YouTube punishes Small Creators

YouTuber Logan Paul recently made news by posting a video of an alleged suicide victim. The backlash was swift and unyielding, and YouTube responded with a small slap on the wrist.

But new changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) were announced yesterday to “better protect creators advertisers.” Here are a few excerpts from the article:

Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

The old YPP requirement was 10,000 lifetime views. The new requirements are much higher and affect a significant number of small YouTubers (just read the 9000+ reactions in the comments section).

We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you.

Which creators? The ones who are already making significant ad revenue?

They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone.

FYI, these new rules wouldn’t have stopped Logan Paul’s video from posting. And I think that advertisers are more concerned with their ads showing next to an “inappropriate video” with over a million views, compared to a video with 87. Why not address that problem first?

On February 20th, 2018, we’ll also implement this threshold across existing channels on the platform, to allow for a 30 day grace period. On that date, channels with fewer than 1,000 subs or 4,000 watch hours will no longer be able to earn money on YouTube. When they reach 1,000 subs and 4,000 watch hours they will be automatically re-evaluated under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies.

Why is it necessary to backtrack on creators who already worked hard to achieve YPP status? And are all existing channels that meet the criteria going to be evaluated as well? If you’re trying to prevent widespread influence of inappropriate material, why target small YouTubers when the larger influencers pose much more of a potential threat to advertiser relations?

Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month.

It’s true that small YouTubers aren’t rolling in the dough, but seeing that they’ve accumulated some money from their videos elicits an emotional response and encourages them to keep creating. Without the benefit of monetization, YouTube is isolating the creator community that makes their business model work. If you isolate your grassroots creator base, they will move on to other mediums.

While this change will tackle the potential abuse of a large but disparate group of smaller channels, we also know that the bad action of a single, large channel can also have an impact on the community and how advertisers view YouTube. We’ll be working to schedule conversations with our creators in the months ahead so we can hear your thoughts and ideas and what more we can do to tackle that challenge.

The majority of small creators have legitimate channels and videos, but we are getting demonetized to appease the interests of large constituents while Logan Paul and PewDiePie get slapped on the wrist. It reminds me of the Wells Fargo account fraud incident. Influencers make a mistake and workers on the bottom receive blame.

YouTube, don’t punish your small creators because of the bad actions of large channels and fringe groups. Monetization is what sets you apart from other video streaming services. The prospect of posting useful content and profiting from it is the lifeblood the creator community.

I still remember when I made my first penny from YouTube. I was astounded that I could make a cent by recording videos on my iPhone. Here’s to hoping that those same opportunities are available to the next wave of new content creators.

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