How does make money from BB posts? seems to be popping up as the source for many news video embeds here on BB as well as across the internet.

Nobody seems to really know how this works, so I’m starting this thread to discuss.

So does BB get any kickbacks from the videos they share?


I have to assume that BB is seeing some type of revenue from this.

What I’m most curious about is what does this do for the content creators revenue?


So, trying to better understand what the deal is:

From their site:

If you embed a video from YouTube for which AIR.TV has a license, AIR.TV Social will automatically replace the YouTube embed with an AIR.TV embed of the same video, and then report views, and share ad revenue with you.

It looks like this replacement is happening automagically on the site now.
If you look at this moth post you’ll see it’s using the player. But this is a dupe from last month, which can be seen here.
Notice that they both are using the new player. But a look at’s scrape of last months post reveals the normal YouTube embed.

Ignoring the ads, the part I find annoying is that clicking through the videos takes you to the site, not the creators channel or the youtube origin. In fact, doesn’t display any creator information at all. In the case of the moth video, I know that it was made by Ant Labs, and have a link to their channel, because this was mentioned in the article. But without that link, I would be forced to search it myself.

The player for also sucks eggs- no control for resolution, playback speed, closed captioning, or thumbnail previews while scrubbing the video.

I understand BB is trying to generate revenue, and I support that. But this particular integration makes for a bad experience on my end, and I don’t like it.


Great analysis. And yet some old BB posts still have youtube links like this:

while the latest Lockpicking Lawyer post did have the video.

I don’t get why youtube would allow another company to sell ads on yt videos.


My security is set pretty high, so all I see is the YouTube embed, and blocked 3d party scripting for air dot tv, which wants to scripting and XHR permissions. So I guess BB embeds the youtube videos normally through WordPress and air dot tv redirects the requests somehow?

Track and monetize YouTube, Facebook and Twitter embeds on your site…

If you have a YouTube channel, AIR.TV will automatically swap your YouTube embeds for AIR.TV embeds and deliver 10-20X higher yield than you get from YouTube…

If you embed a video from YouTube for which AIR.TV has a license, AIR.TV Social will automatically replace the YouTube embed with an AIR.TV embed of the same video, and then report views, and share ad revenue with you.

AIR.TV Social also enables advertisers to target the metadata of your Twitter & Facebook embeds, and to inject adjacent ad units that yield 2-3X the CPM you get for comparable units on the same page.

Hmm…it’s allegedly specially licensed. I’m all for BoingBoing getting good revenue. I do wonder if that is a sustainable model if it is taking away monetization from YouTube, though. I wouldn’t think Google would take that lying down. But I don’t know how Google can stop it since they don’t have exclusive licensing of user content. But they could make it technologically harder. Right now it seems that air dot tv does an automatic look up to see if they have a separate license for the embedded YouTube content and auto swaps out the content if true.

I have a hard time believing that air dot tv has managed to get separate licensing deals with the majority of YouTubers, so if all the YouTube embeds on BB are being autoswapped with air dot tv embeds, then either air dot tv is stealing monetizing both licensed and unlicensed content, or the catalog of air dot tv content may be driving editorial content on BB because of the higher revenue share. There is precedent for that on BB, including BoingBoing store embeds, and the frequent Amazon affiliate link driven content.

(Even if they have a separate license for the content, I wouldn’t be surprised if air dot tv is scraping or streaming YouTube instead of separate uploads.)


I was wondering about this too and various posters have brought it up in different threads but i just get the default youtube embed because of my blocking addons. Looking at the post on an ipad though, i can see why the player is an inferior option to youtube, notwithstanding G’s increasingly restrictive policies.


Being a USAsian, I have no problems with linked content, but I know that boingers who live outside of the US often complain of difficulties viewing embedded videos because of some kind of content restriction. Does Air[dot]tv enable bypassing restrictions for those viewers who are normally unable to see the videos? Because that would be a cool benefit for them.


If air dot tv actually has separate licenses (Warner Media is one of the investors, so that does seem possible) then they may have different geographic licensing than the same YouTube content. I’m curious to find out if the geoblocking restrictions are different, and, if so, in how many cases.


Please see our updated privacy policy:

  1. We partner with Air.TV to monetize swap out videos we have embeded where they have the license and a paying advertiser. Their privacy policy can be viewed here.

That is utter bullshit.


What’s bugging me out is that they seem to be embedding other people’s youtube content in this platform and overlaying their own ad stream. Seems like stealing to me. I don’t get it, but it doesn’t feel right.


Like drinking somebody else’s milkshake with a very long straw right?


@orenwolf Unrelated query: In the last week, every time I click to play a posted video, it starts with an ad, with no option to skip. As ever, I’m using Firefox with privacy settings set to block popups. Has something changed in boingboing, or can I change something about my settings? Thanks.


If BoingBoing has decided to monetize videos through a 3d party that uses unskippable ads (say, air dot tv), I don’t think asking the sys admin for advice on how to bypass the monetization is going to be fruitful. He’s a thoughtful mod, but he doesn’t work for us.

We never got straight answers from management about the surprising situation when BoingBoing transitioned without prior notice to an outdated Goggle program that would charged per page view. A transition that was never explained, and, fortunately, was subsequently rescinded without explanation. (I don’t remember all the details, though, so I may be summarizing it slightly off.)

I’m not sure if BB ever publicly mentioned the automatic re-writes of any Amazon link a user posts in the the forum into an affiliate link for BoingBoing. Nor does BB talk much about Stack Social.

I don’t necessarily expect any more transparency about the new air dot tv than for previous revenue methodologies.

Revenue online is hard and constantly getting harder. And over the years it’s been shown to be a sensitive issue for management. And while I personally think the inside scoop on what BB does and how it has changed over the years would be an awesome BB story, very much in-line with BoingBoing content from the hey day of BoingBoing, management has said, “Yeah, no” (not an exact quote). I’m thinking that there must be some thought that it’s a zero sum game, and thus exposing the secrets would be damaging to the revenue. That, or it’s a “you don’t want to see how sausage is made” thing. Or both.


Both are mentioned on our privacy policy page, which, like our terms of service, really does strive to be as plain-language as any I’ve seen.


Great short and sweet explanation. Not that it’s your job to explain, but I still would like to know more about how this works. Does this means that has an agreement with the Lockpicking Lawyer, that both he and BB get part of the ad revenue when his videos are embedded?

As far as youtube objecting, their TOS say:

You retain ownership rights in your Content.

So I guess they don’t really have any legal way to challenge this.

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I do not know (nor do I want to know) anything about monetization of traffic here. But most of these type of contracts have competitive rates or business processes so I would expect that very few sites would be at liberty to disclose the sort of info you are looking for there.

That is probably doubly true of and whatever agreement they have with content providers.


I could definitely be mistaken. There have been multiple repeat posts about various “favorite gadgets”, where the exact same short post extolling the virtues of a useful gadget (complete with amazon affiliate link to it) were re-posted over and over, that have given me the impression that those gadget posts were repeat listed because they were affiliate link driven. But just because I got that impression (and possibly others, too) doesn’t make it so.

Yes, there are some good things in the privacy policy and the terms of service. They are shorter and clearer than others on the net, the way only a really top lawyer can do, one who doesn’t have to rely on using “safe” boiler plate language the way associate lawyers need to.

However, by “mention” I didn’t mean in a policy page that few people read, I meant where people would see it, in editorial content. I had no idea that they had been updated since such changes don’t show up as notifications, AFIK, in the feed on either the main page or the BBS.

I don’t claim that other services talk about the revenue streams in editorial content, it’s just my “in a perfect world” day dreaming out loud. Studies consistently show most people don’t read terms of service, and since most people don’t even click on them most people won’t know that the BB TOS and Privacy policy and much more readable than others on the web.

All I was asking was whether both BB and the creator who has licensed their content are both getting paid. I’m going to take your response to mean this is a stupid question and of course both are getting paid but of course nobody will say exactly how much.


When I post a (hilarious) YouTube video on a BBS thread, does that also go through, or does this only apply to posts on the main BB site? The Privacy Policy says “that we have embeded,” so I just want to clarify whether I am included in “we” as a poster on the BBS.

Not that I really mind either way, but it would be good to know.


I appreciate the plain language and comprehensive privacy disclosures.

But, unless I’m mistaken, that Privacy Policy was updated a few minutes before your post. Feels like maybe updating the policy before it hits the users (and they start reacting) would be a better way to go about it. Just my unsolicited .02