Top 10 richest YouTube starsAustralia's queen of YouTube, Natalie Tran, is one of just 10 independent YouTube stars around the world who made over $US100,000 from the site in the past year.
Tran, who creates her videos from her parents' home in western Sydney, has eschewed titillation in favour of clever skits about her everyday life.
Her three most popular clips, with millions of views each, are "how to fake a six pack", "the ultrasound" and "bending at the knees for love".
Tran's page, communitychannel, has long been the most subscribed Australian YouTube channel of all time, with 740,682 subscribers and over 270 million views on her videos to date. Worldwide, she is 23rd most subscribed of all time.
A new study by YouTube analytics and advertising firm TubeMogul, first reported by BusinessInsider, used users' viewership data to estimate their annual income under YouTube's partner program, which allows the most popular users to take half of the advertising revenue derived from their clips.
The study applied to anyone who was not part of a major media brand and covered the period July 2009 to July 2010.
Tran, with almost 139 million views in that year, was found to have an income of $US101,000.
This is a conservative estimate and covers just the Google ads alongside each clip - the figure could be higher if one includes money earned from paid endorsements and product placement.
The comedic value is in Tran's satirical re-enactments of the situations she is talking about and the fact that she plays all of the characters.
Tran did not respond to a request for comment today but in an interview with this website last year she said: "I think that to have longevity on these kind of websites you need to offer something different ... there's plenty of [sexual] material on the internet that would provide that kind of entertainment already."
She said the skits were all based on things that happened in her day, "just a little bit exaggerated for comedy purposes".
"They're not huge deep and meaningful videos, they're just short snippets that are meant to be a little bit of fun in somebody's lunch break ... the world wouldn't be a worse place without them," she said.
The immense popularity of YouTube has created celebrities out of ordinary people around the world. It offers seemingly limitless exposure for people to market their personal brands.
Many have turned their virtual celebrity into real-world dollars, such as Where the hell is Matt? star Matt Harding, who was hired by Visa for a global marketing campaign.
Fred Figglehorn, who is fifth on TubeMogul's list, recently struck gold after cable TV network Nickelodeon signed him up to create Fred: The Movie.
This week, YouTube announced it would feature it top videos in a new section called YouTube Charts.
Top 10 Richest YouTube Stars ($US)
1. Shane Dawson - $315,000
2. The Annoying Orange - $288,000
3. Philip DeFranco - $181,000
4. Ryan Higa - $151,000
5. Fred - $146,000
6. Shay Carl - $140,000
7. Mediocre Films - $116,000
8. Smosh - $113,000
9. The Young Turks - $112,000
10. Natalie Tran - $101,000
By Asher Moses
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