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Google tests Fundo, a new take on fan-funding for YouTube stars


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Fundo is a new project in beta from Google’s experimental division Area 120, although its bare-bones website doesn’t divulge much information about it.

“If you’re a creator on YouTube or other platforms and you’re interested in new ways to engage your audience, please request an invitation,” it explains, with a link to a form that reveals those other platforms are Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitch. Thankfully, Variety has more details: it reports that Fundo is a platform for these digital stars to make money through virtual meet’n’greets: one example saw YouTuber Hannah Forcier charging fans $40 for short ‘photo booth’ video-chats where they could pose for photos (or rather: screenshots) together. “The earnings from Fundo events go directly to support their channels and creativity, so they can continue to make you feel all the feels,” explains Fundo’s official FAQ.

There’s even a virtual queuing system so fans can see their place in line, just as they would at a physical meet’n’greet.

For now, all the feels being felt through Fundo appear to be focused on digital creators rather than traditional stars/celebrities, but there is certainly scope here for musicians who have emerged from YouTube and TikTok (for example) to experiment – albeit only those who don’t wince at the thought of charging young fans 40 dollars for an on-screen photo opportunity.

Stuart Dredge

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