- Dr Sandra Lee, aka Dr Pimple Popper, briefly made hundreds of thousands a month on YouTube.
- That ended because many advertisers didn’t want to appear alongside “graphic” content, she told Insider.
- Lee was angry that her “educational” videos were being punished by YouTube’s “subjective” process.
The founder of a YouTube channel with pimples, said she lost a nearly six-figure revenue stream a month when the site said her content was “too graphic” to make money.
Dr Sandra Lee, aka Dr Pimple Popper, told Insider that: her youtube channelwhich has 7.5 million subscribers and nearly 5 billion views, is struggling to generate significant revenue from advertising.
After making nearly $100,000 a month from YouTube views between 2014 and 2016, the site told her that her content wasn’t making any money.
YouTubers like Lee make money from ads on their videos, memberships, and a portion of premium subscriber revenue.
This became a major revenue stream for Lee as her “popaholic” viewers began watching her videos for their billions. According to the Estimates from Influencer Marketing Hub While 1,000 views yield between $3 and $5, Lee could have made between $15 million and $25 million from those views.
However, YouTube discourages users from posting “graphic or violent content” on its channels and warns that it will be removed. This included “images or images of bodily fluids, such as blood or vomit, with the intent to shock or scare viewers.”
This is usually intended to target harmful content and discourage violence or trauma, but it seems that Lee’s banging videos fall into this category as well. A chart Insider saw shows a sharp drop in revenue in 2016, when her team said YouTube told her the videos couldn’t monetize.
But Lee, who said she got warnings from YouTube for her posts, claimed her videos were only meant to be educational.
“I’m really proud of the fact that kids now know what a lipoma is or that they know you can’t just pop a cyst — you have to completely remove the sac to remove it,” she said.
“We teach people about psoriasis or hidradenitis, but if you’re not motivated to get that content out, how are people going to learn?”
Fighting medical disinformation
Feeling she’s helping combat medical disinformation by acting as a verified dermatology resource, Lee is stunned by YouTube’s actions.
“They suddenly changed the rules,” said Lee, noting that advertisers didn’t want to be associated with a channel with blackheads.
“She [social media platforms] they get big because of all those new posters, but then they wait until they’re big enough to kind of clamp on them and put restrictions on them.”
Lee has since set up a members area, where viewers can access exclusive pops, while also monetizing her clinic, a show on the cable channel TLC, and her skincare brand.
But she noted that TikTok, where she has more than 15 million followers, is also starting to tackle content like Lee’s. Some of her TikTok videos now come with a content warning.
“There’s a fine line between what’s dangerous, what’s just shocking, and what’s educational,” Lee said.
YouTube did not respond to a request for comment.