Buying and selling YouTube channels is big—and small—business. If you have got, or are getting, into YouTube for purely financial reasons, it’s entirely possible that you have an endgame in mind, where you get out of the game while there is a financial impetus to make it worth your while.
Even for YouTubers who had no intention of leaving… things can change.
So, for those of you who are or might be interested in buying or selling a YouTube channel, here is our handy everything you need to know guide to that very activity.
Can You Buy a YouTube Channel?
Yes. There is no law preventing the sale of this kind of asset, there are mechanisms in place within YouTube for the transfer of ownership, and there are people willing to sell their YouTube channel. All the pieces are there, you just need to find the right channel.
It should be noted that YouTube itself does not facilitate the buying and selling of YouTube channels, meaning you would have to protect yourself (hire a solicitor/lawyer), unlike when you buy things through something like eBay, which has certain protections in place.
Can You Sell a YouTube Channel?
Again, yes! YouTube does not prohibit the sale of YouTube channels, and as mentioned in the last point, there is a mechanism for transferring ownership to another user. However, also mentioned in the last point, you’re on your own from a legal standpoint.
This is worth reiterating because if you do not legally protect yourself when making this kind of transaction, and the person selling the YouTube channel rips you off, you could be left with no legal recourse. Or, at best, a lengthy and expensive legal proceedings to get your money back.
Is Buying and Selling YouTube Channels Legal?
From a legal point of view, there is nothing unusual about a YouTube channel as a digital asset, so it is no more illegal than selling an e-book, or a downloadable video game.
That being said, you should always be aware that you become legally responsible for that channel when you buy it, and, if the channel has engaged in potentially illegal activity, you could be liable.
Obviously, if the previous owner had committed a crime in a video, they would still be the one responsible for that crime, but if there are a lot of copyright-infringing videos, for example, that would then become your responsibility.
How Much are YouTube Channels Worth?
This question is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” style of question, since the answer varies significantly.
As with many things in life, there is something of an exponential scale, with channels with seemingly quite large audiences being worth very little, but channels with enormous audiences being worth millions. Here are some factors that contribute to the worth of a YouTube channel.
Your Channel, Your Face
Many YouTube channels feature a person—or people—on camera, and their audience becomes comfortable with that person. It’s not necessarily a celebrity/fan relationship (though that does happen on YouTube), but it’s similar.
So, if the face of that channel suddenly disappears, there’s a good chance the audience will react negatively to the change, and a smart potential buyer will factor that in.
Videos Decrease in Value Over Time
Unlike blog posts, which tend to gain authority in the eyes of search engines the longer they are online, most YouTube videos decrease in value the longer they are up. Indeed, a typical video will make a significant portion of its revenue in the first few days of being online.
If a potential buyer is looking to purchase a profitable channel, the fact that the profit will start to drop immediately without new videos is a problem.
Buying the Cutting Room Floor
Many buyers would also want to purchase any raw footage that was shot for the channel, even if it was never used in a video.
This is something that a lot of YouTubers would be reluctant to sell, and that even more YouTubers wouldn’t be able to sell. After all, video takes up a lot of space.
It can also be a little disconcerting to the selling YouTuber when they realise the implication of this agreement. The buyer would essentially have the complete ownership of hours of unseen footage—potentially containing embarrassing or problematic out-takes involving the YouTuber who is selling—that they could upload whenever they wanted.
How do I Sell a Personal YouTube Account?
For YouTube channels that are set up as a brand, changing ownership is a relatively simple process that involves adding the buyer as an owner. You or the buyer can then remove you as an owner and the transfer is complete.
However, for personal accounts, things are a little trickier. These accounts are tied to an email address and cannot be converted to a brand account without deleting the channel. This means that the only way to safely purchase the channel is by purchasing the entire email address, which may have been the YouTubers personal email address.
If the email address is not bought as part of the deal, the new owner will not be able to keep the old owner out of the YouTube channel’s account page, which could present problems if that previous owner ever took it upon themselves to cause problems.
You can certainly buy and sell YouTube channels, but, for most YouTubers, it’s really not worth it. Channels with tens of thousands of subscribers can go for as little as a few hundred dollars, and that is assuming that amicable terms can be reached by both parties. Channels with millions of subscribers are worth much more, of course, but if getting millions of subscribers was easy, we’d all be doing it!
If you do decide to buy or sell a channel, make sure you protect yourself from a legal standpoint, as there is real potential to get shafted and left with no practical legal recourse.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.