Make Money Recording Controversial Viral Videos

I will start this post with a quick tip that A) does not relate to the topic of this post and B) is how this post came about.

The tip is to keep your eyes and ears open around you for inspiration, you will see things that will prompt you to write about it. Many great blog posts have been written that were born from daily events or simply things that you have seen on TV.

That is exactly what happened here; I wrote this post after watching ‘Caught on Camera’ this weekend. The hour long episode followed several Video Vigilantes in the US as they went on their crusades to fight injustice and right the wrongs in parts of US society.

The first is Jimmy Justice from New York who spends his day following the Police and other New York Law Enforcers with a video camera and films them doing ‘wrong’. They can be small ‘wrongs’ but they are still doing things that contradict what they enforce. Had it been you and me doing these things we would get a ticket and a fine.  For him this is unacceptable.

The second was Brian Bates from Oklahoma who would spend his days filming the blatant acts of prostitution that were going on in his neighbourhood each and every day. He would go out with his camera and catch the prostitutes and their ‘John’s’ in the act, call the police then upload the films to YouTube and his website to name and shame the people involved.

Now I know you are asking the same questions that I did when I watched the documentary, ‘Do they not have anything better to do in their lives? ‘Are these things really that bad?’ ‘Does it really matter?’

You may fully support or totally disagree with what these two men do but one thing that made my ears ‘prick up’ while watching the documentary was when the narrator said that Brian Bates made his living from making these films.


It didn’t appear that he was selling DVDs of his crudely put together footage. No, he was simply uploading the videos to YouTube and his own website and making money from selling advertising space and Google Adsense revenue.

His videos on YouTube are watched by hundreds of thousands and drive traffic to his site where the viewer can see and read more about what he does. They may click through Google Adsense on the site which will earn him money or at least their eyes will fall onto other advertising that is paid for by private advertisers looking for more exposure.

Jimmy Justice does not have a website set up as sophisticated as Brian Bates, he relies on a with a Paypal donate button. Maybe he is doing it more for the crusade than money itself but what is important here is when I did a search in YouTube for Jimmy Justice the results threw up several of his videos with two that I instantly saw had over 250k views each. That is a lot of traffic!

This reminds me of the awful Bumfights videos that have now been banned in several countries as well as any listings on eBay selling the DVDs being removed as soon as they go live. Homeless people were filmed fighting each other and injuring themselves to receive payment of food or alcohol.

The films created controversy and drew a great deal of bad press for the film makers yet the films became a big success.

The point I want to make is this, the success of these films can lead to life changing sums of money or at least replace the day job, giving you the choice of as and when you want to work and not when your boss tells you when you have to be in.

The investment in this type of online business is minimal, with small hand held digital cameras holding up to 2 hours of film and costing less than a days wage you could be making videos as soon as you have left the store.

Take the popularity of Jackass for instance, huge around the world, with several films being made, DVDs sold world-wide and cast members becoming  mainstream film stars, all this from a group of ‘Dudes’ hurting themselves in front of hand held cameras.

Can you do this? Combining YouTube with Social Media like Twitter and Facebook all pointing to a dedicated website with advertising space or products to sell, could you be making a good monthly income from filming drunken people falling over, or unusual social behaviour?

Now don’t get me wrong, we do not advise or wish that you glamourize violence or any criminal acts but it must get you thinking how easy it can be to do and what other things there are that you could do today that will create a viral traffic surge to a website you own.

It could be ‘lovely’ animal footage like cats and dogs falling off things in their excitement or a video site of incredible talents from street performers around the world. (I once watched a street footballer in Amsterdam with skills that David Beckham would dream of)

Video is easy to produce, and amateur video has become huge with the popularity of the internet. So you do not need to sit and write articles or spend a lot of time thinking for ideas, you simply see something of interest, point and shoot.

Videos are one of the most if not the most shared thing on the internet, they go viral very quickly. One video with added to the video can get you a lot of traffic. Can you think of anything better?

As you filmed the footage you own the footage so creating collections and selling them as DVD is also a possibility.

I wrote this post as a ‘food for thought’ type of article to get you thinking, the ‘Caught on Camera’ show had me thinking and I realised that there are many ways to create websites and blogs that can create great income from advertising revenue and not just the standard mini review sites.

Author bio: Andi Leeman is a writer over at


6 thoughts on “Make Money Recording Controversial Viral Videos

  1. I have been trying to grow my channel on Youtube for the past 2 months and I am starting to see results. I concentrate purely on viral videos. Funny and cute stuff works really well, especially pet videos. One of my videos has over 50k views already, but I don’t have a website yet. I will probably create something soon because Adsense doesn’t really pay much unless you can drive millions of views.

  2. Hi BK, thanks for sharing your experience, What is your channel on YouTube? Depending where you go a domain name and basic hosting package for a website can be as little as $50 for the year. I spend more on a night out at the bar lol. If you are mainly using video as your content, a WordPress site can embed YouTube videos nicely with many themes being primarily designed for videos. Getting a website to me really is the next logical step. Regards Andi

  3. Hi Jessica, thank you for the kind comments. Video is a powerful tool, I think it is a tool everyone should embrace. Done well it can generate a lot of traffic and interest. YouTube has even made popstars and celebrities out of people. Please share with us any future videos you make. 🙂 Regards Andi

  4. Hi Aaron, Thank you for your comments. I am glad you enjoyed the article. Do you have a website? Using video on YouTube could generate traffic to your site where your best content can be housed. If you have a skill that others need to learn, recording a series of videos and installing the MediaPass plugin into a WordPress site will lock your videos behind a pay per view wall where you can charge a monthly subscription for people to see your best videos and content. MediaPass will do all the money admin and will send you a cheque for your amount each month. So many great tools we have at our finger tips we should take advantage of them. Regards Andi

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