It’s no big secret that the Nelk Boys are one of the most popular channels on YouTube, but according to a new report, they pull in over $70 million a year – all without any kind of revenue from the site.
If you’ve spent any time in YouTube’s trending section at all, you’re probably aware of the Nelk Boys. Their prank videos rack up millions of views, but despite their popularity, they’re not on the best of terms with the site.
YouTube is not a fan of the Nelk Boys’ rowdy party or prank videos, some of which may or may not be entirely legal, and in 2020, they demonetized Nelk’s channel. This didn’t slow the Boys down at all, though. Since they don’t rely on ad revenue to make their money, they didn’t miss a beat.
According to a report from the New York Times, Nelk relies entirely on merchandise sales and subscription services for their 8-digit annual income.
“Every video, we’re swearing, we’re doing some stuff that could be questionable or illegal, we’re making sexual references or drug references,” Nelk head honcho Kyle Forgeard told the Times. “So we were making no money on YouTube at all.”
Nelk’s new Happy Dad Seltzer is a great example of how the channel actually makes it’s money. Since it was released in early June 2021, it has been almost impossible to find — with rabid fans queuing up outside of California liquor stores for a chance to score some, after rapidly wiping out the online stock.
It not just novelty alcoholic beverages fans are snapping up, either. There’s a full line of your standard Nelk merch, their exclusive Full Send line, and the Full Send subscription services, where fans can get notified about the latest drops before anyone else.
Even before the Nelk boys got technically demonetized, it wasn’t like they were really raking in the dough from YouTube, anyways. Back in November 2020 after the Google-owned video site started to try and crack down on them, they reportedly only received a paltry $0.23 (23 cents) for over 15 million video views during the month.
Finally, the Full Send crew has also been expanding their business empire into the realm of cryptocurrency, even going to far as to bash other content creators for promoting what they call “scam” coins. $70 million with no help from YouTube is certainly impressive, but it might just be the tip of the iceberg if things keep going Nelk’s way.