The people who enjoy Bad Luck Brian on the Internet don’t seem to mind [that he's just Kyle Craven]. He appears at conferences such as VidCon and Indy Pop Con, where he sells T-shirts while wearing a different sweater vest.In the end, Craven is humble and amused: “It’s something to show my grandkids one day, right?” Craven says.
They look at the photo, look at him and squeal as if they’ve just won a backstage pass to the Internet. He takes pictures with thousands of these fans, and they tell him things like, “When my grandpa was really sick, I always looked at Bad Luck Brian photos to make me laugh.” They thank him, as if he were the one writing and posting the memes.
He has been asked to let people use his picture for advertisements in Germany, Chile, Poland and Puerto Rico. Here, he has been part of ad campaigns for Volkswagen and RealPlayer. He negotiates all the deals himself.
Between licensing deals and T-shirts, he estimates he’s made between $15,000 and $20,000 off Bad Luck Brian in three years.
Certainly not enough to live off, he says, “but not bad for doing basically nothing.”