The Weird World Of Clickbait

The best way to understand Troom Troom, the YouTube channel devoted to bizarre DIY tutorials, “hacks,” and “funny pranks,” is to spend multiple hours watching it until your brain turns into sprinkle-covered neon slime that can somehow also be used as lip gloss.

Because this is precisely the sort of thing that Troom Troom traffics in: do-it-yourself how-tos that no person could or should ever replicate. The most popular videos currently on the channel are tips on how to sneak food and makeup into class in laughably arduous ways: One suggests removing the glue from a glue stick and inserting a block of hard cheese into the container, while another recommends cutting an apple in half, using an Exact-O knife to remove the center, and then stuffing an eyeshadow palette inside. Of the apple!

Troom Troom is just one of many content factories of mysterious international origin that have gamed YouTube’s algorithm with bright, clickbait-y thumbnails and SEO keywords like “DIY,” “hack,” and “prank wars.” And to stand out from the thousands of other channels peddling the exact same service, they’ve turned to stranger and stranger content.

That’s how you end up with a video that recently went viral on Twitter, featuring a woman cutting off a (very long) strand of her hair, trimming it down to less than half an inch, and attaching it to the end of a pencil to create an eyeshadow brush. This, produced by the equally wild YouTube channel 5-Minute Crafts, is apparently an easier way to apply eyeshadow than using one’s fingers.

And yet it’s working. 5-Minute Crafts currently has the fifth most subscribers of any YouTube channel, nearly 40 million. According to Social Blade, its total of more than 10 billion video views translates to anywhere between $2 million and $34 million in annual earnings (the discrepancy here is from the varying possibilities of cost per impression). It’s estimated that Troom Troom, which currently boasts nearly 10 million subscribers and almost 3 billion total views of its surreal, pastel-plastered videos, pulls in between about $500,000 and $8 million each year.

this is the worst DIY i’ve ever watched

— yeah (@malicioustaurus) October 29, 2018

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YouTube is full of cringey, clickbait DIY channels. They’re even weirder than you think.
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