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November 14, 2021

How To Buy a Monetized YouTube Channel (And for How Much?)

So you’re looking to buy a YouTube channel. I already have a post on how to sell a YouTube channel. Still, I felt it’d be interesting to tackle this from the buyer’s perspective.

Where Can You Buy a YouTube Channel

A handful of websites exist that facilitate the buying and selling of YouTube channels.  FameSwapPlayerUp, TrustIU, and ACCS Market.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a few thousand dollars lying around to buy a YouTube channel from each of them. So I can’t personally attest to how reputable these sites are. That said, I think they can help you understand what similarly-sized channels are selling for.

The other place to find YouTube channels is via outreach (where you message the channel’s creator). Unfortunately, that method will have a low success rate. Most creators put a lot of effort into their channels and aren’t looking to cash out. But, you might have some luck on Reddit forums or any place where large numbers of YouTubers gather.

How Much Do YouTube Channels Cost?

The Verge has reported that several top 100 YouTube channels have sold for millions of dollars. But, the same can not be said for small channels. Small Channels (10k subs or less) can be had for dirt cheap.

How cheap are we talking? Here’s a screenshot of users attempting to sell their channels on FameSwap for a few hundred bucks! And these are channels that sometimes have thousands or tens of thousands of subscribers.

sell youtube channel examples

Is Buying a YouTube Channel a Wise Investment?

Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s a wise investment. We have to stop and ask ourselves how to overcome the following problems when buying a channel.

1) Will This Channel Fall Apart Without The Original Creator?

I think this is the #1 reason I’d be skeptical of buying a YouTube channel. Subscribers usually feel a strong connection to the creator. Without the creator, the channel will lose too much subscriber engagement.

There are ways to attempt to circumvent this. You can appear with the original creator in collaborations for several videos and slowly phase the old creator out. Or, you could target channels where the original creator didn’t show their face (This would be my preference).

2) Can You Monetize The Subscriber Base?

Unfortunately, buying YouTube channels is not like buying a blog for a couple of reasons.

  1. YouTube videos tend to depreciate in traffic over time, while blog posts rank higher in Google with age (for at least a few years).
  2. YouTube doesn’t allow much editing of an already uploaded video, and you’re stuck with AdSense. Meaning you can’t monetize any of the old content better than the original creator did it.

Because you can’t better monetize any of the old stuff or increase the traffic to it. The value that you’re buying is the subscriber base. Are they a great fit for a product you sell? That would be the primary use case for buying an already established YouTube channel.

3) Is This Account in Good Standing? (AdSense Approval, Copyright Strikes)

You wouldn’t be willing to sell your large channel for a few hundred dollars on FameSwap if you were approved for AdSense. AdSense pays more than that.

Keep in mind that cheap channels are probably not in good standing with YouTube. I’d be extremely wary of buying a channel that used large amounts of copyrighted material or anything that could bite you down the road.

4) Will The Seller Sell Me Their Entire GMail Account

I’ll go over how to change ownership of a brand account below. But, assuming this person didn’t start their channel as a brand account, you’ll need to buy their entire Gmail account to own the channel. This is going to complicate a lot of transactions.

5) Will The Seller Sell Me The Rights To Their Footage?

One of the most valuable parts of a YouTube channel is rights to the video. If the previous creator made some great video, it can likely be re-used elsewhere for profit (perhaps using Google Web Stories).

6) Could You Get This Many Subscribers Faster If You Started a New Channel?

Suppose you’re putting out good content (measured by high click-through rate and viewer retention). In that case, you can get to 10k+ subscribers relatively quickly (months, not years). Rather than going through the hassle of buying an established channel and dealing with the problems above, most people would be better served to simply create a new channel.

How Do I Change The Owner of My YouTube Channel?

So this is tricky. As of 2021, you can’t transfer ownership of your YouTube channel if you weren’t signed up with a brand account. And there’s no way to change your personal account into a brand account without deleting the entire channel. Meaning if you’re buying a personal YouTube channel, you have to buy the entire Gmail account. If you can’t lock the previous owner out after the sale, they can really do some damage.

If the seller was smart enough to start with a brand account, tell them to go to YouTube and click Settings.

youtube settings

Then click Add or Remove Managers. Then click Manage Permissions. Then a screen like the one below should appear, add the new owner, and click invite.

add new owner to youtube channel

Once the other owner accepts your invitation via email, he will have the ability to get back to that same screen you were just on. From there, he can set himself as the primary owner and then delete you from the account.

youtube set primary owner

Is It Against YouTube’s Terms of Service to Buy or Sell a YouTube Channel

YouTube’s Terms of Service are located right here. Buying a channel is not against YouTube’s terms of service in any way.

However, they do not support transactions either. Meaning you’re on your own for the process of transferring ownership and collecting payment. If you transfer ownership and the other party doesn’t pay you or vice versa, you’re screwed.

You should only engage in these types of transactions with people you trust. Or if you have a robust legal framework in place to handle disputes.

How Do I Contact YouTube?

Suppose you’re serious about buying or selling an expensive channel. In that case, it’s understandable you may want to reach out to YouTube yourself about this. I couldn’t figure out a way to message them from the YouTube help center, so I sent @TeamYouTube a tweet asking about buying a YouTube channel.

Shaun works as a professional software developer while blogging about the creator economy (With a focus on Blogging, YouTube, and Virtual Reality).

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