People often ask me why I never started a YouTube channel. Of course these people are also marketing folks who feel that YouTube is the future of advertising. They often also make decisions on review allocations based on who they feel can provide them with the most exposure. I get it, YouTube is a great way to get exposure and if the CEO of XYZ company can waste a few hours on the site then it has to be good right?. On top of that YouTube comes with public metrics (views) and a way for advertisers to gauge popularity of a channel (subscribers) so why not take advantage.
Truth is I have a YouTube Channel and even started loading some of the past Hardware Asylum Podcast episodes so I can share our silky smooth sounds with my 19 subscribers (currently). #YAY.
Anyhow, back to the reason for this post.
It would seem that many popular YouTube channels have been sobbin' like a little bitch with a skinned knee and shit. And while this gathers more attention than a car crash on the freeway there's nothing worse than watching a fuckin' YouTube personality weep.
And for why you ask?
They got an email saying that one or more of their videos have become unmonetized due to breaking the YouTube Advertiser-Friendly Content Guidelines. These guidelines include things like language, sexual suggestion, violence and controversial topics and is something you have to conform to if you want a slice of that YouTube Internet money Thing is, while the notifications are new the terms have been in place for a LONG time and has been enforced behind the scenes.
YouTube is an interesting and stupid place and intermixed with the junk is a few gems that actually produce some really good content. A few that I follow are Mighty Car Mods, Demolition Ranch and some of the stuff on MotorTrend. I also lurk a few of the Tech channels like JaysTwoCents and Paul's Hardware. They all have some good production value and every single one approaches the money aspect of their channel differently.
At the center of YouTube we have a CDN for video hosting. However unlike most CDNs they provide this service for FREE in exchange for posting some advertisements. Content creators can decide if they want to allow advertisements on their videos and in exchange the service provider can decide if they want to promote of bury the videos.
It really is a win-win relationship and when done correctly can bring in enough money so content creators can turn creating YouTube videos into a full time job. This job is not easy and while one video may go viral a channel rarely gets rich from a single video. In fact it is the culmination of their entire back catalog that makes them money and the more popular the channel is the more money they can make.
Many of the tech channels operate similar to a “review site” where they approach a hardware vendor to do a review. Personally I feel that video is a terrible format for a product review for two reasons.
1) It is difficult to fit all of the required information in to 15 minutes of video and have yet to see a single good video review of ANYTHING computer related.
2) Since the inception of television if you wanted to sell something you did it as an advertisement and that is what I see every tech channel doing when they talk about ABC video card or FCK motherboard. They are no longer reviews but ads.
What I can’t figure out is why people buy into it.
The other thing I take issue with is “Celebrity Status”. Funny story, I met with a contact of mine at CES and after some small talk she mentioned how Linus was by earlier and how she was star struck over him being there. I rolled my eyes a bit, mostly because: Linus, but I understand the feeling and have been there before with the awkward trembles while getting an autograph from Tori Black before she became a superstar. #yayporn
YouTube status seems to have some pull and many of these video creators are given free stuff to feature in their videos and often shop around asking for money to attend a industry events and trade shows. Much to my surprise they often get what they ask for and will add lame sponsor taglines to their videos saying "brought to you by [blah]” with no regards to quality of the video or content. (read: getting gold and delivering shit)
Contrast that with a traditional website (like Hardware Asylum) where I do product reviews and feel I do a good job. As part of that I pay for web hosting and have to deal with bandwidth bills. I also generally struggle for advertising dollars because: reasons and I also pay my way to industry events and trade shows. I also have to deal with manufacturers who don’t like what I have to say and the ones that are especially annoying are the marketing folks who like to critique my review as if it will make a difference.
I suspect the opinions for or against will be very polarized where YouTube folks will say I have a bad business model while I will say they are taking advantage of the tissue train over shit canyon. Once the demonetization process hits hard like it should there will be a flush coming.
What started out as a news post about something I read at Gizmodo turned into a full out rant. I will be the first to admit that I do feel sorry for some YouTube personalities who will be getting hit with the Advertiser Friendly Content Guidelines but, that is no reason to get all pissed off about it and complain to their subscribers. They should have known better.
I remember watching a few videos from the tech sector where they were talking about YouTube money and how their channel was failing because a good chunk of their videos were not making money and how another channel decided to manage his own ads because he didn’t agree with how YouTube limited what he could do.
These are several extremes set from a platform that costs them zero money. Sure there is time spent recording and editing but I guarantee if they had to pay bandwidth and storage for their videos none of them would be in business long.
Remember, the reason YouTube is free is because content creators populate the site with a medium which can be monetized. If the content provider refuses to allow ads or is uploading content that doesn't meet certain advertisement standards then they are costing YouTube money and they will retaliate.
Right now they are just removing ads so the content creator isn't getting paid but what is stopping them from removing the video or even removing the channel completely.
How does that old saying go? “Don’t piss off the guy with the microphone”