The Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz “backyard scientists” schtick is part of their well-planned and precisely executed “Diet Cokes and Mentos” not quite spontaneously viral video money-making franchise.
Their current “Internet world premier” of a Sequel II is a far cry from the typical “user-generated content” videos of the YouTube clip culture variety. Google nevertheless positions the work of the not so mad scientists as such at the official Google blog in announcing the “release” of the team’s latest video, “The Domino Effect.”
Voltz and Grobe are professional performing artists and theatrical producers. They have been producing short-form live theater at the Oddfellow Theater in Maine for many years. The team developed EepyBird as a vehicle for cashing in on a projected online short film bonanza.
Grobe is a Yale educated mathematician and professionally trained choreographer and juggler; He is a five time gold medalist at the International Jugglers Championships.
Voltz is an experienced trial attorney and professionally trained performance artist.
Last July, when Voltz and Grobe were reaping a five figure revenue share payout from Revver, the site they credit with help making their “Diet Coke and Mentos” video a "viral" talk show circuit household name, I discuss how they embarked on an orchestrated anti-YouTube and anti-Google campaign in “Now playing at YouTube? ‘Coke and Mentos’ vs. ‘Lazy Sunday.’”
have posted a message at their Website: “Please do not post our videos on sites like YouTube and Google.”
The video team is going the “videos powered by REVVER” route and is being championed by many in the Web 2.0 community for standing up for their copyright.
zefrank also has posted “please DO NOT upload these movies to YouTube or any other VID hosting site” and in his July 27 “show” he reflects on a not too distant consumer created media future when “dancing nuts might actually have value.”
Three months and thousands of diet cokes and mentos later, Voltz and Grobe ditched the video site that launched their “viral” video sensation franchise and got Google Video religion, as I reported last week in “Showing on Google Video, Not YouTube (yet)"
The “Diet Coke and Mentos” guys have apparently been so consumed by making even more “soda fly out of the bottle,” that they didn’t get the memo: Google is to be the proud owner of YouTube…Google celebrated its “Diet Coke and Mentos” coup at the official Google blog Monday:
The “amateur video enthusiasts” have posted a “sneak preview” of their October 30 release, “Experiment #214,” at Google Video. The professional video trailer teases their forthcoming sequel and, more importantly, hawks a Coca-Cola sponsorship via a post-roll “Ads by Google” created promo.”
The mad scientists known as EepyBird know a thing or two about chain reactions. They first rocketed into viral video fame by turning the explosive act of mixing Diet Coke and Mentos into an art form. Today they're back with a chain reaction like none other: 500 liters of Diet Coke and 1500+ Mentos, all triggered by the pull of one string.
Don't miss "The Domino Effect" -- a Google Video exclusive.
How did Google Video manage to snare the EepyBird team away from the video site that brought them to the video revenue sharing party? Why did the not so mad scientists turn in their anti-Google campaign buttons and become Google Video’s newest fans?
Money, and Google promises of lots of it, or at least more than Revver.
Google pitches AdSense to Web publishers with a you’ll do better with us than “them” carrot:
The Google ads you are able to display on your content pages can be either cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-1000-impressions (CPM) ads…This means that advertisers pay either when users click on ads, or when the advertiser's ad is shown on your site. You'll receive a portion of the amount paid for either activity on your website. Although we don't disclose the exact revenue share, our goal is to enable publishers to make as much or more than they could with other advertising networks.
The Google-EppyBird-CocaCola calculated collaboration is a sponsored video match made in diet coke and mentos heaven. But does it portend a lucrative democratization of amateur video as Google would have the public believe?
Hunter Walk, product manager, Google Video touted last week at the Digital Hollywood Conference:
What encourages people to start uploading video? We think it's monetization. What makes the amateur chef upload cooking videos? If she knew she could make a couple hundred dollars a week through the ad model, she'd be more willing.
Really? How many “amateur” video enthusiasts have the professional background and skills of Voltz and Grobe and how many can match the creative and business savvy of the EppyBird team?
Moreover, the Google-EppyBird-CocaCola deal is not representative of Google’s standard user generated video uploading program.
"The Domino Efect" is part of Google’s “Premium Program for “major producers”:
Do you have 1,000 or more hours of video? Have your videos been shown on TV networks or distributed by major motion picture studios? Please fill out this form to qualify for our Premium Program. If you have less than 1,000 hours, we encourage you to upload your video through our online Video Upload Program.
The Revver revenue sharing site is also encouraging video uploads form "amateurs", but “Diet Coke and Mentos” results are not guaranteed.
In “Revver: advertiser-driven videos?” I recount a more typical Revver payout to would be video stars, as reported by AP in June:
“Gotcha!" is a one-minute vampire movie that has gotten more than 1,600 hits since its 23-year-old director posted it on Revver at the beginning of the month.
The mini-flick is one of five that Ben Leavitt, who attended NYU’s film school, has uploaded using Revver’s system that attaches ads to videos and then splits the advertising revenue 50/50 with creators. Leavitt, who’s made about $30 so far, said he was drawn to Revver because of the potential to earn some cash from his self-described ‘ridiculous work.’
‘For doing nothing, that’s pretty good actually. I would’ve done it if there wasn’t money involved, but the money is certainly appealing, he said.’