Why I said no to UNILAD/LADBible Tech for my YouTube content
Today I got this Facebook message:
Hey there, my name is X.
I’ve come across a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeEEC5eVNCk&ab_channel=L2SFBC-RobertPepper-autojourno
We would love to feature it on our UNILAD Tech platforms with full credit back to yourself. If this is something you would like us to feature on our platforms can you submit the video through: www.ladbiblegroup.com/permissions/video
If you have sold/don’t own the video anymore or have any questions please let me know.
You can reach me at XXX
That was from UNILAD Tech, a viral video platform. It has 8.4m likers and 14.2m followers.
I had a look at their Vehicles section:
Then I had a flick through some videos and saw that views ranged from 140,000 to 91 million.
So UNILAD were offering to host my video on their site! Wow, I know how much a boost large content sites can give smaller ones, it’s like turning on a firehose of subscribers and viewers, so I was immediately interested. But what was the deal?
All I needed to do was upload, and the terms were:
No holding back there! Intrigued, I also read the Content Assignment Agreement. It’s a longer version of that summary, and the key points are:
- I assign ALL RIGHTS to Lad Bible Group (UNILAD, or whatever their other names are). So they own it. Completely. It’s not a limited-use guarantee, or a license when I allow them to use it for their own purpose where I retain copyright. I basically give it away, and I have no more rights to it at all. They can sub-license it, use my likeness, any channel, worldwide, anything, total control. Quote: “such Content shall become the sole property of LBG”.
- This means I couldn’t monetize the content any more, or use it in any educational work. UNILAD can do all of that.
- If there’s any legal issues, I’m on the hook to defend UNILAD from any legal issues with the content.
- I cannot license the work to anyone else without UNILAD’s permission.
I kind of have to admire this clause:
“..on any and all media whether now known or hereafter invented, throughout the world and in perpetuity”
I wonder if that includes Mars? And:
“At the request of LBG and at your own expense, you shall provide all reasonable assistance to enable LBG to resist any claim, action or proceedings brought against LBG as a consequence of any breach of this Agreement. Such indemnity shall apply whether or not LBG has been negligent or at fault.”
Anyway, at least that’s clear. So what am I likely to get in return?
- The sum of 100 UK pounds, which is about $173AUD or $120USD. That’s a one-off payment, which I’d better claim within 90 days or it is forfeit. And, it is only payable if the content appears on their Facebook page for longer than 48 hours.
- Exposure as my logo, brand is shown and links are given back to my channels.
It should be noted that whether or not the fee is paid LBD still gets control of the content (my emphasis):
“You understand and agree that all the Terms set out in this Agreement and your assignment of all rights in and to the Content shall remain in full force and effect (and i.e. remain the property of LBG in full and without any limitations of any kind whatsoever) regardless of whether the Content is featured on the
Page or not, and regardless of whether the Fee is paid. LBG shall not be obliged to use the Content and in the event that the Content is not used, LBG shall not be required to pay you the Fee, however the assignment of rights set out herein shall remain valid and binding in consideration of the opportunity provided to you. For the avoidance of doubt, should the Content be shared on any other properties owned by or run by LBG, the Fee shall not become payable”.
Could it get any better? Of course:
You further agree not to give any person any interview or make, give or release any statement for publication by any means or medium relating to the Content without LBG’s prior written consent.
Wow. That’s legalised theft. Who’d sign something like that? It’s like a training exercise for lawyers – “ok class, make the most one-sided and unfair contract you can”. Am I expected to pop round and clean their houses too, between 10 and 11am on Tuesdays?
Anyway, let’s put that aside and look at the value to me. First off, that video on average earns me $5 to $250 per day on YouTube, so $173 for the rest of its life…seems like a bad deal.”
But exposure, right? UNILAD can driven lots of people to your channel! SUBSCRIBERS!!! VIEWS!!!
Let’s do the maths.
The video in question has managed on my channel 1.3m views so far, and 98,137 views in July as I write this, which in turn has generated 234 subscribers. So 0.24% of people who recently watched it subscribed. Some of the people who watched it would have watched other videos, and subscribed on those videos but I can’t see that on YouTube Analytics.
Let’s say my video on UNILAD got 90,000,000 views. If 0.24% of people subscribed to my channel that’d be 214,598 extra subs, a lot considering I’m on about 22,000 at the moment.
But it won’t work like that for a few reasons.
- The 90m is a maximum. Most UNILAD videos are way under that – if we go with 5m, then 0.24% of that is 11,922 which is still a nice number, but not great.
- What are the chances of someone watching it on UNILAD, then going to my channel to check out more? Having looked at how they give ‘exposure’, it’s not exactly great. I’d suggest that the conversion rate of viewers-to-subscribers is much lower given there’s an extra hop, let’s say 10%. So I’m looking at maybe 1100 subs extra, assuming a realistic 5m views on UNILAD. My channel is doing more than that in a month already.
So I’m not seeing how UNILAD would drive much traffic my way, and also…it’d probably be the wrong traffic. Despite what you mean hear, the wrong traffic is worse than no traffic.
What I do is long-form, highly detailed tech work around cars, camping and 4x4s. This is not for everyone, it’s a niche. And I’m betting the sort of people that watch sped-up, low-detail, no-sound, sugar-hit clickbait are not the sort of people who will watch me explain the finer points of car dynamics, 4×4 winching or towing stability, they’ll just let Facebook load them the next viral video.
I actually don’t want lots of followers/viewers like that, because the social media algorithim will get entirely the wrong idea about my content – it’ll promote my content to similar people who won’t watch it, and not promote it to the ones that will.
One thing about this game is that it’s better to have fewer viewers of the right type than a lot of useless eyeballs. This why my engagement is high and my revenue per video is also high depsite the fact I don’t have a bazillion followers. I’ve never chased the numbers, I focus on my story. The people that follow me are really smart (just read the comments, well most of them), often well educated, connected to the industries I write about, and successful. And have money to spend. This is reflected in the stats and my inbox.
I don’t think UNILAD would send me many more people like that. Occasionally something on my Facebook page goes viral, and I wish it wouldn’t – having a million people view something is pointless if 95% of them are idiots. I’d rather have my usual 5% of rational thinkers thank you.
Then there’s this.
The LADBible YouTube. They would have every right, if I signed the agreement, to publish my video on their YouTube channel and then demand I take mine down. So I’d potentially lose my best-performing video.
Other creators have licensed content, and found more downside than upside. So I don’t see why I’d be any different.
So, overall, I’m going with a ‘no’ for UNILAD. Other creators can decide for themselves, and maybe this post will be useful as some points of consideration.