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Along with broadcasting, Abuhamdeh texts and talks on the phone with his followers. Then in May of last year it suddenly clicked, exploding from less than 10 million monthly visitors to more than 100 million in the span of just four months.
More than 35,000 hours of live video are now streamed on the service each day, and more than a million dollars in tips flow through its platform each month.
"It’s all about the addiction to real time feedback and the nodes in the brain that it triggers," Sideman tells me.
Users can give digital gifts, essentially sticks, like hearts, fistbumps, or beers.
Watching a You Now stream can be an overwhelming experience.Despite myself, I feel a rush of excitement, the thrill of having another human perform just for me."The broadcaster is not the only content creator in the room," says Sideman.In June of last year, on a whim and mostly out of boredom, Abuhamdeh mounted his phone next to the register and began to broadcast his day on You Now, a live streaming service. People would walk up and pay, he would ring them up, and then as they left, nail them with a zinger spoken to the camera. But I was nervous, I felt like there were people watching. It was weird.” After a few weeks of broadcasting he began to find his rhythm.
A 99 cent tip sometimes gets a broadcaster to smile, while more expensive offerings elicit a personal shoutout, or more intimate reaction.