YouTube to pay users for viral videos

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Let's say your cat does something adorable, and you manage to get it on video. Wanting to share the cuteness overdose with your friends, you upload it to YouTube where the video becomes an internet favourite to rival even Susan Boyle, and is viewed by millions.

Under new plans, not only will YouTube-owner Google make advertising cash off your pet's playfulness, but you could too. At the moment, the YouTube Partnership Program (YPP) shares ad revenue with the most prolific users who often have heavily watched clips. Now, it will extend that to any random person who happens to get lucky, even if it's just the once.

"These individual video partnerships recognise the role popular one-off' videos play on YouTube, and have helped many people earn thousands of dollars a month as their videos went viral and endured over time," said product manager Shenaz Zack, in a post on the YouTube business blog.

So if your video of your cute kitten manages to get enough views and YouTube decides it has the potential to go viral, you'll be notified that you're eligible for the revenue sharing scheme.

"Once you've chosen to enable revenue sharing, YouTube will sell advertising against your video and pay you a revenue share into your Google AdSense account each month," Zack said.

At the moment, the programme is only available to US users, but YouTube is hoping to take it global soon.

Since buying YouTube, Google has struggled to make any cash out of YouTube, but chief executive Eric Schmidt has said it's set to pull a profit soon. Click here to find out if online video can ever make money.