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YouTube demonetized my tuba videos (arstechnica.com)
61 points by DEFCON28 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 46 comments

I think Youtube creators aren't drawing the connection between media criticism of YT and the collateral damage to their earnings. It's easy to get mad at Youtube execs making policies, but Youtube is just reacting to bad PR.

Youtube has faced a series of controversies that led to the 'AdPocalypse', and now the demonetization of people with not enough active subscribers. The media has gleefully gone after Youtube in these stories (the latest being inappropriate videos from Logan Paul and the proliferation of algorithmically-generated videos that show disturbing cartoon content to children.)

YT creators should start pushing back---by saying wait, the algorithms and ads help small creators putting out good content as well, not just nefarious actors---if they don't want the scope of monetized content to get narrower and narrower.

Otherwise it's easy for the public to align behind criticism of 'big tech' while overlooking that these are platforms which people depend on to express themselves and even to earn income.

I know at least some creators are well aware of the connection. Many have switched to other monetization platforms (Patreon and Twitch subscriptions being two big ones) and written off YouTube entirely as a reliable income stream. (That is, they continue posting on YouTube, but mainly to grow their viewer base, not to make money.)

But I think you're right that a majority are probably only aware of the Adpocalypse in the abstract, if that.

One example of a relatively popular YT personality pushing back is Philip DeFranco:


The linked video is about 1 year old but he has made several comments about the demonitization process since then as well. I linked to the older one because the issues with YT accounts and income has been going on for quite some time.

Here's a pretty solid example of one YT creator pushing back, though I'm not sure it meets your criteria:


Of all the possible complaints about YouTube demonetization, complaining that you don't meet the objective criteria for how popular your channel must be is surely the least important.

It's hard to argue "objective" when those criteria were unilaterally changed overnight from "objectively meeting the criteria" to "oh look, objectively not meeting the criteria because we pulled the rug from under you".

If you have a financial arrangement with any company, and that company decides to change their policy arbitrarily so that they can justify not paying hundreds of thousands of people like you "because our policy excludes them", when a day ago they didn't, normally that would be various immediate court cases and no way for that company to win on any reasonable ground.

This is surely not the least important reason.

YouTubers don't have a financial arrangement. Nobody can produce a paper contract.

> YouTubers don't have a financial arrangement. Nobody can produce a paper contract.

This is false. If money is being exchanged for services or (digital) goods, then there is a financial arrangement, in the form of an informal contract. But it's still a contract.

In the case of YouTube, it would probably even be considered a formal contract since there are the written "Monetization Criteria", "Partner Program Policies", and YouTube "Terms and Conditions" that the creator agrees to. This agreement to written requirements is a "meeting of the minds" and thus constitutes a contract.

Yeah seems like an odd criticism. What about 2000 hours or 1000....or 50 hours? I'm not sure why the author thinks he deserves monetization. At the very least I concede it seems arbitrary but it's Youtube's prerogative what they do with their platform.

There is a massive chance to disrupt this market right now. But bandwidth costs alone make it difficult to challenge google in this space.

I don't think it's bandwidth costs that are the big problem here. People want a competitor that offers what YouTube offers: a way to get paid for uploading videos.

I think this service is fundamentally very hard to produce. For all its faults with monetization, it's not clear it can be done better (beyond toy scale). It's clearly not profitable to have humans match videos with advertisers, and computers are inevitably going to screw up, like in this instance. edit: it seems this case is just a basic policy issue, though that policy is a consequence of trying to avoid attempting to solve this problem for the long tail of small time uploaders. I just assumed it was another false positive based on the title.

Keeping advertisers and uploaders happy seems like an almost impossible task. Google may not be doing very well at it, but that doesn't mean it's easy to do better.

> People want a competitor that offers what YouTube offers: a way to get paid for uploading videos.

The problem is actually bandwidth costs; unless you're at the scale of Google (where bandwidth and storage is really cheap for you), advertising alone wouldn't even pay for the service itself, let alone pay the uploaders.

Do we have to have distribution tied to ads / monetization? It’s not true for the text content, yet here we are with the video, YouTube havving consumed it all.

I imagine a world where creators pay someone for video distribution, but also plug-in advertising from third party ad agencies that have learned to match ads to content due to advantages in machine learning. Same as text today.

It was tried before (remember Vessel[0]?) but never caught on, even with a massive amounts of money they raised and were willing to spend. Most competitors believe that YouTube's proposition is similar to Netflix. You get quality content and people will come. But that's not how YouTube gets its audience.

In minds of general population, YouTube is a search engine. The was majority believe that YouTube aggregates the content all around the Web. Why wouldn't they? The content shows up there minutes after it originates somewhere else. It's almost impossible to prevent it from gaining any traction on YouTube. Another company just tried to go against them. You can read how it went here https://vid.me

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vessel_(website)

I do hope that Peertube could figure that out one way or another. Paid content could boost the project a lot.

It wouldn't even have to be perfect like a lot of publishers usually demand, most youtube videos would be fine if the payment would simply authorize the user to stream and download the video as they wish.

I think the key is to take the advertisers out of the loop, removing them removes almost all of the issues that YT has experienced. I have some ideas how to do that, it’s the costs of storage and bandwidth that I can’t figure out right now.

it seems it s a huge problem - but there is ipfs and torrenting and platforms like d.tube which may actually be onto something interesting.

These sound like the words of a time-traveler from the CBS board room 75 years ago!

Youtube ads have a cost of between $.10 and $.30 per view, according to googling "youtube ad cost"

An arbitrary youtube video [1] is 56.69 megabytes (7m36s of 720p MP4). AWS outbound bandwidth, which I'm told is outrageously expensive, costs $0.050 per GB, so a single view costs $0.0028 to serve.

Seems to me bandwidth isn't an insurmountable problem - if you can get the mix and volume of viewers, creators and advertisers on board, and make $.10-$.30 per view, and you can keep your overheads for engineering, support and moderation low.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjKgPLeJ79Q

There is something insane with your numbers. Probably the .1/3 per-view (per 1K views maybe) but too lazy to find out.

You always forget the huge(?) amount of un/low monetizable content/traffic/countries.

Patreon is doing well by allowing creators to monetize without doing the actual content hosting.

They are still growing exponentially.

They are but I think that content creators want to have all of the tools wrapped up in one platform verses having to manage multiple platforms and accounts.

On the contrary; a lot of professional Youtube content creators prefer to diversify their sources of income, to reduce the blow when one of the inscrutable corporations decides to halve your income.

This post is about a problem with unpopular videos. I don't think the bandwidth costs are that high.

A 10 minute HD video is about 122mb. If that video is watched 1 million times you have to provide 122TB of Bandwidth. That’s just one quarter of the average pewdiepie video.


Facebook could do it if they wanted to. They already have the scale.

I can't help wonder if Google discovered that the banking and legal fees involved with paying channels that are below said threshold were eating their profits.

I suspect it has to do more with human moderation. As much as Google hates using humans for anything, moderation still has a human element. As low as the minimum wage is in countries with a workforce educated enough to do this unpleasant work, it still costs something. Drawing a line in the sand and saying "your videos are so unlikely to generate views that we won't even spend a couple of cents making sure it doesn't violate our policies" probably saves them several millions per year.

I don't get it.

Why doesn't YT just rephrase it as "you earned $1, but reviewing and administration costs are $10, so you get $0"?

Because then it wouldn't be "you get $0", but "you pay $9".

Wouldn't it be more sensible to have a minimum withdrawal amount in that case?

I can't remember the proper accounting term for the practice, but businesses do not like to postpone/buffer payments like this. These legally count as on-the-books debts, and no business wants to track millions of dollars of tiny debts, each of which may one day need to be paid out. Particularly when these debts roll over year-after-year across tax years.

I previously worked for a business where both the marketing and customer service departments handed out promotional credits to users like candy, without accounting for them. One day we got a new CFO, and a report on these credits was one of the first things he asked for. He sure wasn't happy to discover over $2.5 million dollars worth of credits idling in users' accounts with no expiration. While it's unlikely any significant percentage of them would have ever been cashed in, there is no guarantee and legally the business is on the hook to cover them.

> I can't remember the proper accounting term for the practice, but businesses do not like to postpone/buffer payments like this. These legally count as on-the-books debts, and no business wants to track millions of dollars of tiny debts, each of which may one day need to be paid out.

Is the term "banking", by any chance? This is the entire business practice of banks.

Perhaps, though it may be related more to the number of payments than the amount pr payment.

That's partially the point. Increasing the minimum withdrawal amount will reduce the number of payments, absent any increases in revenues.

Edit: later on in the article, it was stated that that wasn't the reason. Sorry.

FtA -

As of today, your channel, TubaPeter.com, will no longer have access to monetization tools associated with YPP because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

But, oddly, that copyright issue is not why they demonetized the videos.

Agreed, nothing to see here. He uploaded infringing property, tried to make profit, Youtube disabled his profit (for a different reason), he complains to ArsTechnica.

I mean, if it'd make him happier, Youtube can disable his channel completely for infringement.

YouTube only will go after "covers" if there's a copyright holder complaint, and allows many cover bands to exist.


Fixed now.

why isn't the US breaking Youtube from Google already? Not only is it dangerous concentration of mass media power, but youtube is wasting away its potential while also wasting the creator's time and energy

Why should they? Google itself doesn't make any media, it just provides the platform. And why shouldn't they be allowed to waste their own potential?

a monopoly on the internet's gates is still a monopoly even if you dont own what goes through it. They cant be broken up for wasting their own potential but it is possible they are using googles superior bandwidth infrastructure and ad market domination to stifle competition.

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