Why popular YouTubers are building their own sites

Whether he's showing off astronomically expensive computer gaming hardware or dumpster-diving for the cheapest PC builds possible, Linus Sebastian's videos always strike a chord, and have made him one of the most popular tech personalities on YouTube.

But Google-owned YouTube gets most episodes of Linus Tech Tips a week late.

Now, they debut on his own site called Floatplane, which attracts a much smaller crowd.

"Google has been very, very good to me," Linus says. "But it's a lot of eggs in one basket."

And with a staff of two dozen, he cannot rely on the company to continue being what he calls his "benevolent overlord".

He is not the only YouTube star looking for alternatives.

For a long time there have been tensions between those creating content on YouTube and the company providing the platform, ranging from disputes about ad revenue, to copyright problems, and even rows about the way videos are recommended to people,

Many successful YouTubers are now sizeable companies in their own right, and are seeking to safeguard their futures.

For the fans
For the last few years, Linus and co-worker Luke Lafreniere have been investing in their own platform called Floatplane.

The pair stress that it is not - and never will be - a YouTube competitor.

But they hope to provide a platform for existing video creators with a loyal audience, who might be willing to pay a few dollars a month to directly support the video-makers they love.

"It's only going to be your really hardcore fans", Luke explains. "There is no algorithm, they're going to be served everything you make."

Mostly focused on technology video-makers for now, the platform is not open to everyone.

The duo say it is growing slowly, and they are putting any profit back into building the site.Creating an enthusiastic, tight-knit community around a topic has its advantages, says Luke.

On Floatplane "a lot of the toxicity that exists on public platforms such as Twitter and YouTube, in the comments, just does not exist", he explains.

A crew of your own
Nurturing a community is part of why LA-based visual effects studio Corridor Digital built its own fan-powered site.

Its founders Sam Gorski and Niko Pueringer are film-makers - but started publishing on YouTube a decade ago while they toured the LA "circuit" to get film projects made.

Today, their multi-person studio is hugely popular on YouTube for its videos that break down the best (and worst) Hollywood visual effects and stunts, and show their audience how they make their own short films.

The company also produces its own digital-effects clips, including one that asked what might happen if Boston Dynamics' bipedal robots fought back.