Viral Video Personas: The Dao of Nalts

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By day he is a mild-mannered office-bound product manager. By night (and weekend and vacation and lunch break) he is an avid “viral videologist,” uploading hundreds of minutes of content across a spectrum of video sites.

Kevin “Nalts” Nalty has over 350 YouTube video posts to his name (his most recent post embedded below), not to mention other postings (and re-postings) on Metacafe and Revver as well as a growing list of collaborative projects he has contributed to.

In a candid and colloquial phone conversation on Wednesday, Mr. Nalty pontificated on video communities, marketing through virals, and YouTube haters. “I got into this trying to make money and stumbled into the community aspect,” Nalty says. “I’m just getting into this idea of interactivity. I’m finding this whole ecosystem of creators.”

Coming to the viral video mediascape as a product manager at a pharmaceutical company, Nalty hopes to one day make a living off of his videos. “As interesting as [my day job] is, it doesn’t touch this viral space.”

And Nalty is working hard to make it pay. And early adopter of both Revver and Metacafe, “Nalts” has also shot discrete marketing videos for Mentos and GPSManiac. “Instead of these pennies for views, I think this one-time bigger deal is the way it’s going. It’s smarter for the marketer. It’s smarter for the creator.” And this is the direction Nalty is taking his own work and efforts.

Nalty actively takes part in the formation and testing of new monetization models. “I love the idea of helping some guy who has no access to LA or New York or Madison Avenue and getting them out there and connecting their creativity with people looking for talent.” He serves on the board of the recently launched consumer-generated advertising company XLNTads, and is also part of Flix55, a similar video distribution project. Flix55.com is open for beta, but details are scant, though their tagline of “Create. Share. Win. Win.” is exciting.

Nalty has been a multi-time runner-up in a variety of video contests. But that’s not his only frustration. “It’s hard to find contests,” he says. “And it’s harder for marketers to find people willing to commoditize their work.” He’s taking his constructive criticism to heart, and says he hopes to do better with some of his own ventures, creating a “go-to spot” for contests.

While Nalty has a loyal following with some 12,000-plus YouTube subscribers, he admits the community can be fickle. “It took me nine months to get 200 subscribers. And then I started putting videos up under my wife’s name and she got 2,000 subscribers in two weeks!” And with work posted across multiple platforms, Nalty is seeing differences in audience reception. “The feedback is so different from site to site. It’s remarkable seeing the exact same video getting trashed on Break and Metacafe and then getting all these positive comments on YouTube.”

Amid his regular video vignettes, his blog, the various startups, and the serialized videos he’s part of (not to mention his other job and wife and kids), he’s working on a book, Pro(phe/fi)t of Online Video. Much of it expanded posts from his blog, the book is still in the outline phase but his blog profile encourages readers “to nag him to complete the first draft.”

Towards the end of our conversation Nalty admitted he had just come from a business dinner. “You’re getting me after four vodka tonics. This is the raw Nalts.” I feel like “The Raw Nalts” sounds like a forthcoming satirical Nalts exposé. And I would watch it.

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Angela Wilson Gyetvan

Thanks for writing about Nalts! We’re big fans — he’s been with Revver since the beginning, and has truly been a pioneer in this space. Nice to see him getting the props he deserves. (As well as his wife and kids, who are his frequent guest stars.)

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