David Dobrik says his earnings fell dramatically after the YouTube "Adpocalypse" that saw many advertisers pull their sponsorships from the platform. Dobrik told Men's Health his videos used to fetch just over $275,000 a month in revenue, whereas he most recently earned under $2,000, despite bringing in three times as many views.
Dobrik, who has 14.5 million subscribers, rose to fame on YouTube with four-minute, 20-second vlogs featuring pranks, science experiments, and generous donations of cash and cars to friends and strangers.
In a video interview for Men's Health, Dobrik was asked how much he made as a YouTuber. He said not many people were up front about it because "it's weird to talk about money." But he said as a kid he was always curious about what famous people were earning and so he "owed it" to his former self to be honest about it.
Dobrik often gifts his friends cars in his videos. David Dobrik / YouTube
Dobrik said he was hit hard by the Adpocalypse. When he was getting 16 million views a month, he said, his check was "a little over $275,000," which he said was "nuts."
"I literally felt like a drug dealer at that time," Dobrik said. "Then a year and a half ago, or two years ago, it kind of got cut, and now I get 200 million views, which is more than three times the amount I was getting before, but now my paycheck is under $2,000."
Dobrik's videos use copyrighted songs and are a little more "inappropriate" than some other content on the platform, he said.
"So right now I'm actually making less money a month on YouTube than I was when I was waiting tables at a retirement home," he said. "Which is pretty crazy."
To Dobrik, it's more important that his videos are true to what he wants them to be than it would be to turn them into something more advertiser-friendly.
"It does hurt the videos — there's a lot less to do with a smaller budget," he said. "But I still have the best job in the world, so I can't complain."
In October, his fellow YouTuber Logan Paul estimated what Dobrik could be earning in ad revenue. On the "Impaulsive" podcast, Paul and his cohost Mike Majlak talked about how well Dobrik was doing on YouTube and guessed he could be making $5,000 to $20,000 a video.
"I just looked at his vlog channel, he's popping off like an average of 10 million views per vlog, which I think makes him the most successful vlogger in history," Paul said. "That is insane. I don't think he's in Google Preferred, but if he was, that could potentially be $20,000 to $40,000 per video."
According to Dobrik, this is far from the real figure. But he can still make impressive content, as his videos are rarely without a sponsor. In fact, his deal with the ticket-selling site SeatGeek is one the most lucrative marketing partnerships on YouTube.
By recommending his subscribers check out sites like SeatGeek, Dobrik has been able to give out dozens of cars. In one video, he teamed up with EA Sports and was able to gift his best friend, Heath Hussar, a brand-new $290,000 Lamborghini Huracán.
You can watch Dobrik's full interview with Men's Health below.