Youtube have rolled out a new email alert system intended to make it easier for content creators to know which videos are blocked from monetization, thus giving creators the chance to appeal the decisions via manual review, but the community has reacted calling it a form of censorship. Most notably, Philip DeFranco (@phillyd), head of DeFranco Creative who has 4.5 million subscribers and sold his portfolio of YouTube video channels to Revision3, the online-video unit of Discovery Communication. He started the hashtag #YouTubeisoverparty which quickly trended. The Youtube policy regarding de- monetizing videos due to advertiser-friendly concerns has been in place since Youtube began serving ads on creators' content. But the ability to see which ad was monetized or not was only previously available by checking the video’s analytics dashboard. Since Youtube is a Google property, this is simply an extension of the Adsense rules - you know the network that banned Adland not once, not twice, but three times due to the many bare bottoms in advertising. The problem with Adsense, who bought doubleclick and has its finger in pretty much every ad-network jar out there, is that it is essentially an advertising media monopoly online. If you are banned from Adsense, you are banned from everywhere. If you have a single video de-monetized from Youtube, well...good luck with that. Still sucks though, especially when it's your business plan to make money using a platform where someone else dictates the rules and can change them at any time according to the TOS that you agreed to when you began uploading your content to the platform.
Youtube: This isn't a policy change, its just a notification/appeal change.
Me: So before you were just turning off ads and not emailing us?
— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) September 1, 2016
In short: yes. Here's another thing you may not have known: If a channel has the Content Verification Tool enabled, it can't monetize any uploaded content at all. A common misconception is that anyone who files a DMCA complaint against a video on Youtube gets the earnings from that video, since the monetization ends until the complaint is settled. In other words, one could in theory "make a career" out of making false DMCA complaints on Youtube. In reality however, disputed videos don't earn revenue for anyone*, while creators of art, content and music fight it out like gladiators in the ring. To make matters worse, automated bots are filing complaints, battling the equally automated bots that scrape sites like his for videos to upload to Youtube. The bot creators may make a buck or two, while Youtube and Google toast in champagne in their yacht in Cannes every year. Lovely, isn't it?
Despite millions of content creators waking up to Youtube's reality, this new "advertiser friendly" alert isn't as drastic as the change in 2015 when Youtube tightened the rules of sponsored content, nudging creators back into the reservation prohibiting branded overlays from sponsors, unless they buy their ads through Google. That essentially forced creators who hosted their channels on Youtube into using only Youtube to create sponsorship deals. From Youtube's standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. It's their media platform after all, and ensuring that overlays don't clash with pre-rolls makes the advertising media worth more since no brand wants to show up at your Youtube party wearing the same dress as the competing brand.
What is interesting is seeing which channels are deemed "not advertiser friendly," as so many creators are sharing in the hashtag the content that has de-monetized in their channel. Makeup queen Melanie Murphy who shares how to cover up acne discovered that her tutorials are deemed "not advertising friendly." Meanwhile, back in 2013 National Geographic and Geico had ads pre-rolling on beheading videos on Youtube. And while makeup tutorials and jihadi beheadings aren't created equal, it's the latter situation that Youtube is attempting to end in order to still be attractive to advertisers. But bot-created piracy and random ISIS beheading channels can operate long enough without interference, because they aren't as lucrative, while hugely popular human Youtubers are far more likely to get caught in the arbitrary net due to their popularity, and other users reporting their content. It doesn't help the censorship claims at all when Youtubers who share opinions on controversial subjects - or political leanings - find they have been de-monetized.
— Melanie Murphy (@melaniietweets) August 31, 2016
DeFranco is clear on what he thinks about this move. "...Taking away monetization, it’s a form of censorship,” he said in a video posted Thursday. It is in the sense that Youtube are now in control of what content can be monetized online - because Youtube is more or less the video monopoly online. Everyone who watches Youtube, and hosts on Youtube has put their eggs in that one digital basket, like willing prey to the succubus. Pre 2010, I attended many workshops where "gurus" taught newspapers, magazines and even TV channels the ways of social and online media, charging an arm and a leg just to tell them to upload everything to Youtube, and Flickr, and slap a CC license on everything. Now the chickens are coming home to roost as former media empires have discovered that handing over your content to someone else's platform means you lock your income into that platform as well. Only now, a million other users keep creating work for Youtube like digital serfs, while they hope to be the next internet famous person. Though let's be honest: It won't pay for the majority of you.
Because popular Youtubers are great at joining in on trending topics with their finger always on the pulse and share buttons, much mirth was had in the #YoutubeisOverParty hashtag. Censorship was the overall sense people have about the new notification system, and jokes were made about using the word "moist," or changing the channel to only fluffy fun colourful peeps to be safe. Funny stuff that I am sure will attract even more viewers to each creators, as well as Youtube. Everyone wins, including the people complaining the loudest. But as we've proven time and time again, Google always wins the most.
But if you're really honest, you have nothing to complain about. After all, you were the ones who gave your content up for their platform. You're the ones who made them the bank. Youtube is now our content Ceasar, thumbing up or down as the crowds cheer.
— Luna (@Lunaa) September 1, 2016
Sorry guys theres no new video tomorrow, I accidentally said the word 'moist' and I'm scared YouTube police will kill me #YouTubeIsOverParty
— Sam King (@Samkingftw) September 1, 2016
Naturally there's concern that people will "tame" their content to ensure that they can keep monetizing their content, making a tamer, lamer, Youtube for us all. In fact the entire internet will be tamed when Google is essentially the advertising monopoly on it. How tame? Put it this way, one popular Youtuber discovered that his suicide prevention videos have lost their monetisation status.
— boogie2988 (@Boogie2988) September 1, 2016
* the "anyone" statement was only made in April 2016, if a video is still viewable and Google ads are still running on it, I don't see how Google or Youtube aren't making money off that as advertisers still pay per view or click.