Vine: More than just a memory
How the world's top Viners collected billions
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King Bach, Brittany Furlan, Logan Paul, Nash Grier… what do these Viners have in common? Sure, an infectious sense of humor and millions of followers. But behind the facade of laughs, each one sits on a pile of cash big enough to last a lifetime. Bucks – billions of them- are what really tie these internet stars together.
As of Oct. 27, Vine announced that it would be removing itself from all platforms. People were mystified. Why would they do that? It turns out the site has been losing money for years. Between competing with rivals like Instagram and a general loss of public interest, Vine just couldn’t muster the kind of popularity it used to have. Users have been provided with a brief, three month long window to save any old Vines, until the app disappears forever. Vine said in their official message, “We value you, your Vines, and are going to do this the right way.” But even with the bumper space, it won’t be long before the world will have to kiss Vine goodbye.
Soon, we will only be able to remember the creative frontier that was Vine. It seems like there will never be another site quite like it, crammed with goofy videos thrown together to fit a six second limit.
And though those six seconds may not seem like a whole lot to you and me, in the eyes of top Viners, there was an entire livelihood inside every video. All they needed to access it was their own imagination and ingenuity.
Vine itself was never intended to rake in so much money for its users. The site started as just another social platform–created by Twitter to share day-to-day moments. But it didn’t take a business mastermind to recognize the monetary possibilities of the site. Soon everyday people were quitting their jobs to become full time Viners. And even crazier, many of those “amateur” comedians saw success. Immediate, unbelievable, million dollar success.
Everything starts with the followers. Once you have a big enough following, companies really start paying attention to you, because brands pay top Viners for shoutouts, revines, and sponsored content. Brittany Furlan told the New Yorker that she can charge sponsors like Trident and Benefit Cosmetics roughly $43,000 per branded Vine. Sponsors like these often hire Viners to make advertisement appearances on television, too. Since corporations struggle to seem relatable to young people, they use popular Viners to tap into virtual gold mines of potential buyers. Viners can make about $20,000 to $50,000 per ad campaign, and gather a net worth of $3 million dollars. All this plus selling merchandise and making public appearances at conventions makes for one impressive paycheck.
Up until this year, the online empires of world famous Viners were flourishing. From Zach King, with eye popping special effects and mesmerizing magic tricks, to the physical, goofy jokes of Logan Paul; every Viner had a unique style that attracted fans from all corners of the earth. With millions of followers and even more views, it seemed like there was nothing these online celebrities couldn’t do. Popular users could make enough money to pay for an entire four year college tuition, a porsche, or enough food to last eight years with just one sponsored post.
Now that Vine is officially over, who knows what the future holds for Vine’s top users? Whether they choose to continue their careers on some other site, or simply retire, one thing is for sure: on Vine, you didn’t just become famous – you became filthy rich.