Why VidCon Doesn’t Pay Guests


Obviously this isn’t going to be particularly interesting to many people, but I have received this question several times and I’m always in favor of over-sharing so…

VidCon has never paid a single person to attend our conference. We fly some people out and pay for hotel rooms and do our best to make sure they have a good time, but we don’t pay and I want to talk about why.

First though, I want to be clear that there has never been a person who refused to attend the conference because we couldn’t pay them. We’ve had a couple people request payment but after we explained that we couldn’t pay, they came anyway.

But a lot of meet-ups are starting to pay creators (which I am totally in favor of.) And since VidCon doesn’t pay, I think some people want to make sure that VidCon is being fair to creators, which I think is absolutely valid. I also want to make sure that VidCon is being fair to creators.

Generally, events that pay creators are focused more on a small group of YouTubers or Viners and giving fans access to them. This works well with small groups of attendees and between 10 and 20 creators. 

VidCon’s goal is different. We try to create an accurate reflection of all of online video in real life. That means not 10 or 20 creators, but more like 250 featured creators being supported by the conference. We bring in gamers, beauty gurus, vloggers, educators, non-profits, YouTube employees, musicians, entrepreneurs, comedians, actors, writers, and more.

Now, we could absolutely pay 10 or 20 of those people the going rate, without running into trouble…but which 10 or 20? If we paid many more than that, suddenly the conference would be making zero dollars.

We simply can’t pick. If we paid one person, I honestly believe that we would have to pay hundreds.

And so I would rather spend money making sure that VidCon is valuable as an experience. And of course I know it’s work, it’s hard work. VidCon is not a relaxing time for creators (I know this because I am a creator). I just have to work to try to make VidCon valuable enough that everyone wants to keep coming back.

Of course, whenever someone can’t come for whatever reason, we totally understand. Doing events is extremely taxing, especially for people who struggle with anxiety, so completely understand that not everyone we would like to be there will be able to be there. That’s always been the case.

Finally, we are as ever, in the debt of all of our paying attendees, our sponsors, and the creators who lend their time and expertise despite the fact that we cannot pay them anything, let alone the considerable sums that, we agree, they are worth.