"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.He tried and failed to launch a general purpose live streaming service with Justin. Eventually he pivoted into gaming, a niche where being tied to a desktop computer made sense.

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Of course, anyone getting premium goods outside the partner program gets no cut. He tunes in to the channel of a user named Flippin Ginja, a red-headed teen and amateur gymnast who is lounging on his porch swing.

"Guys, I’ve been drinking too much water," he tells his smartphone camera.

Tayser Abuhamdeh doesn’t have what most people would call an exciting job. “Eventually I started opening up, saying random things, telling jokes and laughing at my own jokes.

He works behind the counter at a deli in Brooklyn, a small shop that does a brisk business in snacks, coffee, and cigarettes. I started to act like people were there watching, and that’s when they showed up.” Abuhamdeh’s routine was subtle.

His broadcasting schedule swelled from one or two hours a day to appearing live in four two-hour sessions. “I was using up around 70GB of data each month, and I’m with Verizon so you know that’s not cheap.” He was addicted to the interaction with the audience, but couldn’t afford to keep up with his costs.

So he sent a letter to You Now, which put him on its partner program, allowing him to earn money when his fans left digital tips and gifts. Cashier broadcast has several hundred people following live at any time.

A 99 cent tip sometimes gets a broadcaster to smile, while more expensive offerings elicit a personal shoutout, or more intimate reaction.

The company won’t share what the revenue split is between streamers and You Now, saying only that broadcasters in the partner program get "the lion’s share" of their tips.

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.