As far as profits go, we live in the golden age of YouTube (not so much in the scandal department). Stars like Logan Paul, Jake Paul and PewDiePie have become household names thanks to the video-sharing social medium.
Not only do the world's top YouTubers attract billions of video plays, but also perks like brand partnerships and clothing lines — and they make millions of dollars doing it.
Check out the highest-paid YouTube stars of 2018, according to Forbes, as estimated from June 1, 2017 through June 1, 2018.
Once the king of YouTube, then-22-year-old Logan Paul was kicked off YouTube's Google Preferred program after filming a video in Japan that showed a dead body hanging from a tree. Although he apologized for his actions (somewhat insincerely, some say), his income and brand deals took a major hit, especially considering that the Google Preferred program gives favorable ad rates to popular channels. What kept him afloat throughout the scandal was his loyal fans' devotion to his hefty merchandise business.
Another scandal-laden vlogger, PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, is the most followed YouTuber in the world at 72.5 million followers. Last year's backlash after he posted an anti-semitic video kept advertisers away for only so long; Forbes reports that they spent up to $450,000 for a sponsored video.
Seán McLoughlin and his energetic, foul-mouthed video game commentary combine for the most popular YouTube channel in Ireland: Jacksepticeye. But despite his adult language, he's still joining the mainstream media. He did a series for Disney and is even developing exclusive content for the live-streaming platform Twitch.
Video game enthusiasts are drooling over the careers of people like Evan Fong, who plays and does commentary on mainstream titles like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed. With over 10 billion video views across his YouTube channel and 23.8 million subscribers, it's safe to say the Canadian gamer isn't feeling dejected by the fact that his music hasn't quite taken off so far.
Hawaii-born Markiplier, whose real name is Mark Fischbach, launched his YouTube channel out of tough times in 2012 while he was a biomedical-engineering student at the University of Cincinnati. What started as audio snippets for practice in a career in voice acting, he soon began wryly commentating PS4 games, which evolved into signing seven-figure brand deals and even launching a high-end athleisure line for gamers with Jacksepticeye.
Even though Jeffree Star doesn't have exclusively YouTube to thank for his fame (he's been famous since the MySpace era), he does have the platform to thank for allowing him to recreate himself as a beauty mogul. He even co-founded Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which sells an estimated $100 million annually. Not bad compared to his $18 million from YouTube.
Daniel Middleton, a British gamer whose specialty is Minecraft, has been playing on-camera for six years, which has resulted in a lump sum of 20.7 million devoted, merchandise-buying followers. To tell you how far YouTube has come profit-wise since just last year, Middleton fell from last year's top earning spot at $16.5 million to this year's number 4 spot with $2 million more in his pocket.
Can't get enough of addicting trick shot videos? Dude Perfect, a five-man sports crew consisting of Coby and Cory Cotton, Garrett Hilbert, Cody Jones and Tyler Toney, have that down to a ping-pong hurling, domino-falling science on their channel, which racked up 175 million views in 2018 and $20 million in earning.
The only surprise to "Jake Paulers" with his name on this list is that the younger Paul brother didn't make it to the highest earner spot. Despite the controversy surrounding him, the year turned out to be the best of his career income-wise, thanks to his merchandise business. His rap songs and outlandish pranks raked in more than 3.5 billion views and $21.5 million.
Would you believe us if we said the top YouTube earner is 7 years old? Ryan and his 17 million followers love Legos, trains and cars — and his line of collectibles now selling at Walmart.