How to make $150,000 with a viral video
David DeVores, whose “David After Dentist” YouTube video went viral, earned his family a cool $150,000.
7 year old David DeVore, fresh from dental surgery and sitting in the backseat of his father’s car asks: “Is… is this real life?”
This question, one I have asked a few times now and then, was one of many posed by David in a state of delirium – but his father happened to be recording it all on a Flip camera. Today, the DeVores are asking themselves that same question after raking in close to $150,000 since January 30, 2009 when young David’s father (also named David) uploaded the video of his son onto YouTube.
“I’d say about $100,000 of that is from YouTube,” the elder David DeVore tells us over the phone. “The rest is licensing and merchandise.”
A Costly Mistake
While they weren’t too creative with the title of the video, “David After Dentist,” the DeVores have been clever in turning their once-in-a-lifetime viral video into a money-machine. Initially, the video was meant to be shared amongst friends and family. At the time, however, YouTube’s only alternative to sharing a video with the world was to share it with just 25 people. So, instead of setting “David After Dentist” as “Private,” the video went “Public” for everyone to see.
The one seemingly minor decision to make the video available all over the Internet set off a whirlwind of changes for the DeVore family. Within just four days, “David After Dentist” received 3 million views on YouTube and the younger David quickly became an Internet celebrity. His father quit his job in residential real estate (did we mention they live in Florida?), and the family started selling t-shirts featuring cartoon drawings of their son post-dental surgery. (oy vey)
Their largest deal came from a Vizio Super Bowl ad featuring several other Internet celebrities, such as the “Numa Numa Guy.” In total, they received around $8,000 and young David DeVore, already used to the on-screen exposure, was seen by millions during the biggest game of the year.
The DeVores revealed to us that they just signed a deal to make medical scrubs for dentists, and they’re also looking for deals with other dental products in the future. “We’d love it if Crest or Colgate would sponsor the website,” David tells us.
While his family is busy finding ways to monetize off the video’s success, the younger David is just trying to live like a normal 9-year old kid. After finishing the 3rd grade on the honor roll, David is on summer break and just attended football camp in Tampa Bay. He is also taking guitar lessons though that doesn’t necessarily translate to more on-camera time for the young viral star.
“He’s not interested in becoming a TV star, he’s just a regular kid,” his father tells us. “He’s got other things that interest him.” The father speaks very highly of his wife and two sons, and he is extremely grateful for the video’s wild success. “We do look at it as a blessing, in a crazy 21st century way,” says David. “It’s allowed me to have the flexibility and freedom to be with my family.”
In addition, the DeVores have donated close to a total of $7,000 to their church, David’s school, a local dentist, and Operation Smile—an NGO dedicated to healing facial deformities such as cleft lip. They’re also open to posting videos of aspiring musicians or performers looking for exposure onto their YouTube channel which, according to David, still attracts 100,000 – 125,000 views a day.