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MLA Full: "Sell Outs!" YouTube, uploaded by vlogbrothers, 15 July 2009,
MLA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2009)
APA Full: vlogbrothers. (2009, July 15). Sell Outs! [Video]. YouTube.
APA Inline: (vlogbrothers, 2009)
Chicago Full: vlogbrothers, "Sell Outs!", July 15, 2009, YouTube, 04:01,
In which John discusses selling out and asks for guidance from the nerdfighters.


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A Bunny
( - -)
((') (')
Good Morning Hank, it’s Tuesday and I’m wearing a suit today to try to appeal to advertisers. But don’t worry, I haven’t sold out. You can tell because I’m not wearing any pants.
That wasn’t supposed to go like that.
(Intro music)
Okay, sorry, I had to change. It was just so hot and I could feel corporate America constricting me and it was unbearable.

So, Hank, on Sunday I made a video and many Nerdfighters commented that almost all of the ads next to my face and right down here were about either Scientology or mail order brides.

Now, Hank, I wanna clarify something. We don’t want Nerdfighters to become Scientologist mail order brides. Nor, in fact, do we want them to use the internet to purchase mail order brides. For one thing, buying a wife on the internet is immoral, and for another thing -- dang it!

Also Hank, this isn’t the first time on our videos the advertisements have been hilarious and/or humiliating. This one, for instance, just seems to be making fun of you. And I found this one to be a little bit troubling as well. I mean, first off, Google, I you trying to make my wife worry just because I like dressing up my bust of Edgar Allen Poe? And secondly, that ad leads to a website where you can buy a test to find out if your husband is gay. Now, admittedly, Hank, I haven’t purchased this test, so I don’t know how great it is, but as a public service I am now going to provide a free identical test.

Question 1: Hey husband, do you like dudes?
Question 2: Seriously though, do you?

All right, Hank, let me tell you what I don’t think selling out is. I don’t think it’s selling out to tell the people who watch our videos that the paperback edition of Paper Towns comes out on September 17th and it looks approximately like this. Well, I mean not exactly like this. I mean the book will have, like, stuff in the middle.

I don’t even think it would be selling out if I arranged my bookshelves every video to look like that. Although it would be a little unseemly which is why I don’t do it even though my publishers are always asking me to.

And Hank, I don’t think it’s selling out when you make an awesome CD that you work hard on and then tell people they can buy. By the way, Hank’s album is brilliant and it will change your life, link in the sidebar.

Telling me it’s selling out to try to share my books with an audience is like telling Derek Jeter it’s selling out when he tries to hit balls hard. Or telling your mom it’s selling out if she hits balls hard. I guess your mom jokes don’t really work when your mom is also my mom.

On the other hand, Hank, I think it would be selling out if we told people or implied to them that they couldn’t be made-of-awesome Nerdfighters unless they bought this stuff.

Now, Hank, as you know, we don’t do paid product placement in out videos. Not because we think it’s inherently wrong, but because we don’t think it’s right for us and our audience. Here’s my problem with paid product placement: I may believe that wacky string is the best silly string product on the planet, which I do, and I may tell my friends that when they have silly string needs they should turn to wacky sting, but if wacky string pays me to say that, I’m not saying it because it’s true, I’m saying it because they paid me.

On the other hand, we do make money from advertising and from selling t-shirts.

Now obviously, Hank, YouTube can’t survive without advertising and as we make this more of our job, we can’t survive without advertising, either. Because, like, I assume no one wants to pay for VlogBrothers videos. I mean, Hank, you’re my brother, and I’m myself, but even I don’t want to pay to watch our videos.

But Hank, the Nerdfighter community is so tight knit and so focused on making the world suck less, that I don’t want questions about selling out swirling around and pulling us apart. So, Nerdfighters, in comments please let us know:

Do you a) think that talking about money is just kind of gross and generally trust us not to sell you out?
Do you b) want to see a fuller and more transparent accounting of what money goes to us and what money goes to charity?
Or do you c) want to have a kind of shareholder role in the Nerdfighter community where you vote on what our compensation should be?
And as a bonus question, what do you think the definition of selling out is?

Nerdfighters, please note that you never have to buy anything to be a Nerdfighter. And you particularly do not have to buy a wife. Although it’s worth noting just for the public record that if you click on a mail order bride ad and then don’t order a bride, the company loses money.

Hank, we’ve been brothers for 29 years and you’ve never sold me out, and I appreciate it. I’ll see you tomorrow.

P.S. Hey Chicagoans, I’m doing a Nerdfighter gathering in your city next Thursday. More info in the sidebar!