Future Farmers of America
August 2, 2019 8:38 AM   Subscribe

For small family farmers and beginning ranchers, successful YouTube channels can pay more than their crops. Zach Johnson, who grows corn and soybeans in Minnesota, is known in YouTube circles as MN Millennial Farmer. It’s a role, he says, that’s provided him and his wife, Becky, about five times more in earnings than he can make on the family farm in the last year. (Bloomberg, July 2019) If you don't know enough about farming to vlog about it, you could always make your own phone farm (Vice, Aug. 2019), using dozens of phones to view ads constantly. Everything (AllAdvantage review, circa 2000) old ("Get paid to surf", 2000) is new again.

Note: phone farms are forms of click fraud (Wikipedia), just like the AllAdvantage hacks back in the day.
posted by filthy light thief (7 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I kind of always suspected the online ad model would break this way, computers paying computers to watch ads.
posted by The Whelk at 8:50 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

This happened around 2000, with AllAdvantage and others. I remember in college, a friend's room-mate had something like 6-8 windows all the time, thanks to hacks. He made a few hundred dollars on a good month.

It just makes me think we should be taxing tech companies (or their executives) more heavily, so we can cut out the middle-man of this stupid thing and go right to UBI. Tech is clearly making enough money to pay out sizable amounts, but only to those who know how to play, or game, the system. For those who don't, or don't want to break rules, lose out. And people at the top are still getting crazy-rich, so they can stand to get a bit less rich and spread the wealth more evenly.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:57 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

I mean I remember when the selling point of the Internet was cutting out the middle man and now it seems the entire internet and industry is about creating more and more middle men and rent seeking behavior in order to strip out whatever remaining value is there
posted by The Whelk at 9:10 AM on August 2, 2019 [13 favorites]

No mention in that Vice article of electric power consumption. Does anyone know how may watts a phone pulls running video full time?
posted by M-x shell at 9:12 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

That graph in the first article titled "Farmers and Social Media" is really bizarre. It's like a bar graph comparing what kinds of fruit are most popular among farmers, but then the leftmost bar is labeled "A 2017 Chevy Silverado". Youtube is not at all the same kind of thing that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are. The latter three are not used the same way as Youtube by either the people who post the content or the people who observe the content, and--most importantly to the subject of the article--of those four only Youtube is directly monetizable (although you might be able to indirectly monetize one of the others if you get enough of a following to get a brand deal or something).
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:16 AM on August 2, 2019 [2 favorites]

This again pretty much aligns with Sarah Taber's contention that a large proportion of farms are: hobbies and/or real estate scams.
posted by happyroach at 1:51 AM on August 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

Does anyone know how may watts a phone pulls running video full time?

Not more than a phone charger, which typically provides 5W (5V, 1A, through USB).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 9:08 PM on August 3, 2019

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