Long story short, I run a website where users upload their own content. Photos and videos. Everything is posted directly to an AWS S3 Bucket, then propagated out to a CDN. I have users all over the world...telling me their content loads fast. Good.
Until recently I was getting a few tens of thousands of requests per day on my CDN. Then I saw a spike in traffic and my CloudFront CDN cost exploded to over $120 per month. I only recently put ads on my website and they earn me about 2 cents per 1,000 impressions. This does not add up.
I've heard that Youtube actually loses money but Google uses it to produce original content and collect advertising data, so it's worth it to them.
How does any other site function like this, without getting major sponsors or deals? Is Imgur profitable? Vimeo? Reddit?
If you have any light to shine on my problem, I'd love to hear you out.