As this channel gains traction, we are aware of the influence our review videos have over our viewer’s purchasing decisions and this is something we take very seriously.

So in in this video I explain how Boosted Media earns an income from the content we create, and how we are able to access the gear that you see in our videos.

I hope this video helps you better understand how we operate, and gives you all the information you need to make informed decisions when viewing our content. If you prefer written content, we have distilled the key information from the video below for your convenience.


To learn more about how you can support us, visit:
https://boostedmedia.net/support-boosted-media/

Today we are going to explore how Boosted Media earns money as well as how we get our hands on so much gear to make reviews. Our intention is always to be open and transparent for our viewers. We understand that as our channel grows, our influence also grows and that a lot of people rely on the opinions we share to make purchasing decisions. We also hope this information can be helpful for those who want to start their own channels to show how we build our channel to over 150 thousand subscribers.

We want to say thank you for taking this topic seriously. As influencer marketing is growing the lines are blurred between what is a legitimate “review” and what is an “endorsement”. At the end of the day, content creators are only human and can make mistakes, so it’s important that viewers keep the industry accountable.

How Boosted Media Started

Without going into the full back story, this channel began in 2014 as a passion project. I [Will] wanted to create videos to document a project car that I was working on. I was only doing it for my personal and professional development with no expectation that anyone would watch. I wanted to break through my anxiety barriers around public speaking and content creation. However, over time as more and more people began watching I realised that there was potential in the channel. Around three years ago I thought I could probably grow it into a full-time job if I could put in the effort and really focus on driving things forward.

In the early days the channel was basically earning no money, at best maybe a couple of thousand dollars a year. It was just a supplemental income: while it could fund us purchasing limited parts and things to review it was not enough to fund a wage or put food on the table. It was not a sustainable business in the beginning but slowly the income increased over time to the point where it was earning enough money to pay bills. Around late 2019 we made the scary decision to quit my full-time job and pursue this channel as our sole business. Since then, it’s been full steam ahead. Obviously, the pandemic situation accelerated the growth of sim racing and has been a huge driving force behind the fast growth of the channel. When I transitioned across to this being my primary source of income I was operating as a sole trader but as I started to see the real potential in what we were doing I obviously saw that we would ultimately end up with multiple employees beyond just myself, so back in July 2020 I registered Boosted Media as a proprietary limited business. This transition meant that I had to start viewing what I do as a business and not just a hobby. Now I mention this because there is a perception that when a channel becomes a business it automatically becomes just purely about making money and becomes corporate and there is no longer the drive to create high quality content that’s genuinely helpful for people.

How Boosted Media Operates

For a business to be sustainable, it needs to be able to cover overhead costs. The bottom line is that for me to be able to dedicate the amount of time I do to this channel and be able to have my brother and wife employed with me, I do need to earn an income and I don’t feel guilty about that. However, it’s important to earn that money in an ethical manner and to maintain a level of transparency for the audience. We want to continue to keep focused on the reasons this channel was successful in the early days and producing helpful content and not just suddenly become a corporate machine that is focused on making money.  The income we are making is pretty decent these days and I’m so thankful for the support we get from you that makes this whole channel possible. For me what it boils down to is that a channel needs to continue to provide genuine value to the viewers and the community. If it’s not doing that, then ultimately people will tune out and the channel will die. It’s a common trap for content creators that when they start to get an inkling of success things start to become too corporate and lose focus on the reasons people were watching their content in the first place. This is why I always ask myself “how is this providing value to the community” before every single video we make. Now this can be value in terms of information provided or value in terms of entertainment, but it’s always something at the forefront of my mind.

Where does Boosted Media’s Income come from?

YouTube Ads (Adsense)
The most common way YouTube channels earn an income is via the ads that you see on the videos. YouTube servers up ads and the content creator earns a percentage of the income from those ads. We can earn a little bit of money but it is not a huge amount. YouTube don’t like the exact amount earned from adsense revenue to be shared but I will summarise and say generally speaking it’s around a dollar per thousand views. Occasionally the cost per click does increase if there is a big ad campaign being run by a company that is relevant to that niche. For example, if a company like Simcube or Fanatec are running a big campaign and wanting those ads to be seen on sim racing videos, then you’ll find that all the sim racing content creators suddenly get a big push in the amount of income that they get from their ads being shown on their videos while the campaign is running. You also see a big increase around Christmas time and then in January it decreases dramatically. We are earning enough from the YouTube ads to basically make a standard wage for a single person.  However, it’s not enough to cover overheads and run a channel like ours with multiple employees, so we do also rely on other sources of income.

Affiliate Marketing

Another source of income is affiliate marketing. You guys have the option of choosing to use a link when making purchases that sends us a small commission should you choose to purchase a product that we’ve reviewed. Now there are a couple of different ways people go about this. I’m sure you’ve all seen those dodgy websites where people do not fully disclose when you’re clicking on an affiliate link, so unfortunately it gives affiliate marketing a bad reputation. One thing we always do is make sure to fully disclose whenever you are clicking on an affiliate link.  Even though the law states that an affiliate link only has to be disclosed somewhere on the same page as a link appears, we make sure to disclose that before the links appear on the page. We want to be sure that it is a decision you are making to support us by using our links, and not something that we are tricking you into clicking and then deriving an income from without you even realising. In fact, I think that is why affiliate marketing has been successful for us. We’ve always positioned it as a way that you can support us without it costing you anything. Honestly, we get so many messages from people asking for our affiliate link because they found our review really helpful and now are wanting to buy a piece of gear. I think when it is approached in an ethical manner and in a way that is providing value to you guys then it is a great way to be able to earn an income.

Now a question that does come up and rightfully so is “how can a video be unbiased if there’s an affiliate link?” If the person is earning an income from people buying a product, how can they not show a bit of bias towards the products? Well you need to think about the big picture. If a new product comes out, and we make a video saying it’s amazing and then lots of people buy it based on our recommendations, then obviously we’d make a lot of money in the short term. But then when people start to receive the product and if their experience with the product doesn’t match what we say in our video, then people will leave comments saying this video is garbage and then ultimately our legitimacy would be quesationed. While yes you could make a quick cash grab in the short term, there is no way a channel could survive long term and maintain a good reputation.

We also try and diversify our range of affiliate links as much as we possibly can so ultimately to us it doesn’t matter what brand or product you’re buying, we just want you to find something that will suit you. If you choose to use our links to support us that’s fantastic, but if not then that’s perfectly fine as well. We’re thankful to be able to earn enough money from these links that it makes what we do here possible.

One of the challenges that is inherent to affiliate marketing is that it can be quite a seasonal income as well as quite unreliable. The affiliate program might go down for a couple of months at a time and the companies aren’t really incentivized to get it up and running again. As long as the content creators are making videos whether or not they are earning an income from the videos the companies still benefit so they don’t really rush to fix things. Also, if there haven’t been any new products for quite some time these sales will end up dropping off as well. As a result it’s not something that you can really rely on to be a stable income. When you average it out across the year it can be quite a decent income but it’s certainly not something you can rely on week to week. Diversification is the key here. We want to make sure we are part of as many programs as we can be and offering you guys as many ways as possible to support us in that manner.

Sponsorships

We are very careful with how we handle sponsorships as well. For example, you will never see a company sponsoring their own review video as obviously that would be a conflict of interest. You’ll also never see a company that’s related to the subject matter of the video sponsoring the video either. For example if we’re doing a review of a Logitech wheel then you’re not going to see that video being sponsored by Fanatec as that just would not make any sense. Sponsorships aren’t really something we’ve done much to date however it’s something we would look at doing in the future as those opportunities arise. Having just passed 100,000 subscribers means more of these opportunities start to open up and it’s a great way to diversify the income streams.

So as you can see, affiliate marketing and AdSense revenue are the main ways we earn an income. One thing that’s really important to me with building Boosted Media as a business is that I wanted it to be about providing value to the community. I wanted it to be a way that I could give back and spend my time doing things that are actually genuinely helpful to people. The fact that we’ve been able to build a business that earns a decent income through helping people is something I am very proud of. If you feel differently about it’s that’s fine, you are entitled to feel that way. I’m not trying to justify anything, I am trying to be completely transparent so you can understand how we operate here and make your own decisions.

How we get gear to review

So now that we’ve covered income sources, let’s talk about how we get our hands on so much gear to produce our review videos. Now firstly I want to address something that happens quite a lot and is really frustrating. We get a lot of comments on YouYube saying things like “I should become a Youtuber so I can get sent all this free stuff” or “How do you get companies to send you all this free stuff?”. The first thing you need to understand is that when we get sent gear and products it’s provided as a review sample for us to produce content. Most of the time we don’t actually own that equipment and the companies can ask for it back at any point in time. We have to spend a lot of money on storage and insurance for the gear that we’ve reviewed. There are also significant costs when we have to send things back to people as well. It’s not just as simple as we get sent something for free and then we make a video. A lot of different companies will have different contracts in place we have to uphold. Sometimes we deal directly with manufacturers but other times we are dealing with resellers, so that can also impact on the requirements of the contract.

However, we are very particular with who we work with and I can’t stress enough that when it comes to the terms of these contracts that you need to be very careful. Some of the contracts that we have been offered have been absolute shockers. Unfortunately, it’s quite common in the tech industry in general for a lot of the contracts that control the supply of equipment to be quite unethical and often the contracts include clauses that the reviewer cannot disclose the nature of the contract, which we feel is unethical. Thankfully in the sim racing space this is pretty uncommon and there have only been a few instances where I’ve come across companies that have tried to put unreasonable terms into a contact. In the majority of cases, I am able to renegotiate these contracts until we are happy with them but if we can’t come to a mutually satisfactory contract then we simply don’t work with that company. It’s certainly not a case of us bending over for these companies to get free gear and then producing a video that has a specific outcome in mind.

All the review videos we do here are done on our own terms. If a company isn’t willing to agree to the way we do things then we either find another means to get our hands on the equipment or the review doesn’t happen.

Do we get to keep the gear we have reviewed?

We generally preference holding on to gear we have reviewed where possible, and ask the companies to provide us with the gear simply so we can cover product evolution because it’s an important part of the story. If we are doing a review video at a certain point in time then it’s only a snapshot. Things can of course go wrong over time, as well as evolve with software/driver/firmware updates, etc, so it’s important that we can then cover those sorts of things too. Holding onto gear also allows us to do comparison videos of course.

So generally we don’t own the gear, it is simply on loan and we do send a fair bit of equipment back. Sometimes if the gear becomes redundant or superseded by new model and the company no longer wants it back then we are free to do what we like with it, but we never sell gear that we’ve had for review unless we have paid for it ourselves.

It’s important to understand that we aren’t motivated by the accumulation of gear. The value of the gear for us is purely just the content we can create from it. These days by the time we finished reviewing something and have covered the product evolution as far as I feel is necessary then I’m more than happy to send it back, that way I’m not having to pay for security and storage.

Production Fees

Charging fees for producing review content is pretty common in the wider industry. We don’t currently charge any production fees for producing review videos, nor have we done it historically.

I don’t have a problem with other business using this model as long as it is fully and clearly disclosed to the viewer without any ambiguity, we simply prefer to earn a more scalable income which is primarily derived from community support for the reasons I have explained in this article.

Do we give stuff away?

Once equipment has reached the end of it’s usefulness (superseded or deprecated), we often end up donating it or giving it away. For example you may remember the full size F1 cockpit I had a few years ago that ended up being donated to a school in Queensland for underprivileged kids to do woodworking with. We recently gave away my Heusinkveld Ultimate pedals which I had purchased second hand to Emily Jones because I love her positive energy and what she’s doing in the Sim Racing community. We’ve also given a few things away to people within our community who have made a particularly positive contribution.

When we see someone who’s making a genuine and positive contribution to sim racing in general then we are more than happy to try and support them to the best of our ability.

I hope this article has given you a better understanding of how I run things here at Boosted Media. Above all, this industry relies on you, the viewers to keep us accountable, so if you see something you don’t think is right, speak up!