Women in Music 2016

YouTube Star Hank Green Launches Guild to Help Protect Fellow Creators

Mike Pont/WireImage
John Green and Hank Green attend the 3rd Annual Save The Children Illumination Gala at The Plaza Hotel on Nov. 17, 2015 in New York City.  

Hank Green, a veteran YouTube star and founder of VidCon, has announced a new nonprofit guild to help his fellow creators. Launching later this month, the Internet Creators Guild looks to "increase the number of people in the world who can be creators professionally," he wrote in a Medium post. "It will do that by providing the protection, representation, and guidance that, thus far, has been tremendously lacking."

For an annual fee of $60, guild members will receive guidance on career choices, brand deals and the various multi-channel networks (MCNs), along with case studies and strategies for making it work as a professional YouTuber. Until it can be supported by member fees, ICG will be funded by a $50,000 grant from Green’s VidCon.

"I’ve spent the last ten years as a part of this explosion in independent (and not-so-independent) online content creation and it’s mostly been an absolute joy," said Green, who launched Vlogbrothers with his brother John in 2007 (watch the channel's latest video below). "Occasionally, however, I have watched creators get strong-armed and even swindled. I’ve watched people lose their channels. I’ve watched them flee from abuse."

Green said that ICG will compliment the rise in for-profit organizations such as Maker Studio and Fullscreen, who are all "vying for a slice of the value created by the relationship between creators and their audiences." ICG will fill that gap in protecting creators, who he says are reluctant to complain about the MCNs or the advertisers generating their revenue. "No one wants to be the creator with the reputation for bad mouthing sponsors!" he said.

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While he’s the one creating ICG, Green will not be leading it. For that, he’s tapped VidCon staffer Laura Chernikoff as its executive director. Together with a board of directors that includes Anna Akana, Satchell Drakes, Ashley Mardell and Wendy Ayche, the guild has established 11 initial goals:

  • Help the press talk intelligently about online video.
  • Share stories and strategies from professional creators that will be available only to members.
  • Increase transparency about what creators do and don’t receive from MCNs, advertisers, agencies, and managers.
  • Act as a bridge between creators and platforms and advise platforms on how to best serve creators.
  • Help to clarify the role of new products and developments in the world of internet creation.
  • Share useful information on everything from dealing with stalkers to understanding your audience.
  • Advise conferences and events (including VidCon) on how to create great conversations about internet creation.
  • Foster diversity in online video content, including but not limited to language, age, race, gender, and economic opportunity.
  • Provide case studies of successful strategies for community building and monetization.
  • Provide and explain sample contracts for sponsors, managers, MCNs, merchandise, and agencies.
  • Unify the voice of online creators to create change.

Green will serve on ICG’s advisory board along with fellow YouTube stars Louise Pentland, Casey Neistat, Akilah Hughes and Burnie Burns. Creators interested in joining can hit up InternetCreatorsGuild.com.