19 January 2017
YouTube has announced a new Super Chat tool that will allow creators to make money during live streams and help users get their attention in exchange for money. For users, it basically means that they can pay money to get their comment highlighted and pinned at the top so that the creator can notice them.
In the announcement, YouTube mentioned that there will be a dollar sign during a live stream which can be tapped by a user to trigger Super Chat. On tapping the icon, they will see a slider to set the amount of money they want to pay. They can also choose to type the amount instead of using the slider. Once the user completes transaction successfully, he will see a receipt of the same and the comment will be pinned at the top of the chat. A Super Chat is highlighted in bright color for grabbing the creator's attention and will stay at the top for up to 5 hours (depending on the amount paid).
This new tool has been released as a replacement to Fan Funding feature which allowed users to pay as their wish and support creators. But it has now being discontinued as YouTube says that it never took off. For the Super Chat feature, it is currently available in beta stage to a few selected creators.
While Super Chat appears to be a cool way for users to get connected with their favorite YouTubers and for YouTubers to make some money, it also has some concerning issues. One of them is that it will also allow online trollers and haters to make payments and make their hate/abusive comments get highlighted and reach the top. There is no doubt Super Chat will be governed by standard YouTube guidelines and moderation tools against such trollers but it does not seem to be good enough for a live stream.
It seems like we will have to wait and see if Super Chat will prove to be a success and a good way of communication between creators and their fans.