now there’s been a distinction between the content you create and the content created by YouTube’s professional content partners. We want to start changing some of the perception here. Which is why we’re adding several of the most popular and prolific original content creators from the YouTube community to our partnership program,” the post continues. TechCrunch reports that among the happy few are Lonelygirl15, LisaNova, renetto, HappySlip, smosh, and valsartdiary who were selected “because they have built and sustained large, persistent audiences through the creation of engaging videos, their content has become attractive for advertisers, which has helped them earn the opportunity to participate on YouTube as a partner.” YouTube calls its initiative “a trial program” that will evaluate whether revenue sharing will work for the YouTube community and advertisers. Introducing advertising on user-generated videos is one way Google could rationalize its $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube. By contrast, it is estimated that YouTube generated a mere $15 million in 2006. YouTube has to start pulling its weight and “monetizing” its millions of viewers. One of the details to be worked out is the length and placements of these ads in a way that won’t turn off viewers. “None of us working in this area want to recreate the TV model,” Suzie Reider, head of advertising for YouTube, told an audience at the Ad:Tech conference in San Francisco in April. She also announced that YouTube users can expect the ads to start showing up this summer. They could take the form of a quick intro before the user-created video followed by a longer ad at the end of the video. Some users were quick to react directly on the site. Mr. Safety posted a music video titled “Cash for Clowns” claiming that revenue-sharing will “change everything” by forcing users to make themselves more marketable. Isabelle Boucq for Atelier To learn more about user-generated content and revenue sharing:User-generated content 2.0