YouTube started the project in May but, initially, the only way to gain entrance was from an invite from the video-sharing site. Google, though, has opened the program and now any content creator in the U.S. or Canada can apply to monetize their videos.
A Google spokeswoman declined to say how many users originally were in the Partner Program or how many would be added to the expanded versions. She noted, though, that the size of the program has doubled since May and the number of monetized videos has grown by 10 times its original size.
New partners would be judged on "popularity of the user's videos, number of subscribers, the user's involvement with the YouTube community and the user's track record of compliance with the YouTube terms of service," the spokeswoman said. The program is intended for users "who regularly produce videos intended for viewing by a wide audience rather than those who upload personal videos to share with friends," she said.
More than 100 users have since been added to the new program, including Tay Zonday of "Chocolate Rain" fame, and several hundred more could be added in the coming months.
Videos on YouTube are monetized through semi-transparent overlay ads and banner ads.