Tipeee, a platform to fund creators on YouTube

The French site Tipeee allows Internet users to give "tips" to the creators of their choice. The system benefits especially YouTube extension channels, which are struggling to live solely advertising revenue.

1st June 2016, the author of the comic Maliki makes an important decision. Twelve years after launching his blog, after the publication of nine albums and three novels that have sold rather well, he announces to his fans his decision to leave the traditional circuit.

In a long post, which features his heroine and alias Maliki, the 39-year-old cartoonist describes a breathtaking editing system and offers his community the opportunity to sponsor him live via the platform. Tipeee.

Finance free content

Launched in December 2013 by Michael Goldman, the son of the singer, on the model of the American site Patreon, the French platform is the link between the "Creators who provide regular, free content on the Internet" and the Internet users who support them by paying them a one-off or regular donation.

Today, Tipeee, which finances itself by collecting 8% of the donations, claims 29 000 creators and 145 000 "tipeurs". Since its creation, it has raised 7.3 million euros. Among the creators registered, comic book authors like Maliki, rub shoulders with online players or fans of cosplay.

But the most popular donations are those of pedagogical or popular science educators whose videos, often of high quality, long and worked, attract less clicks than celebrities of online humor or beauty bloggers.

"The equivalent of the hat that artists spin"

Among these, the educational YouTube channel and fun "And everyone cares". Launched in January 2017, it receives each month via Tipeee nearly € 2,600 from 615 contributors. "Tipeee is the equivalent of the hat that artists put in the audience after a performance"says Marc de Boni, one of its creators.

This income is not enough to finance the salary of the four permanent staff, the equipment and the technicians whose work allows the production of about two videos a month. But "Without Tipeee, we could never have started, testifies Marc de Boni. It allowed us from the beginning to have a regular income supplement in the precarious creative universe of Youtubeurs, besides that we made the choice not to put advertising on our channel. "

Gilles Mitteau, who unleashed his trader job in London in October 2015 to launch the extension channel on the functioning of the economy and finance "Uh? réka ", has also made the choice not to put ads. "If I wanted to see advertising on my videos, I would have to do 20 times more views than today and I increase the frequency of uploading a lot"testifies the former 33-year-old auctioneer.

"We accept everyone"

Gilles Mitteau writes and realizes his own videos from his London apartment on topics as varied as the subprime crisis, the Kerviel affair, the LBO or the Wolf of Wall Street. He now earns more than € 2,000 thanks to 637 tipeurs, which represents 95% of his income, he says.

" I had things to say, summarizes the former trader. YouTube was for me the medium to express myself, Tipeee the tool to be able to live it. If we understand the economy, we can then make political decisions. Today, I feel useful. "

Conspiracy theories

However, all the profiles of "creators" present on Tipeee are not unanimous. The website Numerama reports that Tipeee also allows Youtubeurs who disseminate conspiracy theories or racist hints, to earn money, without the platform does not find fault.

"We accept everyone, from the moment they meet our administrative and legal criteria"says Samuel Nomdedeu, the general manager of the small business, which employs 10 people. " Tipeee subscribers reflect the diversity of content creation on the Internet »adds the manager.

For many, a way to survive

In response to the controversy, some users have chosen to unsubscribe to turn to u Tip, a competitor launched in late 2017, which offers in addition to microfinance, to help creators by watching advertisements. At each viewing, 0.10 cents is returned to them.

On Tipeee, there is also uncertainty about the taxation and the question of payment of VAT. Tipeee, which has the status of a crowdfunding company, does not itself collect the tax on the sums paid. "We have been applying the same rules for ten years, Samuel Nomdedeu details. We fulfill our obligations by regularly reminding users that they must declare themselves to the tax authorities. "

For the vast majority of the 29,000 creators registered on Tipeee, the sums collected are anyway very weak, a sign of the great precariousness of most Youtubeurs. "Tipeee, it's a little Eating the heart of creation on the Web, sums up the youtubeur Marc de Boni. It should not exist, but it is essential to allow many people to survive. "

Julien Duriez