About six years ago Ray William Johnson ran the most popular show on YouTube, Equals Three. Looking back now it may seem a little odd but yes, the biggest show on the Internet was about a guy that found random clips and gave his comedic take on them. Since then his popularity has declined drastically, at his height he was generating five million views per video, now he has been getting around 50,000.
This has led many to ask the question what happened to him? To understand the downfall of Ray William Johnson, we need to take a look at his rise to stardom. He started back in 2009, uploading videos reviewing on other viral clips. These early videos were very amateur in comparisons to today’s standards but it was fast paced and had a unique style so gradually he built an audience. Back in the day, YouTube used to have a feature where they showed the most viewed videos of the day on the front page and the top 50 content creators had a monopoly. Ray was so popular nearly every one of his videos made it to the number one spot, making him the king of the Internet.
His success was unprecedented, at the time he was just a college student making videos in his dorm in New York City. He planned to become a lawyer then all of a sudden dropped out moved to California and for many years his videos continue to get millions of views. Surprisingly in 2014 he decided to step down as the host of Equals Three. He found a new host because the fans still wanted the show to continue. A new host named Robbie took over the show and most people were pretty happy with the change well. Slowly the viewership of each episode started to decline but still received over a million views. Robbie decided to leave and things really started to go downhill. When the next new host arrived, the fans were immediately not happy with the change, the comments and number of dislikes made it clear it was failing. Sadly this was final nail in the coffin.
Now I’d like to talk about the five failures in ray William Johnson’s career.
1. Expanding his Operation
Ray was doing well just making videos out of his apartment but because he became successful it seems that he felt the need to expand his operation by getting an expensive studio in California. He hired a full crew of people to help him produce the show and get talent to start other series that I doubt ever turned a profit. There’s no doubt he was making really good money back in the day he probably could have kept a lot more of it if he kept costs down. He could have continued to work from home and maybe hire two people help write and edit the show.
2. Joining a YouTube network
At the time it probably seemed like a good idea for him to join Maker Studios and I’m sure they promised him the world but as usual the YouTube network tried to squeeze as much money out of him as possible.
3. Trying to break into Traditional Media
Whenever a youtuber becomes big they always seem to want to branch out to TV or movies even though it never works. I remember hearing how Ray was working on some new TV show idea or was in touch with producers but those projects never panned out. If you look at his IMDB page, he doesn’t have much to show for all the hard work trying to get bigger projects off the ground number.
4. He Didn’t Win his Court Case
Now this one isn’t actually his fault but when he was sued for using copyrighted content it didn’t go his way and he had to settle the lawsuit. I’m sure the settlement hurt the profitability of Equals Three as its viewership was already dwindling.
5.He Abandoned his Show
When Ray left Equals Three he said he wanted to focus on new things. I think there was a better way instead of just quitting altogether. He could have made the show once a week instead and have his team write up all the content beforehand so he could just show up and do a few episodes in a day. By leaving abruptly not only did Equals Three popularity decline but so did all of his other YouTube channels.
He stopped receiving as much media attention and people winded up forgetting about him. Go to his channel now and you can see how he hides his number of subscribers since it doesn’t look good next to only 50,000 views. His most recent vlogs reveal he’s now a traveling comedian. In these new videos that show him performing in small venues with some friends and he does seem happy but it’s still strange to think that this guy was once the biggest person on the entire Internet.