Bay Area-based YouTube is the world's largest catalyst for getting a video message out to the world at large. They sparked a new term to explain the phenomena: viral. If your video goes viral, you will become famous or infamous in an instant.
But you don't make any money.
That appears to be changing for some photographers who know how to work it. One example popped up in New York City this week. A man who just happened to be on a subway that included a very curious rat that had a very close encounter with a sleepy rider turned a :27 second clip into money.
Jeff Forde posted the clip on YouTube with water marks and a way to get in touch with him. Quickly the calls from media outlets around the country poured in. Forde said he made between $250 and $600 from the calls from producers who wanted to show the video on their air. His take is up to $4,000 at last check.
The video was so popular Forde also went with a low tech route of making money. He was approached by a t-shirt company called "Viral Prints" who is now selling the episode in small, medium and large.