YouTube, the biggest video-sharing website in the world. Millions of registered users upload content daily to be shared with their audiences, new and old. From video blogs (vlogs) to trick shot videos, there is a video for everyone. For the larger YouTubers, after a certain amount of views, they begin to earn revenue. Ads are placed on the video, which earn the uploaders revenue. Some of these YouTubers dedicate all their time to their content that Youtube turns into a full-time job.
However, as of this year and potentially onward, the way revenue is earned has become steadily more difficult. Demonetisation has risen to become a YouTubers nightmare with a bot integrated into the server that automatically flags videos for demonetisation if advertiser unfriendly (This potentially means unsuitable for all audiences eg children). This has been dubbed the YouTube Adpocalypse.
This is dangerous to the YouTube community as although the demonetisation system was created to ensure that advertisers were protected as well as the viewers, it has affected the platform as a whole. However, due to the system flagging YouTubers who have been in the community for a long time and have a large viewer base and at times have done nothing wrong to achieve this result, it can prove fatal to their channel.
The Adpocalypse began roughly when biggest YouTube star, Felix Kjellberg who is also known as PewDiePie with currently 57 million followers, uploaded a video that contained men holding a sign that said “Death to all Jews” via the service of Fiverr, a freelance service marketplace. On this video were ads from various advertisers and although unintentional, their ads were affiliated with his videos content. Although Felix states that the video was “satirical” in nature, it still caused tremors that shook the whole Youtube community. PewDiePie was partnered with Disneys Maker Studios as well as worked with Youtube Red, a paid subscription streaming service, on producing original content. After the upload of his video and the tremors that were later felt, Disney Makers Studios alongside YouTube Red both let Felix go. This affected all of the content creators on YouTube as now advertisers were pulling away from the creators out of fear of the PewDiePie situation occurring to their ads.
The situation was made worse when YouTube star PewDiepie while on live stream with thousands of active viewers, said the N word in retaliation to getting killed by another player on the video game PLAYERUNKNOWN’S BATTLEGROUNDS. This furthered the tremors felt by the platform, causing many content creators to voice their annoyance and by some, hatred, towards PewDiePie.
A yellow icon was placed into the video manager in Youtube which lets the content creator become aware when one of their videos is flagged and is awaiting judgement on whether it’ll be taken down or demonetised. During this period the video will not achieve any more views and thus, the overall amount of views the video will get in the long run will be significantly lower. This can cause a content creators revenue to be much lower than normal.
During the period in which it is awaiting judgement, YouTube recommends that a content creator “appeals” their content so that the bot can “learn”. YouTube also states that “in the first few hours of a video upload we use machine learning to determine if a video meets our advertiser-friendly guidelines.” They also state “an appeal gets sent to a human reviewer and their decisions help our systems get smarter over time.” However, YouTubers have come forth and stated that due to the large amount of content that is uploaded daily, not every video is viewed by a human but rather a bot.
Due to the demonetisation threat that has frightened some content creators, in order to continue to earn their revenue, they have been forced to earn revenue in other ways. One of these ways is by joining Patreon, a platform that allows content creators to be paid monthly by their fanbase, starting at $1 per customer who signs up for that creator’s content.
With the Adpocalypse in full swing, I decided to write this post to voice my concern towards the platform of Youtube. With demonetisation occurring regularly and affecting most Youtubers (all YouTubers who have had 10000 total views on their channel will start to earn revenue), it may frighten new content creators from joining the platform. Perhaps it may also scare current content creators on the platform from producing further content for their channel and decide to change video-sharing service or joining a platform like Patreon out of sheer necessity to earn revenue and make their living.
I believe that if the demonetisation situation is not worked on immediately and resolved, the platform may be on its path downwards.
This is a sad and terrible time for content creators.