What Youtube keeps getting Wrong

So I’ve had a day to mull over the “Youtube” apocalypse… Is the third or fourth time this has happened now? I can’t keep track.

To summarize of yesterday’s events if you don’t know; a few big youtube channels suddenly discovered their videos were being de-monetized because their content wasn’t “advertiser friendly”. This raised a huge stink because for a while, no one really knew why this was happening or how much it would affect other channels.

Well, Youtube did come out and offer an explanation. They had enacted a change in the TOS of where in order for a video to be monetized through Google AdSense, it has to meet certain criteria. Simply, no swearing, sexual content, gore, or “discussion of controversial topics such as war, politics, natural disasters, suicide, general unhappy things, even if their is no video or images of said things”. I’m paraphrasing a bit but that is the jist.  So now, in addition to the lovely content-id bot, we now have a “Advertising friendliness bot” to scan videos to see if they are acceptable for monetization(If you choose to do so). Now there is an appeal process apparently, just like with content-id claims so it’s not like this lack of monetization … claim?, is a permanent one for creator.

Oh and this stuff isn’t new apparently. Youtube claims they enacted these changes sometime last year.

Right… So why did they wait until now to start enforcing this?

Well, naturally a huge fuss and panic has erupted over this with people claiming censorship and the loss of their livelihoods and what not.

Personally, I don’t think this is as a big a deal as the nay-sayers are making it out to be. There is no censorship happening. At least not technically. A person can still make a controversial video and host it on Youtube. It’s just unlikely they can make any money off it. Now to most, sane, reasonable Content Creators, this stuff will probably not effect that much and even if they do get hit by this bot, they stand a good chance of appealing it. Now the people that it probably will affect are the shock and drama video channels and lord knows that stuff has been drawing some negative attention to Youtube.

I can’t say if it’s Youtube’s intention to target such channels. I would be somewhat surprised if that their intent. If they really did create these policies last year, then was before a lot of this drama stuff blew up on Youtube.

However the reaction most people are having to this sudden enforcement is not surprising.

We’ve been through before. Youtube suddenly makes a controversial change and dumps on the internet and just plays along thinking everyone will happily accept. No discussion, no debate required. Remember when they changed the site design? Twice? When they forced Google+ into Youtube? When Content-Id rolled out? When Content-Id suddenly ramped up it’s enforcement with no explanation?

Youtube has no one to blame but themselves for the panic this situation has caused.

They claim these changes went into affect long ago. Did anyone know about these changes? Not that I know of. Certainly not before yesterday. Did they communicate this with Youtube channels beforehand so they can prepare and make their videos ad-friendly beforehand? Doesn’t seem like it. Are they providing adequate explanations as to why videos are being de-monetized by their bot?  Of course not.

See a pattern here?

Youtube has a big, big communication and customer service problem. To extension, this applies to their parent company, Google too. Repeatedly in the past whenever big changes come to Youtube, they do an terrible job of getting their message out ahead of time, explaining things, including people in the conversation of things that will affect them directly and then relying on their (Not as they clever as they think) “bots” to do the decision making and claim/strike/de-monetize videos.

I’m sure when their bots are doing an excellent job they proudly boast it to the concerned movie and music owners. However when the bot goes wrong and claims stuff that is within fair use, they claim their hands aren’t involved in the process and feign innocence. Why do they do this? Probably because they are lazy and don’t want to own up to any actual responsibility for when things go wrong. Such a very corporate thing to do.

Ever since content-id rolled out on Youtube and the various issues that came up with it’s mixed enforcement I’ve often wondered why Google/Youtube doesn’t include or take inot consideration the input of Content Creators on Youtube. They know the site best, you’d think right? They might even have a better idea of how to do some of these things than just the profit driven media companies and advertisers.

Is Youtube within their right to make such changes? Absolutely. But they sure haven’t been smart about it. You’d think that after the third or fourth time of this sort of thing happening that a light would go off in some person’s head at the executive table of Youtube and realize “Maybe we should handling this change a different way this time?”.

The panic and controversy is unsurprising. It just continues to boggle my mind that Youtube refuses to learn from these situations. Situations that it is just as guilty of causing as the drama creators.

But, this will likely blow over. Sooner than later probably. Will this happen gain? You bet your ass it will.

Some might be thinking that it may be impossible for Youtube to ever roll out a change without raising some kind of ruckus within the community. I don’t believe it’s impossible to do this this right. All they really got to do is communicate with the people that make their site what it is. Get them involved in whatever future vision of whatever YouTube is supposed to be. Give them time to adjust, be specific when things have to be changed and why, even when a video is taken down or not ad-friendly.

Be more human. That really all it takes.

Anyway, I just needed to get this out of my mind. This stuff doesn’t really affect me as I’d rather keep my controversial stuff here.




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