New Youtube "ad friendly" video rules spurs creative ways of bypassing them

We've previously discussed the Youtube ad cleanup, triggered by the massive brand boycott due to big brands appearing alongside ISIS videos, which meant that technically Youtube could be found in violation of US treasury department funding sanctions. But as we saw the Youtube terms of services content being tweaked we noticed that it means "no money for you" for small creators, and a noticeable trend of what exactly became demonetized was soon apparent. Was it ISIS videos? Nah, but any political news topic presented by a talking head or two was now quickly demonetized. Popular Youtubers were shocked to see their earnings drop drastically. Meanwhile, automatic bots who simply have a computer voice reading news articles from WaPo, NYT et al with a backdrop of Google search images are still being monetized - and their videos are the equivalent of Youtube spam. Google really is making the web poorer when bots can earn a living but people can not.

Google has once again updated the guidelines for what can be monetized, and among things that can not be monetized are, controversial issues, hateful content and inappropriate language. Things that are "incendiary and demeaning" can not be monetized either, "for example, video content that shames or insults an individual or group may not be eligible for advertising." Basically, I can't sing my old football teams chant on video, and monetize it because it spends 90% of the song insulting our sworn enemy team. Not that you'd want to watch that anyway. But as you can see, these rules can now be applied on pretty much anything. So which Youtubers are feeling the pinch? Is it the prank bros, who do dumb things like fight with fireworks, loudly protest when they're led off flights or randomly air-horn elderly people in Florida for heart-attack lulz? No, I see ads on that type of content still. Is it the homegrown news network types, those who have news shows talking to the camera, or with a panel, always commenting on recent events - which at this point in time, include many terrorist attacks. Yes. You see, YouTube makes sure you can not monetize "controversial issues and sensitive events", and explain what that is: "for example, videos about recent tragedies, even if presented for news or documentary purposes, may not be eligible for advertising given the subject matter." Obviously, this, and the bodily harm rule should wipe out any gory ISIS videos from being monetized. It may also put a damper on thousands of conspiracy videos and much of the independent news.

Naturally, this isn't preventing anyone from still hosting their shows and clips on Youtube, the only difference is that they can no longer monetize it. Annoyed with watching their videos get demonetized, and perceiving it to be due to their political opinion rather than the topics at hand, some creators have gotten a little creative in their attempts to bypass the triggers. Conservative commentator and occasional Rebel Media contributor Lauren Southern from Canada, who has made videos to expose bizarre laws and attended countless demonstrations in order to interview people there, is changing her output. In an older video, she showed how she could get an I.D. card stating she's a man with one quick doctor's visit. Yes, she legally changed her sex on all her identification with a twenty-minute doctor visit. That's Canada for you. Now, she's making 'ad friendly' makeup tutorials, with a twist. She rants about how history books have misrepresented Islam between applying eyeshadow and foundation, and at the end, she "slips" with her lipliner and writes "fuck Islam" on her face. No, the video can not be monetized, but her subscriber count rose. I'm sure she'll host a cooking show next, making bacon-stuffed bacon.

My only question is; why keep feeding the Youtube beast? If there is such a surge for this type of alternative reporting, surely these reporters could create a video website of their own and monetize that as much as they'd like. When we keep handing content to Google, we keep allowing Google to decide what can and can not earn money. We put Google in the position of owning most of the advertising space on the web, which drives down prices and kills smaller players in the field. Unless Google doesn't buy them first that is.

Comments (1)

  • Dabitch's picture
    Dabitch

    The ad friendly video has been deemed not ad-friendly.

    Aug 09, 2017

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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.