Internet fame is a difficult thing. We all want to be well-known, to get the money, sponsorship deals and the status that comes from being popular. But not everybody that makes it on the Internet stays successful and popular. Once upon a time, YouTube was not the billion dollar industry that it is today. Back at the very beginning of its lifespan, there were a lot of people who made a lot of money from being YouTube famous, and one of those people was Ray William Johnson. But what happened to him?
The Man Who Had it All
If you were going to describe Ray William Johnson in a word, that word would probably be pioneer. He was one of the first people to really push YouTube out to a general audience, taking the website from being quite a niche area of the Internet to one which is known practically everywhere. A bit part of that was down to his video review series, Equals 3. When you mix the success of his series with quite a charismatic personality, you had a recipe that took this man to the very top of YouTube algorithm. He was for the longest time incredibly popular, but if you asked a normal person to list the most influential YouTubers of 2019, he probably wouldn’t come up. Why is this?
Where Did He Go?
A lot of people worried that William vanished off the face of the planet. The common speculation was that as YouTube grew and developed, his popularity went down to the point that he could no longer sustain his channel. However, this is not the case.
He still works on a YouTube channel, and there’s also have a Facebook page, but the content which is produced is very different from the video review series that put him on the map to begin with. There are a couple of reasons for this. The most prominent however is down to a court case, where another entity alleged that the video series have created was using clips from another site unlawfully, and so a lawsuit was filed to have all of the clips pulled from YouTube. Despite his best efforts, William lost that battle. His clips were pulled, and this severely impacted his faith in YouTube and his commitment to posting content. It was also one of the factors which heralded the very common fair use argument that is commonplace on the system today.
So to summarise, Ray William Johnson was an example of a YouTuber who fell victim to the growing sophistication of the site. As he became more and more popular, he fell victim to the legalities of uploading video and audio content on the Internet under his own name. Well, he does continue in a different form, he would never again be the same giant that everyone knew him as. And yet, one cannot look at YouTube as a whole without recognizing his contribution. He did help to create a more general audience for the site, even if he himself did not survive its transition into what we know and love today.
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