The Internet Creators Guild, the brainchild of one half of YouTube’s most famous double act, hopes to offer an organized voice for a new class of creative—people who make content for online fans. Hank Green says the goal of the guild is to “increase the number of people in the world who can be creators professionally.”
For nearly a decade, Hank Green and his brother John have spent a lot of time making videos on YouTube—and they’ve learned a lot about the positives and negatives of turning that into a career.
While John has since gained prominence as a major novelist of young-adult fiction (one of his most popular books, The Fault in Our Stars, was adapted into a hit film in 2014), Hank has become a closely followed advocate for the rights of online content creators. The brothers launched the online video conference VidCon in 2010, along with multiple companies focused on enabling content creators to monetize their online followings. (One of those companies, Subbable, was acquired last year.)
Hank, in particular, knows the ins and outs of these platforms and frequently speaks up about their problems. So it perhaps makes sense that he’s working to create the Internet Creators Guild, which he envisions as a resource and advocate for people who try to make a career out of creating things online.
Hank started the group in part because of the complexities and headaches creators face in getting paid or dealing with the inevitable blowback that comes with online content.
“I’ve spent the last 10 years as a part of this explosion in independent (and not-so-independent) online content creation, and it’s mostly been an absolute joy,” he wrote in a Medium post. “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.”
The guild, announced on Wednesday, is being launched with $50,000 in funding from VidCon. “The ICG’s goal is simply to increase the number of people in the world who can be creators professionally,” Hank wrote. “It will do that by providing the protection, representation, and guidance that, thus far, has been tremendously lacking.”
While Hank won’t run the organization himself—instead, he’s handing the executive director reins to early VidCon employee Laura Chernikoff—he is playing an active role in the launch and will serve on the guild’s advisory board, which will also include popular YouTube stars Casey Neistat, Akilah Hughes, and Burnie Burns. A board of directors, which will be more actively involved in ensuring the organization hits its goals, includes experts in online content creation, along with entertainment lawyer Jonathan Katz.
The group, which is still in its formative stage, will offer memberships at prices as low as $5 per month.