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YouTube will now show ads on all videos even if creators don’t want them (forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier)
974 points by patrickaljord on Nov 19, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 758 comments

I know there are several content creators (such as Jim Sterling) that have their videos ad-free as a perk for their supporters (since he's supported enough via Patreon). He's pretty angry about this change.

I somewhat understand Google's stance on this, as it's a service that should be allowed to make money even on people who don't want to make money. They don't really have such a way to opt out of pretty much any other service of theirs that has monetization.

But at the same time, there are people who have so heavily invested into the YouTube ecosystem with certain expectations for a very long time, and pretty much have their entire business on there, so they can't very easily take their business elsewhere if they're unhappy with the change.

This isn't a 'Netflix raising their subscription cost' scenario, where users can just cancel their subscription and sign up for a different service. It would be a massive undertaking to shift their backlog of videos onto another service, and they'd lose all their existing subscribers and have to build it up elsewhere.

So in that respect, it's kind of a shitty move by Google.

This sounds like a pretty straightforward cause & effect here. Creators went for direct monetization outside of youtube instead of ads, and youtube responded by keeping their net income the same by just showing ads anyway.

> But at the same time, there are people who have so heavily invested into the YouTube ecosystem with certain expectations for a very long time, and pretty much have their entire business on there, so they can't very easily take their business elsewhere if they're unhappy with the change.

A key part of running a business is risk management & mitigation. YouTube has very obviously been an ad-supported video platform for at least a decade. Hoping nothing changes about your little ad-free corner of that platform is not a sound business plan.

It's shitty that Google didn't give a heads up, but anyone whose business is riding on this should definitely have been expecting something like this and had a backup plan. Literally free content hosting is obviously not a thing that will exist for very long. Enjoy it while it lasts, but you know also have a Vimeo account ready to go as well or something like that.

"Creators" went for direct monetisation because de-monetisation can happen on youtube for almost any arbitrary reason and there is almost no way to contact a human (as far as I am aware) to remedy such a situation.

Yeah, and I think this drives the point home even further. You really want a risk mitigation strategy for YouTube's hostile actions against creators. It's been a slow but steady creep. So, if your business is built off the back of something like Facebook, or YouTube, or Instagram, you probably want a backup plan.

I've seen a few YouTubers have a centralized site for signups and support where they host all their content. While the YT revenue is important, they at least have a way to engage their consumers should something terrible happen. This is BCP in a nutshell.

Linus of the Tech Tips variety has said that a major reason they kept paying for the forums, which are a pain to keep healthy & don't generate much revenue, is so that they could have a direct line of communication to their core fan base no matter what happens.

Similarly there's a reason LTT launched Floatplane. Risk management is important regardless of how big your business is. Even if you're large enough for youtube to assign you an actual person for support.

Couldn’t they just use Twitter or some other platform like everyone else?

If they used Twitter or some other platform then they are still reliant on an externally funded system they have no control over. It's not really a backup plan at that point.

Also I don't think you can build a community on Twitter anyway. It's just shouting into the void. They could use it for announcements (and do, LTT is on Twitter, too), but little else.

> Linus of the Tech Tips variety has said that a major reason they kept paying for the forums ... is so that they could have a direct line of communication to their core fan base no matter what happens.

Using it for announcements is precisely the primary reason they claimed to want to keep the forums. So in this case, Twitter would be appropriate.

On twitter communication only happens here in now. Nobody (almost) cares about tweets older than 3 days, and twitter UI "helps" with that.

> Linus of the Tech Tips variety has said that a major reason they kept paying for the forums ... is so that they could have a direct line of communication to their core fan base no matter what happens. Using it for announcements is precisely the primary reason they claimed to want to keep the forums. So in this case, having an archive of old posts really doesn't have much of a purpose.

Twitter and Google and Facebook often cut a person at the same time. So it's like backuping up your photos to another drive on the same computer. Better than nothing but not ideal.

Can creators self-host videos on their personal website and push that video to Youtube for their subscribers? That way, they can direct users who don't want ads to their website. Then they are not completely dependent on YT, FB, etc.

Self-hosting video content is either not very simple, or not very featureful.

You can put an html video tag and call it a day, but you'll be missing out on using the best codec for each viewer and bandwidth adaptation and (last I looked, hopefully I'm wrong) usable UI.

Bandwidth is an issue, although I've seen enough high bandwidth, unmetered server offers that I think it might work. Depending on where your viewers are and where you find cheap bandwidth, you might get poor performance just from distance, whereas YouTube and Facebook have CDNs with nodes everywhere.

Meanwhile there is nothing that matches the efficiency of torrents. I got some nice feedback from putting a magnet under the embed. People said: 1) I wanted to keep the video. 2) I seed it to support it as an upvote. 3) My computer is to shit to play embedded videos. 4) I bookmark your videos (and website) in my torrent client.

A seriously crappy PC, poor bandwidth an some noisy old disks is enough to host 5 TB+

If you even have a few thousand people regularly watching you (whcih is common these days). The bandwidth costs start to add up.

Bandwidth is the easy part for most cases. The software/operations requirements and the network effects are huge and crushing.

Not really. Good dedicated servers come with multiple TB free = 1000x 1 GB stream. And usually it's only pennies afterwards.

I've got experience for US hosting and they dont have great package prices like you're describing after the initial cap ime. 20 TB as some of the biggest caps then your bill is nearly doubled for 20 more. After that your bill would skyrocket to >$1000 in the increased networking fees and you dont even want to know how much unmetered 1+Gbps will get you. This will vary of course because short of being a hosting or tech company of size its not worth the cost, paperwork, biometrics, and time it takes.

So you go for a reseller which there are many stellar ones but they'll either utilize a program with the datacenter akin to an reseller affiliate program with them being the 3rd party support or do it all themselves. If they do the reseller affiliate program they cant really offer anything outside of theie markups on the existing offerings by the datacenter. If they do it all themselves then it becomes much more expensive for the upfront costs.

What you want is a VPS and a CDN which provides a better experience and what every streaming platform uses. Not that expensive either!

Without a CDN, the streaming experience is going to suck for anyone outside of the geographic proximity of your dedicated server

Where? Most place seem to get quite expensive once you add a Object Storage on top.

Hetzner $50+ servers have 1gbps uplink with unmetered BW.

That means the link can support less than 100 viewers at once on a video with 10 Mbps bitrate. Often a large portion of views comes in the first few days of a video being posted. You could probably handle the spike of views from a video that receives a couple of thousand views total (maybe even 10k), but more than that seems difficult.

Also, is Hetzner actually unmetered or do they claim they are with an asterisk?

I think it's actually asterisked. Iirc you get flagged over a certain amount of traffic, but I can't remember if they cut you off or just force you to pay more. I think it was several TB last time I looked.

There was limits before, but last two+ years it's unmetered without asterisk.

replying to Aerroon but it was too deep so replying here.

Is there a way to do it with some p2p à la popcorntime?

Then if there was a surge, the peers could absorb some of it.

Does peertube do that?

Peertube do exactly this. Webtorrent support it's main feature so you dont actually need powerful server for spikes in popularity.

Thanks I will take a look.

excellent compromise!

other replies mention the client compatibility, quality and bandwidth issues with self hosting but i think this can be reasonably adressed with just going for a common denominator on the self-hosting side (eg. 720p h264)

So how does this work for content that they decide to demonetize? Does Google just run ads and take the money now?

I don't know. They have already had "not advertiser friendly" caveat which is a way of just disqualifying anyone they like.

There has been several moral panics incited by the conventional media (TV, newspapers etc) about adverts being displayed alongside edgy content a while back. Several rounds of this eventually brought about a TOS change where they could deem you "not advertiser friendly". This of course ignored that Google does targeted advertising.

Some claim it is "political" however I believe it is simpler than that. It gave youtube an excuse to stop paying people without outright removing them from the platform which saves them a fair bit of money and doesn't quite bring the same outrage from the respective fanbases as outright removing people. In addition to that the people that have been demonetised have ranged from progressives, anarcho-communists, people doing ben-shapiro compilation videos and edgy boys and girls that tend to shitpost. So I don't see anything political about it.

They've also made it harder to be monetised on the platform generally, IIRC you can't be monetised at all and cannot receive super chats if you have less than 1000 subscribers. You also can't put custom thumbnails on your videos which makes it harder for your content to get attention.

> Creators went for direct monetization outside of youtube instead of ads, and youtube responded by keeping their net income the same by just showing ads anyway.

It's more complicated than that. Small time creators or others ineligible for the Youtube "partner program" have no choice but to monetize outside of Youtube. With this change, the only way you as a creator can choose whether ads appear on your video is to make partner.

The scummy thing here is that Youtube has made it harder and harder for creators to become eligible to monetize their channels, and now they're swooping in to take 100% of the ad revenue on those small-time channels.

Being eligible to monetize doesn't look that intimidating? https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/72851?hl=en

Not sure how many small creators both can't manage that but can manage external monetization?

1000 subscribers? You can sign up and make more money from 3 patreons than 1000 yt subscribers, what are you on about?

That depends on the amount of content you post. 1000 people watching a reasonable length video might only be $1-2 per video, but 10-15 videos a month would be $10-30. That can be more than 3 patrons.

Yeah - but you dont need to post weekly content with patreons, you can get by with monthly given the subscription, and tbqh you can probably do bi-monthly with many types of subscribers - supporting instead of expecting content.

Also with 1000 subscribers you dont guarantee 1000 views, just potential views.

Most people I know using Patreon post weekly, with maybe 2-3 posts a week. That includes 2nd-tier content like WIP and polls. Patreon requires a substantially smaller commitment, but it's more difficult to find patrons than viewers.

Even YouTube made $3 billion in non-advertising revenue last year which includes subscriptions. The ad business brought in $15 billion revenue.

I agree with most of what you're saying, but I worry that Youtube's effective monopoly means that there just aren't other hosting platforms with the same kind of user base and discoverability.

Perhaps their current pricing model is fair, I have no idea. But being the de facto video hosting site gives them tons of power. They have the ability to extract extra value out of their users---much more than a non-monopolized market would allow.

I'd agree if and only if this was some drastic shift in policy, but it really isn't. The headline here is basically ad-supported platform shows ads. Ads have been super common on YouTube for years and years, so this isn't really a big change in overall expectations & experience. It's not an ad-free platform goes ad-supported situation where it was subsidized to kill off others before showing ads. More a small loophole was closed, and only if you were large enough to even have the loophole available to you in the first place.

I think what we're saying is compatible. Youtube isn't really doing anything new, just putting out more ads. They're able get away with it because they have a monopoly.

In my opinion, they don't really have a monopoly. They have plenty of competitors. In fact, the largest user generated video servers are under facebook control.

They didn't do it because they had a monopoly, they don't have a monopoly. It was more base than that. They did it because they wanted more money. Which is their right. I'm not complaining, but everyone's putting forth a great deal of high tone reasoning fro something that really is base venality at its root. They want more money. They believe they can get it even though they are not a monopoly. Even though Facebook is bigger. And even though their users will get mad.

You're totally right, they want more money. I agree they don't have a perfect monopoly either. There are lots of other options.

The reality is, most of their customers aren't going anywhere. Consider all the times you use Youtube. Trying to find a music video, watching sports highlights, videos from your favourite creators. Can you switch to DailyMotion for all of that now? Are all of your creators posting their videos on Facebook? Even if they are, are the videos as easy to find and discover as they are on Youtube? For content creators, is there anywhere else they can share and expect to find the same kind of audience? Not really.

This is what I'm talking about when I say monopoly. It's true, there's other options. A creator can post their videos on Vimeo and host their own website to monetize, just like someone could have taken a horse and buggy instead of the new railroad. No one is forced to go by train, but doing it the old way is inefficient and expensive. n both cases they won't get the same bang for their buck.

You yourself admit that Youtube is a platform that provides you with great user base and discoverability. That's also the exact reason what every other platform uses to charge 30% (Steam, Apple Store, etc). So why is it expected here for Youtube to give away all that for free, and allow you to completely turn off all the ads making them zero dollar, while you are having your content hosted for free and making money externally?

You're right, they shouldn't give all of that away for free. They deserve to make money for their service. I don't really have an opinion on the business model, or whether it's right or wrong to force ads on all videos.

I just become worried when they use their monopoly to extract as much value as possible, far beyond what they need to sustain their profits. I think monopolies are bad in principle, and Youtube is another example, just like Microsoft was, cable companies are, telecom was, railroads were, etc.

> I just become worried when they use their monopoly to extract as much value as possible, far beyond what they need to sustain their profits

But I'm not sure that's clear. There's been a distinct increase in the number of in-video ads (Raycon, Skillshare, ExpressVPN, Squarespace, Curiosity Stream, and so on), which probably corresponds to a distinct decrease in Youtube enabled ads. So with that logic, Youtube is probably making less money from top creators, who have been skipping the middleman entirely. This seems more like a step to retaining existing profits instead of increasing them.

Creators not only moved their ads out, many have been using and advertising other platforms for a while now. Dropout.tv, floatplane, nebula, patreon, etc. have been getting ad-free, paid users for lower price than the current yt.

> it's kind of a shitty move by Google.

It's kind of business as usual for Google. Why would anyone expect them to be kind and generous suddenly when they have consistently for years pulled the rug out underneath previosly-free services. (or killed them off completely https://killedbygoogle.com/ )

gmail subscriptions are next, just wait and see.

That's probably the one service that will always be "free" since it's such a gold mine of your personal info

I wouldn't be entirely sure about gmail...

But search is the thing that is essentially free advertising space for them. So it's likely to stay free...

Neither of these are free services. You are the product

I have free grandfathered Google Business Plan, including Gmail, but on my domain. The moment Google decides that I have to pay for it, even if it's 0,01 € per month, I'll be moving to another paid service.

Why I didn't do it myself, pure laziness, but starting to charge would be a kick in the right direction.

Which other free email provider are you considering?

>> I'll be moving to another paid service.

> Which other free email provider are you considering?

I think you're talking past each other?

I switched to Fastmail 2 months ago. It's been painless so far.

Is fastmail free now?

No, you should never entrust your personal data to something free. They keep the customer happy, so if you are not the customer you can't be surprised if they don't keep you happy.

I've been on fast mail for 10 years or so. I'm happy.

How does their search and spam filter compare to gmail?

It's hard to judge based on two months of use.

With GMail I got no spam in my inbox ever (but still lots of junk email from merchants and political campaigns).

With FastMail, I'm getting maybe 1 spam per week that doesn't get filtered properly. (And it's always from the same domain so far so at some point I'll set up a rule.

For search - I am not a power user and only search plain strings without ever clicking on "advanced" to filter on specific attributes. But every search I've run in FM has so far returned what I was looking for.

Not GP but I've been using FM for about 3 years now. I can probably count the spam that has got through their filter in that time on one hand and the same for the inverse of legitimate mail getting caught in the filter (each time it was admittedly sites on the sketchier side of the net).

I can't speak for search as I've probably only searched a couple of times but I found what I was looking for so it's probably fine?

Gmail It's the one service easily replaced. If they go this route the internet will be a more decentralized place

Easy? Good luck replacing all your accounts and contacts using your @gmail.com email. You'll move to another provider but you'll need to keep the old GMail one around for a long time before you're safe deleting it.

Been using a different mail provider for 5 years. Just the other month google deleted my gmail account (had it set up to delete after a year of no-login)

It is quite easy to migrate:

1. get a new mail account 2. forward everything from your gmail account 3. sort everything GMail into a separate folder in your new account 4. slowly change email addresses in accounts and let people know your new address.

I think after a year I had 99% of accounts migrated, and can only remember one or two that I moved after that.

It’s a good way to declutter accounts as well and was made a bit easier because I use a password manager.

Also with private emails, if someone contacts me after 5 years, they likely know someone I know and can get my contact Info via them or social media.

Take the opportunity to migrate to a domain you own, because then you are provider independent.

I went the extra mile and create a random, unique email address for every single service I sign up for, so I know precisely who sells my data to spammers if I ever get any. All the unique addresses redirect to a central one for ease of access.

Often do that as well, but then: What’s the point. Company X leaked my mail, so what? Not much that one can do about it. Now I often group services, e.g. car rentals with car@ and food delivery services with pizza@

It’s awesome for filtering and sorting emails though.

You can sometimes remedy the problem. I went through a few aliases with Amazon, and finally found the secret option to keep my email private. (By default, they post it on reviews or something stupid.)

It's especially good for apartment searches and job hunting. Companies that try to link buyer and seller are naturally spammy, so you create a new one for each contact. Then when you find one, you delete the others.

It's also makes it dead easy to filter all that information into folders, so you have a neat record of all your interactions with the various companies you're dealing with.

Most importantly: once you find a job / landlord / whatever, you really want a reliable line of communication. This way, your address with them never changes, but all the spam goes into the bit bucket.

If company X leaks your email, close your account with them and block the address.

Also, it's useful for have i been pwned. One of my few accounts which uses a grouped address is in today's data dump, and it wasn't clear what account it was, because of the grouping.

I found it to be the opposite. Have I been pwned is very exhausting to check with dozen of email addresses, or can one check whole domains?

> Company X leaked my mail, so what?

Report them under GDPR?

I've been doing that through sneakemail.com, but it's a forwarding service and the domains they use routinely get put on lists that claim they're a temporary email service. Then you can't use them to sign up on some sites.

Still, it mostly works. I've got 383 aliases, plus 93 disabled aliases.

Most email providers will let you create aliases, but aliases are an upsell for business plans. Tutanota lets you get more aliases, but they charge you, not kidding, 5 euros a month for 100 aliases. 10 GB of extra storage costs 2.5 euros.

Some of them advertise using address+alias@domain, but that's basically useless.

Fastmail is pretty decent with 600 aliases. That's a definite maybe.

The only one I've found with unlimited aliases is TheXYZ, and they've been around a while.

I did pretty much a similar thing years ago, but went self-hosted. It took a year or so including the transition phase.

1. Set up incoming E-mail forwarding from mydomain.org to Gmail. Exim will do this, probably all popular mail packages support forwarding well.

2. Start sending E-mail (from Gmail's interface) as me@mydomain.org, and tell your friends to use that one.

2.5. (optional) Get your local mail client to work with Gmail's IMAP and SMTP.

3. Take a deep breath and change that MX record.

4. Block out one or two evenings, pour yourself some Scotch, and go through each and every online account you have, changing your E-mail address. A password manager helps with this because it's also the definitive list of every online account you have. While you're at it, you might want to use me+company@mydomain.com so you can tell which E-mails come from which company, and know who is selling your E-mail address around.

5. Wait until people switch over and the vast majority of your E-mail is going to me@mydomain.org instead of your Gmail address. For me this took a year or so.

6. In the mean time set up locally hosted E-mail at mydomain.org. In my case I use exim4+dovecot+spamassassin. Don't forget to set up SPF and DKIM correctly.

7. Pick a time in your life when you don't expect to be getting urgent or important E-mail, like you're not buying a house or applying for jobs. Take a deep breath, and apply the exim config that changes you from forwarding to self-hosting.

8. Ask all your friends to send you some test E-mails, preferably from different providers. Make sure you can at least deliver mail from gmail, yahoo, comcast, verizon, etc. Send mails to them and make sure they're being delivered.

9. Assuming no problems in 7, pat yourself on the back for being part of the solution rather than the problem.

10. Periodically keep your eye out for trouble. Audit your logs every so often to make sure you're not having trouble sending or receiving. I had to change my IPv6 at one point because comcast decided mine belonged to a spammer, but other than that it's been smooth sailing.

11. Decide whether or not to keep your Gmail account. I kept mine, but it pretty much only gets spam now. Maybe once or twice a year I get a legit one there from someone I forgot to tell I changed my address. I keep an eye on my Gmail to find out when there are hot singles in my area or that there's a new sure fire diet pill that sheds fat instantly.

I tried self hosting. And even with SPF and DKIM set up correctly my e-mails to Outlook.com (and assocciated other domains) was just dropped. It didn't go to the spam folder, it was just silently dropped. At the time I heard that this was essentially expected behavior for an IP without a good enough trust record. This even happened when I replied to mail sent from an Outlook.com account. Having my e-mail randomly not reach its intended recipient was and is still unacceptable to me, so I bit the bullet and paid for hosting on my own domain. And while I'm still not happy about paying for hosting that I have sufficient capacity for on my own servers, I have otherwise been happy with it "just working".

Exactly my experience too.

If there’s one thing I want an antitrust investigation to focus on, it’s the gradual monopoly that Google/Microsoft/etc have inadvertently built over “clean” IP addresses. It’s now practically impossible for independents and small businesses to run their own mail servers.

I’m not blaming Google/etc for it, but it is a situation that requires a fix.

Might I ask what password manager you use? And what do you do when you need to access websites from a machine that isn't yours? Also, did you consider the single-point-of-failure argument? I would like to know your opinion on that.

Also not OP, but I use pass.

If I need to access accounts from a different machine I use termux and manually type it in.

I'm not worried about it being a single point of failure (Data loss wise), as I have the password store backed up in multiple places. Security wise, I'm trading out my brain as a single point of failure for pass being a single point of failure. I trust pass more.

Not OP. I’ve been using 1Password for about 13 years now. I have the app on my phone and I can view the password and type it manually in a machine I don’t own. It’s inconvenient but it works.

Used lastpass back then, now Enpass with sync across devices (tablet, phone, PC). Regular backups of the Enpass file into a folder that is synced to my NAS.

Wanted to look into other password managers, preferably open source, but at the time Enpass had the best syncing options combined with a good enough user interface that’s suitable for less tech folks.

Edit: I mainly use all the things on my devices, and don’t try to use things from untrusted devices. The only use cases with untrusted are:

- copy shop -> Sending the file via share drop

- PC of a Family member -> manually typing password from phone.

Keepass with the password database stored in Dropbox. If I need to log in on a new machine I check the password on my phone.

I switched everything over to protonmail a few years ago.

I’m was never as invested in gmail as a lot of people, but it was my primary email for many years.

It was still a pain to switch, especially since i started fresh (no email / contact transfers). Now they have better tools to transfer email but after some thought, i wanted to start over with everything.

It did feel really good once it was done. It forced me to evaluate what was important vs what wasn’t, and it got me pretty organized.

Not for everyone but its doable. My guess is it took 6 months for me. I do have my gmail account yet just in case but its been a few years since anything important showed up there. I mainly keep it for youtube anyway.

People you actually want to speak with will learn very quickly when their messages don’t get through. Sure, keep your gmail alive whilst you transition yourself, but don’t leave it hanging around too long. The inertia will kill you.

Sure, you just set up forwarding (oh look, forwarding just became a paid feature in Gmail!) and then respond from your new email, and over time it will fix itself and you won't lose emails..

Definitely, the point is you'll have to pay Google whether you want it or not, if they make GMail a premium product. So it's not so easy to leave at all.

Fair.. I've actually been looking at paid email services lately, thinking that perhaps I would rather pay a reasonably yearly fee to have more guarantees and perhaps a bit more control over my email.

Search is the one service easily replaced. Took me ~5mins to switch to DuckDuckGo.

What do you mean by gmail subs?

Sounds like he's suggesting that you'll soon be required to pay for it.

You are already paying for it with massive crawling of your personal information.

Are there any events over the last decade that leads to believe either of these are true?

1/ if you're paying with money, you won't have to pay with personal information

2/ if you're paying with personal information, you wont later have to pay some other way as well

Monopolies (or near monopolies) like to double-dip. A good example of this is net-neutrality. You already pay to be a customer of your ISP, and for your ISP to provide you with Internet access. Your ISP stands to profit even more if they can charge the rest of the Internet for supplying that access to you.

Forget monopolies - the New York Times is a double dipper along with the long standing practice of selling mailing lists when a company goes bankrupt.

>So in that respect, it's kind of a shitty move by Google.

12 years of free video hosting with no ads and a platform for people to discover your videos is quite the deal.

They always had to add ads at some point, hosting video, and the bandwidth and transcoding that goes with it, is incredibly expensive, not to mention the dev time going into creating such a massive platform.

If you thought you could eat a free lunch forever... Well, I guess this is your rude awakening. But you honestly should have expected it.

The discovery feature of Youtube shouldn't be understated either. A large number of creators have most of their audiences because of Youtube. And honestly your example of Jim Sterling sounds like a smaller company would have gone out of their way to ban them. He's reaping all the benefits of the platform while giving nothing back.

I don't really understand bringing up the "hosting video is so expensive; poor poor Youtube being exploited by nasty creators" angle.

It's a symbiotic relationship. Without content creators, Youtube is nothing. Without Youtube's massive user base, content creators will reach no one. Meanwhile, Youtube is the one making money over fist (4-5 billion dollars per quarter), so I don't understand why we should feel sorry for their hosting costs.

>Without content creators

Without content creators who refuse to allow ads in exchange for free hosting, is it nothing? Probably not, most creators do enjoy making money, and most of the ones putting out content for free, but without ads, will struggle to find a competitor who will indefinitely provide free hosting.

>4-5 billion dollars per quarter

In revenue, not profit. Very, very important distinction.

I mean... you take the good with the bad to get the breadth and depth in your platform. You make a shitload of money on PewDiePie and nothing on Mieleman (sorry; I forget the name of the German guy who posts videos of washing machine cycles), and balance the two. It's not difficult.

~~Okay then, 15 billion in profits last year. I'm no businessman but to me that's pretty damn good profits with those revenue numbers.~~

Edit: Alright, Google search failed me. Searching for profits gave me revenue. Sorry about that. Profits are still secret, it seems. But the hosting costs won't eat the lion's share of that, I can assure you.


Well according to this $8.5 billion of that is given to creators. Leaving 6.5 billion for hosting costs, development, and all the management that goes with a platform of that size. About 2.8 billion hours were spent watching youtube in 2019.

...again my friend, that is the revenue number. Searching Youtube revenue 2019 gives you exactly that number.

> They always had to add ads at some point, hosting video, and the bandwidth and transcoding that goes with it, is incredibly expensive, not to mention the dev time going into creating such a massive platform.

This isn't about covering expenses that they couldn't afford otherwise. This is about making enormously rich people even richer.

>This isn't about covering expenses that they couldn't afford otherwise. This is about making enormously rich people even richer.

So you truly believe people should be entitled to free video hosting?

It literally costs money to host content. If you make the platform no money, Youtube has no obligation to keep you around. Just because I pay for my groceries doesn't mean you get yours for free. Just because one person is paying doesn't mean an equal numbers of others don't have to.

YouTube made it big encouraging that wide range of creators to come to their platform, then once they've established their monopoly they turn around and kick off the ones that are inconvenient for them. That feels immoral.

I simply stated that this isn't about covering necessary expenses that wouldn't have been able to be covered otherwise, which is how you initially framed it.

Are you sure? Google has been on a kick for some time now to try and ensure each product area is independently profitable. Up until a few years ago the status quo was that search/content ads made all the money, and every other product burned it in a giant furnace of endless massive losses. Seems they're now trying to get a grip on that as they're realising even search ads can't keep growing revenue forever.

It's entirely possible that YouTube has never been profitable. The costs involved with it are stupendous. It's far more than just bandwidth. Storage and CPU for transcoding, the enormous databases required for Content ID, recommendations, comments and anti-spam, all the private videos you can't even see at all, etc. Then there's software development costs to manage the bandwidth and operations.

Most businesses don’t give away products or services away for free on a mass scale despite being able to afford to do so.

But they're not giving it away, they're harvesting massive amounts of information even off of videos without ads.

What value does that information have, other than to sell ads?

>This is about making enormously rich people even richer.

Isn't Youtube still not making a profit?

> If you thought you could eat a free lunch forever... Well, I guess this is your rude awakening. But you honestly should have expected it.

just sucks & is such a Lucy pulling out the football move, that YouTube helps everyone & especially the very small folk, rises to meteoric heights/total monolopy, then won't let some small fry newcomers enjoy either an unbelievably modest revenue or give away an ad-free experience to their new watchers.

> The discovery feature of Youtube shouldn't be understated either.

100% a video monopoly. youtube has us, has us all.

Jim uses an interesting strategy to achieve ad-free status, though. He purposefully includes content from many copyright holders that default to claiming the entire video. Since apparently highlander rules apply, the system just won't play ads on his stuff.

The rules are complicated[0] and they say "If all valid claims monetize the video, revenue is divided by the number of claims except in special cases such as cover revshare and music."

So just having content from multiple copyright holders doesn't necessarily stop ads from playing. However, that policy also says "If one of the assets claiming a video has missing ownership information, the default policy action is Track (owner missing)." which "Allows video to be viewable on YouTube and tracks viewership, but does not serve ads against it."[1]

An alternative might just be to add some content at the end of the video which is not advertiser-friendly, which would demonetise the video while not annoying the viewers too much.

[0] https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6300781?hl=en

[1] https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6085494?hl=en

> I know there are several content creators (such as Jim Sterling) that have their videos ad-free as a perk for their supporters (since he's supported enough via Patreon). He's pretty angry about this change.

That just comes off as entitled. Youtube is providing free bandwidth, hosting, and advertising for his patreon.

> That just comes off as entitled. Youtube is providing free bandwidth, hosting, and advertising for his patreon.

Youtube has been promoting that you can do that since 2008 - https://techcrunch.com/2008/03/12/youtube-the-platform/ - so maybe "entitled" isn't the word. It's expected because the capability has been promoted.

However, in the same article you'll note this little tidbit:

In general if a video is uploaded to YouTube, in some cases we serve ads into that on YouTube.com. When people embed those we reserve rights to serve ads in the future.

> Of course, it is not exactly free. The videos will also be available on YouTube, where Google will make money from any associated ads. It is not clear how the ad revenue will be split, or even if it will be.

The article you posted doesn't mention that YouTube is promoting ad-free hosting that the creator doesn't have to pay for.

> The article you posted doesn't mention that YouTube is promoting ad-free hosting that the creator doesn't have to pay for.

The article from 2008 doesn't mention that butterflys might be appearing across the video randomly either. How is what they didn't specifically say (or imply) relevant? I'm not sure what you're trying to say here.

I thought the messages from that far back was interesting, which hedged toward this eventual practice.

I thought you you were saying that YouTube has been marketing ad free video hosting since 2008 and the article was the evidence of that.

I must have misunderstood.

The article seems pretty upfront that ads may be played on videos uploaded to YouTube.

“Free” means he doesn’t need to pay for hosting, and he doesn’t.

Perhaps YT should have a tiered paid account system - as a content creator you pay a small monthly fee (relative to the local country) to cover costs... say €1 per month for 10hrs of content? As the channel grows in size (and ideally, viewings), the costs go up.

It would certainly reduce the amount of junk uploaded to the internet.

Yeah should be - but the costs would be in terms of 100s of EUR per month, not 1EUR. This is why none of those creators really go on their own - hosting video is EXPENSIVE.

It's easier to demand YT to host the content for free.

No, the real reason they don't go on their own is because of the massive user base.

> costs would be in terms of 100s of EUR per month

Personally, I don't consider it a valid point.

It only costs so much to share some data because of massive centralization by the likes of Google and ISPs, and can only be sustained because of t sustained because these "subsidies" from large players. It's not technically hard to distribute some videos efficiently, but the market is less than 1/10000.

Maybe in 5 years it will be near impossible to host a web site without being DDOS-ed, but I won't praise Cloudflare for their now-possibly-not-free service, I will blame them along side ISPs.


These were the prices before YouTube really became big and were still the prices after they became big.

I've worked in video streamin industry in years and I haven't seen YouTube be the fault of the high costs. It mostly comes from the fact that videos are large, they need a lot of CPU power to convert and need a lot of bandwidth to transmit to clients.

There was a time when downloading movies took hours, or even days. Nowadays, you can stream via popcorn time for basically free¹.

As for CPU, storage - I don't think 10+ different formats at extreme compression are a hard requirement.

Youtube ads are good, as people will have incentive to use peertube and similar.

¹ You need some seeds, but they don't need Tbps pipes.

>There was a time when downloading movies took hours, or even days. Nowadays, you can stream via popcorn time for basically free¹.

And a willingness to steal...

For the record, argument was of declining distribution costs for content you presumably have the right to share, e.g. created yourself.

Copyright infringement isn't theft.

Illegal copying? Call it what you will, if you had paid for the Dark Knight, WB would get $5. Instead they get $0.

It's illegal and if everyone did it, movies would not exist.

If everyone that would have paid pirates a movie then the movie industry collapses.

If everyone that wouldn't have paid pirates a movie then nothing bad happens and people enjoy things.

Arguing one of those facts while ignoring the other one is a mark of a bad argument.

If everyone took the bus the car industry would also collapse. But if buses didn't exist people might take the train instead.

You can't just assume that people that don't use your service would be paying customers if a specific alternative wasn't there.

Youtubers take a 55% cut of ad revenue, which is about 1.8 cents per view. Youtube takes a 45% cut, but part of that is to subsidize the videos that currently don't have ads, so let's say 20% of current ad revenue is a reasonble price of Youtube removing ads from a single video.

For a video viewed a million times, it would cost a creator $6545 (.018 x 20/55 x 1,000,000) to keep the video ad free. I can't imagine anyone willing to pay that much to keep their videos ad-free.

Or YouTube could provide a way for creators to remove ads. There is a membership program so people can directly support specific channels, but it has no option to remove ads for members.


Members still see ads? That's incredible. I just naturally assumed channels would be ad-free for paying members, since that's how it works on Twitch.

Precisely. If he's selling ad-free versions, he can just host them himself.

"...and pretty much have their entire business on there..."

This is what I don't get about YouTubers. They created a business with basically only one source of income. This is bad practice in every business book.

I am a freelancer. If I only had one customer my business would be instantly over when they didn't hire me anymore.

YouTubers put too much trust in an untrustworthy business partner.

> This is what I don't get about YouTubers. They created a business with basically only one source of income.

More importantly, they also then decided to scam their source of income by getting money from other sources (e.g. Patreon) and are now acting surprised when their own data host isn't happy about not getting their cut of the revenue.

Reminds of a scam that cinemas attempted in my state - because the distributor wanted a % cut from movie tickets, they sold cheap tickets and then charged rent for 3D glasses required for a movie (e.g. 2EUR for ticket and 12EUR for the glasses). The distributors took their distribution rights because of that at all.

Trying to scam your most important source of revenue is just a really bad business decision.

How is it a "scam" to have other sources of income for a video?

The YT deal is that they take a cut of (ad) revenue to fund storage, cpu, bandwidth costs and profit in exchange for hosting the content.

Many of these content providers disabled the feature effectively making YT operate at a loss to host their video while continuing to use the platform.

I already have shown you other examples of these types of attempts which also didn't fly. You can't sell a TV in Walmart for 0.99$ and then have a hidden checque for 900$ in the box so you avoid giving Walmart their margin for the sale.

The problem being that "the YT deal" keeps being unilaterally changed by Google/YouTube.

First they adjusted the cut.

Then came the copyright strike system which stops the creator being paid and diverts all and revenue to the claimant automatically.

Followed by the adpocalypse whe your video will be demonitised for reasons only known to YT for being "advertiser unfriendly" with recourse taking so long you've missed the most profitable time for views (the first few days).

Then came the algorithm changes that decimated discovery which negates the huge benefit of publishing on YT (exposure).

Let's not forget just straight up not showing subscribers your channels videos (Remember to like and subscribe, and smash the notification bell!)

And each time YT reply with "I have altered the deal, pray I don't alter it further"

I can't think why creators would look to monetize their content with external sources.

The explanation I've heard from many of the Youtube "creators" I'm subscribed to is that Youtube have taken a larger and larger slice of the revenue cake on views over the years that creators have been forced to look to other income streams like Patreon, because they're just barely making any money on the platform anymore.

It would be great if YouTube let creators pay for hosting directly (just like other web hosts) if they wanted to maintain the ad-free experience for their viewers.

(YouTube monetizes directly with its viewers too: https://www.youtube.com/premium )

Yeah, it certanly would be great and it would IMO end up with a healthier ecosystem.

This explanation makes sense. I would only call it a scam if its against their TOS. Are these youtubers not checking the "paid content" checkbox? Or does that only apply to paid advertisement of the actual subject of the video?

Did Google ever offer an alternate revshare plan?

Generally I think many YT creators have multiple sources of income (ads, Patreon, merch, sponsored vids)--as such they have many "customers". It's their distribution channel that's locked up.

I totally agree, but there simply isn't a good competitor to YouTube, so they're stuck. I know LTT (Linus Tech Tips) have tried to divest their content so its available on multiple platforms, but the one they used that was paid and ad free shutdown cause it wasn't profitable. They've now set up their own I think which other tech YouTubers also use.

So some are trying to get away from YouTubes monopoly but many cant.

The channels do seem to split into other services on groups. Educational/explainer creators went to nebula (not sure who led that one), comedy/entertainment went to dropout.tv (from CollegeHumor), tech went to floatplane (from ltt), etc. There will be more of those and I can't wait to see who embraces/monetizes p2p first.

If their skill is to create popular videos, they did not had much choice. It is not like there would be other popular video services that would compete.

For many of them, it is youtube or nothing.

> For many of them, it is youtube or nothing.

Is this really true? I mean, there are hundreds of video hosting sites, is YT really the only way of making any money?

This is like saying that the only way to make your business sustainable is to get a reserved place on NY Times Square... are you really entitled to it?

I don't know about hundreda of video hosting sites. I know aboit two: youtube and twitch. I tried something else maybe twice.

I am pretty representative for typical user. Typical user turns on yoitube and only things in there exists.

Typical users aren't relevant here. We're talking about Patreon supporters, people who gave money to a single creator and want an ad free video. They can click a link to vimeo.

But they need to know first. Who looks for something new on viemo? Sure if someone points you to them you will look, but do you go there just to see if there is anything interesting when you are bored?

Patreon supportes dont come from nowhere. They come from watching your videos and hearing "support me on patreon" one too many times.

What are the alternatives that actually offer a better experience? Vimeo, floatplane? Serious question. Because I would love to start spending some time at one.

You too most likely have many single points of failure. Just that it may not have come yet and hopefully never comes.

I hear Floatplane is pretty good these days and really should check it out as the initial creators were more technical than average YouTube (Linus Media Group aka LTT). I have YT premium so won't see any changes but it's not something I'd advocate signing up for at this point. I'm locked into like 2013 pricing and am not touching YT Music.

This is definitely a Google push that will change the platform, I think. RoosterTeeth founders have pushed the whole "your content, your site, your store/etc" for a decade at least and though FloatPlane might be a capable rival as it builds more creators I think that is still true. You need to own your own distribution methods even if YT or another site is primarily where your views come from but that takes resources away from creating your primary content. Hard to do for a solo creator.

Can't he give out his videos to subscribers in a torrent or something? That way you don't need any infrastructure to get it out there.

Or use PeerTube, which is built on top of torrents but provides a similar experience to a video site.

It would be cool of creators such as Jim could start hosting their vids on Peertube or something similar. They could still post on Youtube--just also link to the other option for an ad-free experience.

Hopefully Goog won't bring down the hammer on cross-posting videos!!

I imagine creators like Jim Sterling would be even more outraged if YouTube asked for a percentage of their Patreon revenue or whatever they make from external sponsors.

They could let creators pay to remove ads from their video. Making Youtube like a usual hosting service.

> But at the same time, there are people who have so heavily invested into the YouTube ecosystem with certain expectations for a very long time, and pretty much have their entire business on there, so they can't very easily take their business elsewhere if they're unhappy with the change.

> It would be a massive undertaking to shift their backlog of videos onto another service, and they'd lose all their existing subscribers and have to build it up elsewhere.

To me this sounds like a description of YouTube's business model — one that works for other services too, because people go along with it.

So this seems... unsurprising to me. I'm genuinely curious to know what YouTube users were expecting instead. I get the impression some people see this as a breach of trust, but to me it seems like the obvious thing YouTube would do.

If let's say that google charges 1$ (or more, adjust yourself) per gb of stored video, or 1$ per 20gb of bandwidth use to opt out of ads, will it be better?

Speaking for myself, I would be willing to pay YouTube to opt out of ads. I post mostly classical music videos, which are totally ruined if video advertisements are inserted in the middle. (Granted, YouTube doesn't seem to do that to classical music videos quite as much as it used to.)

I'm already paying Vimeo for a low-budget data plan, and I only continue to use YouTube as my main platform because of the extra exposure.

  I would be willing to pay YouTube to opt out of ads
But you can?

No, what he meant is that creators can pay YouTube/Google to not put ads on all of their videos for all of their audience, not YouTube Premium.

No you can't, not as a creator, which is what GP was talking about.

nice name

They don't need to charge, they're making money hand over fist.

> It would be a massive undertaking to shift their backlog of videos onto another service, and they'd lose all their existing subscribers and have to build it up elsewhere.

Fortunately that’s not entirely true, IIUC — LBRY and BitChute can automatically mirror their channels. Anecdotal accounts say LBRY pays orders of magnitude more per view IIRC, and doesn’t decrease YouTube growth. minutephysics uses it and still has >5 million subscribers on YT. And failing those, it shouldn’t be too hard to youtube-dl a channel and upload it to a Peertube or GNU mediagoblin (here ’s hoping ytdl starts using git the way its creators intended and moves issue tracking to an antifragile mailing list).

LBRY's main stream page for new users, right now, is a mix of racism, conspiracy theories, and FTC-rules-violating infomercials. Why would I want to dip my toe in there?

For the inevitable moment when Google changes their motto to "be evil"

Hosting this video requires a lot of storage and bandwidth. I would not be surprised to learn YouTube alone requires $50,000,000 to $75,000,000 in hard drive purchases per year. Sure, they make a lot more than that in advertising, but I imagine every year those hosting and storage costs go up.

Why not implement an option for creators to share some of that load if they want to opt-out of advertisements on their videos? That way, everyone wins. YouTube gets money for the hosting of video, creators keep content ad-free.

Or how about paying $5/month for YouTube premium

If only it were that cheap. The cost in the US is $12/month which is ridiculously high considering their “premium” content is garbage as is YouTube Music which is forcibly bundled in.

I prefer the Patreon model where I decide where the money goes. Content creators pay for everything else, why not video hosting too? Then it is up to them what ads if any they run.

> But at the same time, there are people who have so heavily invested into the YouTube ecosystem with certain expectations for a very long time, and pretty much have their entire business on there, so they can't very easily take their business elsewhere if they're unhappy with the change.

Anyone who has invested in creating content and thinking that it would be the way it was forever is naive and has learned a lesson. Most 'old timers' would realize (I know I would) that any business situation can change.

Likewise I fully expect Amazon once they have killed off the competition to raise prices on many items. Sure they will have loss leaders and sure they are already doing it. But it's business no expectation that they won't do what is in their best interest. And this is not a 'shareholder' thing it's a business thing. Same thing would happen if it were a small pizza shop that decided to lower prices and drive others out of business. As long as no rules are broken it's not any worse than a sports team doing whatever they can to win the game. They are not 'in the business' of making it good for others to win. (Same with online gaming).

Easy fix, Google can charge the youtube channel owner for hosting their videos or just show adverts.

If you are not familiar with out google do things, They change terms and conditions and bandwidth allowances quite a lot. thats if they don't move their service to the google grave yard. https://killedbygoogle.com/

But also if enough of them move to a new platform, this will hugely boost that platform.

If they can coordinate their efforts of course. It is a big if.

Standard [0] tried that with mediocre results. Even some of the founders left.

[0] standard.tv

It's a shame. I really like Nebula as a service and I pay for it, but it's missing some small features that I'm hoping they get to soon. (They're a small team.)

The content is great, though.

> it's a service that should be allowed to make money even on people who don't want to make money.

Many countries have regulations against non paid work. If google wants to limit monetization for creators but monetize themselves there is something that does not adds up.

I was going to say, Vimeo directly targets the people that want video hosting, want to keep most of their rights and are willing to pay and have a more discerning or targetted audience. Just move to that.

He should have half the content on YouTube then in the end say "click here to view the rest of this video". And it goes to bitchute.

Hmm it’s almost as if G/youtube has a monopoly in the internet video space.

The main issue with YouTube isn't YouTube, but the lack of competition.

Well if he has all the hardcore supporters on Patreon and can communicate with them over there already, changing services become much much easier. Don't really understand the fuzz since he is charging for being ad free anyway. I would be more supportive if ad free ia principle hence for all the visitors.

The amount of support he has on Patreon allows him to go ad-free for all his videos, for everyone. It's not just a 'be a Patreon member and get ad-free videos, otherwise you get ads'. YouTube doesn't have any features to allow that.

What I find more concerning is many people will have uploaded videos with the understanding people could just watch them for free and then died. At which point YouTube is essentially monetizing dead people without paying their estates.

Are people going to need to stipulate in their will to delete all uploaded content to stop crap like this?

The estate as the copyright holder (in most cases) can pull down the videos if they like.

YouTube is not obligated to host and serve content for free forever.

As many other big tech companies they have a very strong position in the market (edging into monopoly / duopoly territory), which essentially prevent competitors with different business plans to be successful.

To me this sounds like the market is broken and warrants a critical investigation.

That supposes the estate is even aware of such content. Which is the issue I am talking about. I would be fine if google disabled formerly free videos until someone agreeded to monetizing them, but to just arbitrarily make that change means it’s done without the possibility of consent.

> I would be fine if google disabled formerly free videos until someone agreed to monetizing them

That seems worse? All these videos that I uploaded become inaccessible just because I'm not around to approve monetization?

(Disclosure: I work for Google, speaking only for myself)

If I had explicitly removed monetization of a video then yes, I would prefer an explicit conformation of the change. If nothing else to avoid confusion.

It is not explicit: historically, videos were unmonetized by default

Should the products of dead people not be monetizable? How about selling a Van Gogh painting?

If you own it sure. However, if you’re suddenly changing contracts after the fact that’s just theft.

What if a backblaze or other backup service just decided it the copyright on all uploaded files after 1 month of non payment and started selling people’s home movies as stock footage?

Ah I see. It's a rules thing. In that case it's fine. The ToS explicitly allow this after all. So you aren't really changing things outside of what's allowed.

This is like when you put into a contract "Party A may withdraw from this contract at any point" and then you withdraw at some point. That's playing by the rules.

You can put anything in a ToS, that’s simply not enough. Again, I would be fine if Google simply stopped hosting videos without consent, but behavior changes like this are different.

How is it different?

If you want to make changes to your assets after you die, write a will and hire an executor.

The living aren't obligated to negotiate with the dead.

The issue is you can’t guess every possible change. Let’s suppose Facebook goes broke in 20 years and the new owners decide to make absolutely everything public. That’s going to make a lot of people upset whatever it’s allowed by the TOS so that’s fine right?

If your alive you fight such things by suing the company, but the dead don’t make such choices.

For better or for worse, dead people (or rather, their estates) can still have copyright ownership of works they've produced.

As a content consumer I see this as a positive thing for me.

A few months ago when YouTube decided to auto-add ads on all videos, my watch time on YouTube decreased by more than 50% since I consume all video content on either my phone or my tablet (where I don't have access to AdBlock), and I find the amount of ads I have to go through to watch a video so annoying that I'd rather not watch it at all.

As a result I spend my free time on Coursera or listening to audiobooks instead and I log in to YouTube once a day to have a quick scroll through the subscriptions page to see if there's anything worth watching. Keeping the amount of ads in mind and the stress they cause me, I am more selective and will often not click on a video that I previously would. And I don't mindlessly binge-watch video for hours on end any longer.

With the new monetisation coming in place, I can see my consumption of YouTube declining even further to the level of Google - use it as a tool, when you really have to and not just for entertainment. And I welcome it! Just thought to share a perspective of a consumer rather than a creator.

On the other hand I do understand YouTube's move. After all, it's their platform and they're not running a charity - people often forget that it's not their birth right to use a company's product or a service without paying for it one way or the other.

It is superficially sad, but as you point out the 2nd order effects are really positive. Google has really done us all a favor by being actually more authentic: they're saying "We're an Advertising company ." (the period is said out loud). They are a tech company insofar as it serves their ad business. They're not a general tech company, and they have no interests or pursuits in anything else unless it is to develop new lines of ad revenue.

I've stopped using Chrome, use gmail only for dealing with companies (their spam), rarely watch YouTube anymore, and use DDG for search. It's _very_ noticeable how little targeted advertising I receive anymore. I have developed a whole new appreciation for my DVD and BluRay collection, and now feel compelled to buy up whatever is available while they last. Physical, own-able media is becoming frighteningly scarce.

I think the Google situation is a deliberate result of restructuring under Alphabet, and in terms of business it's wise. Google is about ads. Other companies of theirs will be about other things.

YouTube premium gets rid of all the ads, unless creators have embedded them in the video. There is lots of good content for toddlers on YouTube, but it is unwatchable with ads. I watch more myself now all the ads are gone, plus you get youtube music, not as good as spotify but good enough.

Cable TV started as paid ad-free TV also. It now has so many ads that it is almost unwatchable at times.

One wonders how much further YouTube can take this - it appears they are approaching the optimal point for extracting revenue from videos, so where is their future revenue growth going to come from?

I miss the YouTube of old rather than this commercialized version. To me, Tik Tok seems like more like the original YouTube than YouTube does.

I for one have become so annoyed with the level of ads that I have reduced my consumption of YouTube. To me, it seems like there is a much higher rate of advertising on a per-content-minute basis on YouTube than there is on TV.

> Cable TV started as paid ad-free TV also.

Not true. Cable TV started by simply sending a copy of broadcast TV over coaxial cable, giving the user a more reliable signal (better picture and sound) compared to a "rabbit ears" antenna, and access to programs from distant cities beyond the limits of good radio reception. That broadcast TV, of course, was a live signal which contained ads in the signal that could not be removed.

Cable TV also offered the end user a convenient box with a digital channel number display and remote control for changing channels. The user was able to flip among dozens of channels without having to fiddle with the UHF/VHF tuning controls of their TV: they tuned the TV to channel 3 (or whatever) and could just leave it, letting the cable box do the channel selection. Cable TV was a major upgrade to the TV set. In particular to a basic model or old TV with only knobs for channel selection, no remote.

Cable TV did offer premium programs also, requiring a "descrambler". Those channels were collectively called "pay TV"; separate from regular broadcast TV. These channels were satellite channels; the user could have obtained them alternatively by installing a dish, and paying for the descrambling.

YouTube will push the needle to the extent Cable did and a new platform will be born. It's the circle of technology. Then the next video platform will feel like the YouTube of ~8 years ago.

The maximally optimal value to the end user waxes and wanes throughout the business cycle, and unfortunately we're in the trough.

I'm honestly not sure we're in the trough. The value of Youtube is pretty tightly correlated to the amount of content on Youtube. While you could argue that the signal to noise ratio is worse, it's very hard to argue that there isn't significantly more 'good' (however you define it) content on youtube that makes it more valuable.

I find paying for Youtube premium an pretty great value, because it has some of the best content for any hobby I may be into. It doesn't have the pure depth of hard core educational content like udemy/coursera/khan has, but I'm really not able to consume that type of content enough to run out.

It's also key to note that had Cable NOT pushed ads as far as they had, they still would have been disrupted. It was a rational decision, since revenue today is often worth more than in the uncertain-for-so-many-reasons future.

It's part of why you can't rely on the market or competitive forces alone, if you think something is an issue of public good, you need regulation.

If they didn't show ads I doubt they would have cared as much about time shifting and ad skipping would never have been relevant. Sure would have helped them avoid collapsing.

Let's not pretend they weren't incredibly hostile to watching shows you're paying for already, when you want to and without the ads you paid to avoid, even though they didn't need to even build any infrastructure for it.

Add the rest of their anti-customer policies like bundling channels and it seems clear that their campaign to get rid of all their cable customers simply succeeded.

And none of that would've prevented Netflix from being a more convenient option that let you watch on many more devices, etc. Especially because the early hook here for Netflix streaming wasn't "watch the stuff currently on cable" it was "watch back catalog stuff that isn't anywhere else right now." So that would still get Netflix in the door, and then once they start doing first-run content, game over in the same way. Nobody would want to buy and set up Tivos or Slingboxes and LAN setups and all just to turn their existing cable subscription into a Netflix subscription when they could just buy the streaming subscription separately.

Sure, the cable companies could've theoretically made Netflix streaming before Netflix did - and the broadcast networks kinda-sorta-tried-this with Hulu - but that had nothing to do with their ad load increasing over time. Hulu was way more convenient than watching the same shows on cable even with ads still! But to go all in on a reinvention towards streaming would've been a huge gamble even seeing the streaming train coming right at them.

Those time shifting shows appear on broadcast tv across the nation in different time zones. They are not cable channels but broadcast channels appearing in cable. A tv antenia will pick them up.

The timeshifting is the tv stations defense of segmenting their ad market and protecting against local viewer loss that targets ads to markets.

If you in New York watch Denver's version two things happen. New York loses viewers. Denver gains viewers who's local ads are not relevant and those viewers not included when selling ads.

Sorry, there must be some overlapping terminology.

I mean time shifting as in what devices such as TiVo did where they would record your shows for you and allow them to play them back whenever you wanted. For some reason Cable companies really hated this idea, presumably because... ads I guess?

I think that if they simply hadn't fought against people trying to basically turn what they already provided into something more like Netflix, those tools would exist and be built with a cable package as a backend.

They provide all the shows in a datastream that they would otherwise provide via cable, let other people deal with paying for developing devices to make it easier to use, and price it more reasonably so that it can compete with a Netflix. I don't know if they'd be able to, but since they own the pipes and own the FCC it seems more likely than not. But they'd be doing a lot better than they seem to be now, they just priced themselves out of the market once networks realized that people would just download their content for free if it was too inconvenient to watch. Better a little than nothing...

The way I see it, YouTube is already being disrupted by platforms like Tik Tok

Youtube should not be watched by kids, it even has a minimum age of 13 in the TOS. Then what?

PBS Kids FTW. No ads, no harmful content, and (probably much) less surveillance.

Similarly, in Australia ABC kids (live and streaming on iView) has more content than any kid could ever consume in a lifetime.

Youtube kids does not have the age 13 requirement.

It still has occasional inappropriate or dumb content and surveillance. Also unclear what % of parents bother with yt kids.

My understanding, Linus Tech Tips did a breakdown of their revenue, is that Youtube premium subscribers get more money to the creators than ads.

With that, the day they bring adverts into Youtube Premium, is the day I stop paying for it. That would be them going the way of cable companies all in.

Indeed, I've seen revenue breakdowns from a number of content creators and each of them makes it clear that if you have YouTube premium, when you watch a single video you give the creator approximately 10x the revenue of a single free user who only sees ads.

Likewise, the day that they start putting ads into YouTube premium is the day I abandon the platform.


I had Youtube Premium through Google Play Music until Google finally axed GPM. I was so disappointed by how poorly Google handled that process that I cancelled my subscription and lost my YT premium.

Youtube is completely unbearable without premium - I have no idea how non-subscribers tolerate Youtube content. The ads are so intrusive. I would totally pay $5-$10 per month for a Youtube only subscription but I feel like the $18/mo for a family plan is a bit steep.

FYI, YouTube Music received almost every feature of Google Play Music except the app design. An in-depth review of the two can be found over here: https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/10/24/google-play-music-t...

Personally I wish all these music streaming services could agree on metadata sharing such that I could enable apps like last.fm to review listening history across every service, and offer my listening history and playlists to every service to receive better recommendations. It feels odd that I can listen to the same song from 4-5 different services that I subscribe to legally, yet none of the services has a complete picture of what I like to listen to unless I pick one and use it as often as I can. I had thought that playlist sync would be a way to improve my recommendations, but it seems most services look at listening history rather than playlists. It's also irritating that every company has its own way of doing playback sync between devices, whether it's AirPlay, ChromeCast, Spotify Connect, Alexa, YouTube app, etc. There is no way things should be this fractured and hard to use for music playback and recommendation in the next decade, we need more standards. :)

Youtube Music's handling of my uploaded music is really poor compared to GPM (sectioned off from everything else), so that alone was enough to make me dump my subscription when GPM was shut down.

Now I run my own Plex server on a Raspberry Pi with an external drive and get a better experience than I had before, minus discovery.

I actually prefer the way YTM segments my uploads from the general catalog, as it gives me some possibly unfounded confidence in the idea that I'm going to be listening to the edition I expect, and not something like a 20th anniversary re-release with 15 extra tracks. GPM has this really bad problem where their treatment of my uploads was seriously broken and I would see, just as one example, multiple copies of every track on one album. I don't see this since the YTM conversion.

Exactly, I'd pay for Youtube Premium if it didn't come bundled with a music subscription, and the price reflected that.

There's no good content for toddlers on youtube. Toddlers shouldn't be watching anything.

I recently found this and use it to get and retain all the videos I like (not just from youtube), it's super simple which is exactly why I like it: https://github.com/tomszilagyi/copycat

How is the mobile experience for YT Music? Looking at switching, I imagine they have the desktop experience down. I love Spotify, but I can't imagine a worse experience outside of their mobile app. The web player was nice but fails to load music two-three times per listening session (to be fair, they are usually 5-8hrs), the desktop application is slow, clunky, and will regularly not play music I have downloaded.

I hated it initially, but am fine with it now.

When YTM is better than GPM:

1/ Auto-created playlists, especially after you just search for a song and hit play. On GPM, it would play different covers on the same song (basically all the search results) by default, unless you started a radio, which is a cool concept but was hit and miss in practice. On YTM, it continues with similar songs, and I have liked their selection so far.

2/ The library seems to have increased; I guess they have access to more songs that were YT exclusive for some reason.

3/ While I normally never use video mode on YTM, but once in a while for a cool song, it's nice to be able to seamlessly switch to video and cast to my TV.

On the cons side, I don't like the playlist management and home screen UI (which is what I hated initially), but it's not bothering me much anymore now that I am getting used to it I guess.

Initially, I had planned to just cancel the subscription, but held on because using YouTube with ads was just plain intolerable. I get reminded of this everytime I open a Youtube link on my work account Chrome profile by mistake.

+1 on that last issue. I don't understand why Google doesn't include ad-free YouTube as part of a perk for using Google Workspace. Also I wish I could tell Chrome to open some links in other profiles at all times, and only those links, kind of like Firefox might do. Actually, come to think of it, I probably use Chrome too much and should try alternatives instead.

YouTube Music is so bad I shut down my use of Google for music, unplugged my Google home devices, and migrated to Alexa. Amazon Music is worse than Google Music, but better than YouTube Music.

There's a wide open market for a good music streaming company that integrates with your own albums, that is corporately stable enough not to dissipate after "An Incredible Journey Together". All the different services have weird lockins and major gaps, whether it be uploads, mobile app limitations, interop, etc.

Truly painful. On iOS it regularly fails to keep playing the next song in a playlist, which is pretty much unforgivable for a music app.

Here's a longer list of grievances from users who were forced to migrate from Google Play Music: https://www.reddit.com/r/googleplaymusic/comments/icmwdf/one...

There are three deal breakers for me.

1) You can't organize Albums by artist. 2) Your Youtube (video) likes are included in the pool of liked songs in the music app. 3) Artists you are subscribed to in the music app are included in your Youtube (video) subscriptions.

Vanced YouTube also gets of rid all the ads and doesn't involve giving money to Google.

Oh, and of course uBlock Origin works fine on proper computers too.

I can't believe that you actually decided to be held hostage by google and pay them to remove content that they would otherwise only put in front of you if you were looking. Its like paying a restaurant not to harass you and then going to it when you could just go to the restaurant next door without the protection fee. There is also a lot of good content for toddlers IRL.

> Its like paying a restaurant not to harass you and then going to it when you could just go to the restaurant next door without the protection fee.

No, it's like paying the restaurant for the damn food. YouTube hosting all the world's videos forever is not a god given right, nor is being able to watch content people create for free.

I despise ads, absolutely despise them, but gladly pay YouTube the $15/mo to remove them because I know good content needs to be paid for one way or another. There's still a few channels that I like that put in ads during the videos and that's still annoying, but otherwise I never see an ad.

And this is fucking fantastic! Imagine if the web as a whole adopted this. (I know there are efforts including Google's) If I could pay $10/mo to get rid of all ads (explicit and implicit) and have that go towards the creators that I consume content for, then we'd be in a much better place. (imagine if FB just got a cut of that for example, how that would change the dynamics)

I disagree that it is like it is paying for the food. If I had youtube premium and my entire $10 went to only the creators of the videos I watched using some egalitarian algorithm, then I would be into it. However, it is actually more like Spotify where some portion of my $10 (lets say $7, even though it is probably lower) gets put into a large pool and then distributed among all content creators on the site along with everyone else's premium money.

I have a patreon which I budget $20/mo to actually pay the creators that I care about. Don't kid yourself into thinking your YT premium money is going anywhere except unboxing videos and Minecraft screaming videos and the like.

Do you have any source on how they distribute payments? All I can find is this blurb which could be read lots of different ways (likely by design):

"Currently, new revenue from YouTube Premium membership fees is distributed to video creators based on how much members watch your content. As with our advertising business, most of the revenue will go to creators."

I support some creators via Patreon as well, but honestly that's just more work for me as my interests change and some months I don't consume any of their content.

I imagine the truth is that it is likely something Spotify-like or some variation thereof. I'm still ok with that and YouTube does make it explicit that the majority of my sub goes towards creators. FWIW I suspect there are some reasons that are subtle, bug valid, that Spotify for example distributes subscription fees the way it does, which I agree does seem kinda BS at first blush.

edit: some anecdotal info here saying that creators are indeed paid (handsomly) based on views: https://www.reddit.com/r/youtube/comments/9agg5f/how_does_yo...

I don't think Spotify is any different here: money goes to creators/artists in proportion to watch/listen time, no?

> held hostage by google... Its like paying a restaurant not to harass you...

This level of entitlement is just staggering. You can pay for YouTube in two ways; watch adds or pay for add free.

Now, I get that the price for watching adds right now is too high. It simply ruins most content. But your metaphors are still just way out there.

In reality there are now 3 "tiers". - Premium. Pay with money. - Get a free taste. Choose if you want it. - Unwatchable content.

I don't think that is going to work out for YouTube in the long run. But shaming people for being willing to pay for actual loads and loads of quality content is not constructive.

On the other hand, I _am_ glad if this means that random, prudish advertising companies will hold less sway over YouTube at some point in the future, where subscriptions make up a bigger part of the revenue.

You can't "pay" by watching ads. Watching ads is a harmful and non-productive activity, so it's impossible to be obligated to do it.

If you don't want to watch ads you can always do something else. There's no shortage of things to do, and YouTube need not be high on your list.

Of course I could, but why should I? Ad blockers work fine.

That’s good too: just because they sent you some bit doesn’t mean you are obligated to read (/watch/parse/etc) them.

I pay $15 / month for the youtube music family plan. That includes ad free youtube and ad free youtube kids.

Youtube kids (with proper video/channel whitelisting) is the main thing my toddlers watch. It has BBC shows (peppa pig), PBS kids, and 2 great kid friendly content crators (Blippi and Steve and Maggie).

Of course there is lots of good "IRL" kids content, but propery setup, Youtube kids is pretty good and fairly priced in my opinion.

Most content is unbearable with Ads so I pay as I do every other entertainment service that I want to spend my time watching. With YouTube most of the revenue (55%) go to the creator which I'm also happy to support.

IMO it's a net positive that it has created new business models that's open to anyone with a camera/mobile.

One could argue that all good content for toddlers is IRL and none of the content on yt.

Paying for content instead of being fed ads doesn’t seem unbelievable to me.

On the other hand, the method employed by YouTube is just akin to its contents. 90% BS.

> decided to be held hostage by google and pay them to remove content that they would otherwise only put in front of you if you were looking. Its like paying a restaurant not to harass you and then going to it when you could just go to the restaurant next door without the protection fee.

Unclear why the attitude. Youtube is a business. It doesn't owe users anything for free regardless of what it did in the past or others have done.

Restaurants? You pay them to dine there. They operate at a profit or try to. And restaurants who offer either (or both) better food or experience get to charge more like any other product or service in life.

Sure google or any business does not exist to provide free things to people.

Actually, it's about paying for service received. You pay by ads or you pay by wallet.

Paying a fee to disable ads is not new. I've done it so many times before, starting ages ago with Salon.com and continuing on into Patreon-supported podcasts. Why not for YouTube as well?

The best reason I can think of is becasue of this effect: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2012/07/13/156737801/the-...

> They are a tech company insofar as it serves their [sales] business. They're not a general tech company, and they have no interests or pursuits in anything else unless it is to develop new lines of [sales] revenue.

What's the difference from product-driven or subscription-driven tech businesses?

Who pays.

All companies ultimately are responsive to the wants and needs of their paying customers, within the limits of legality and physics. Do not underestimate how important it is that Google’s paying customers are ad buyers, not you.

And why would they not also be responsive to the wants and the needs of the customers who look at the ads, without which the model would not be profitable?

They had to create a service people want to use in order to be able to put ads on it.

They are responsive. They'll push ads at them to the limit of their endurance, then back off a smidgen and call it good.

And isn't that the same story in any business? They'll raise costs to the limit of customers' endurance, or else reduce quality to compensate?

If there is a problem then the problem is Google. I don't think this can be blamed on just the ad-driven profit model.

Not a business that is purportedly just a publisher. The channel creators were told they could choose their ad model. That was contradicted by this decision.

Imagine your letter carrier started stamping Aunt Agatha's letters with car ads or whatever.

The USPS is ad supported. They invented spam.

Aunt Agatha's letter is ended by junk mail.

If non customer complaints and responses threaten the ability of the organization to sell to their actual customers, they will respond. Short of that line, the business is not going to be responsive to non-customer complaints.

This is particularly relevant for subscription vs. ad companies, because both of these companies have different kinds of “non customers”. For a subscription company non-customers can be induced to convert into customers via sales, advertising, and features. So for these companies non customers are all potential future customers who should be listened to some. For companies like Google they serve an entire different class of customers. As an individual there is literally nothing you can do to become a Google customer; so unless if your complaints interfere with Google’s ability to sell your attention to their actual customers, then they have zero reason to care about your opinion.

> unless your complaints interfere with [their bottom line], then they have zero reason to care about your opinion

Again, how are the incentives any different whether or not the business is funded by advertising?

Just like how Google knows that a user with a complaint isn't necessarily going to stop using their services and looking at their ads, Apple (for example) knows that a user with a complaint isn't necessarily going to stop buying iPhones.

In that sense I don't see why a "customer" who is paying in ad impressions is any less of a "customer" than one who is paying in cash.

> Apple knows that a user with a complaint isn’t necessarily going to stop buying iPhones.

Nonsense. People switch to android all the time. Apple’s sales depend wholly on continuing to meet the needs of their customers and providing perceived value. If they fell behind Android in perceived value, or stopped producing what their paying customers want they would lose money. Relatively high switching costs dampens this a bit, but there’s no magic that keeps Apple customers buying apple products.

> I don’t see why a “customer” who is paying in ad impressions is any less of a “customer” than one who is paying in cash.

A “customer” who pays in ad impressions is, quite literally, not a customer. They’re a user, at best. The customer is the person who pays the business for a good or service, which in this case is the ad buyer. Google will try to make you happy insofar as it helps them get more money from their paying customers, but the moment there’s a conflict between between the needs of their users and the needs of their customers, the paying customers will always win.

Put more brutally, your relationship with Google has more in common with a cow’s relationship with Nike than a shoe owner’s relationship with Nike. Your attention is the product, as much as the cow’s leather is. Just as we don’t confuse good animal husbandry with a genuine interest in the cow’s long term well being, don’t confuse Google offering features & products as an interest in your productivity and/or happiness.

> there’s no magic that keeps Apple customers buying apple products.

So then what's the magic that keeps Google users using Google products if they stop producing what their non-paying, but ad-watching customers want?

If the answer is "anticompetitive practices", I don't deny that at all, but that has nothing to do with advertising as a revenue model. Just look at Microsoft, they have long been the champions of anticompetitive behaviour and yet they didn't really use advertising as a revenue model until recently.

> Google will try to make you happy insofar as it helps them get more money from their paying customers, but the moment there’s a conflict between between the needs of their users and the needs of their customers, the paying customers will always win.

The needs of the users are the needs of the paying customers, that is what I am saying. Without the users there is no opportunity to have paying customers, period.

> your relationship with Google has more in common with a cow’s relationship with Nike than a shoe owner’s relationship with Nike.

No, that is a totally misleading analogy and I think it perfectly demonstrates what is wrong with this argument. Users choose to use Google products in exchange for ad impressions.

> So then what's the magic that keeps Google users using Google products if they stop producing what their non-paying, but ad-watching customers want?

Free is one hell of a competitive advantage. And again, Google does enough to keep the customers coming back as much as the rancher does to help the cow grow. The rubber really hits the road when you consider customer's need for say, privacy.

Or, try and get Google to help you out if your account gets locked. Good luck. Now if you're having issues with your ad account, they'll happily hop on the phone to figure it out with you....

> The needs of the users are the needs of the paying customers, that is what I am saying. Without the users there is no opportunity to have paying customers, period.

An overlap in requirements is not the same thing as being the same thing. For a short while, the rancher meets the cows needs too.

> Users choose to use Google products in exchange for ad impressions.

Unclear. Users choose Google products because they're free, it's not obvious if they fully understand the implications of that, or if they see that they have a meaningful choice.

I use one streaming service, but always buy a CD when I like something. So many times I had no network connection and got stuck without anything to listen to. Streaming service had offline option, but couldn't play anything as it needed to check keys, which makes offline pointless. Sadly not all music is available in physical format.

Reddit recently limited the number of comments you can read in Safari on iOS devices. Click "more" and you are prompted to create an account or go to their app.

It's been fantastic. Reddit comments decrease rapidly in quality anyway, but I was unable to look away. Now I'm capped - one or two scrolls and I have to go find something more rewarding to do. Thanks reddit!

I had an iPHone for a few months and noticed my reddit time dropped considerably. Part of it was because iPhone (or Reddit? I don't even know who is to blame here) wouldn't let me choose the reddit app I wanted as the default. If a friend sent a reddit link to me it'd try and open in Safari and I'd get annoyed and just ignore it.

I'm back on Android now where I can choose default apps and now if a friend sends a link, I click it and read it, then I click over to the homepage, then 20 minutes goes by as I mindlessly scroll. It's a blessing and a curse to be able to use your phone the way you want to, I guess.

I browse Reddit on iPhone with Apollo. Free account, so can't post but can read anything there, and no ads. If they mess that up too, I'll give up on Reddit for the iPhone.

The integration in iOS is a bit different. With e.g. Apollo installed, you need to "Share" the Reddit page from Safari with the "Open in Apollo" target and it'll open in Apollo.

I only read reddit when a search engine tells me that the answer to a question is there. Sometimes I'm annoyed that I can't read further into a thread... but I tell myself that anything in the weeds probably won't be a great answer to my question anyway. If only search engines had voluntary "I found / didn't find what I was looking for" feedback instead of clickjacking trackers...

If you switch to old.reddit, you can see the entire thread without signup prompts. For now, at least.

A tech news website started limiting the length of RSS versions of their articles.

Major improvement, previously I couldn’t stop reading their bloated articles, now I just glance at a couple of most important facts and carry on.

Hah, thanks for pointing this out. This cap always annoyed me but now I'll instead see it as a positive.

They're also doing an annoying then where you have a message if you don't have notifications turned on for the iOS app. If you turn them on, the 'message' goes away. But if you turn them back off, the message comes back! So annoying.

Same, haha. Funny thing is I am logged in, Reddit just logs me out too often for whatever reason and fails to relog.

Win-win, I guess.

HN has a similar feature, but it’s more of a bug

I've never seen that on HN. Reddit intentionally changed their website to prevent you from seeing comments after a couple replies without logging in.

I was making a joke about how some of the larger HN threads the replies span multiple pages and it's not immediately obvious you need to click a link to get to the next page of comments

I'm the same as you regarding reduced viewing time recently... unless I'm extremely motivated, I kill the tab as soon as the ad starts.

It's the same with sites that require javascript to view: I'm sure the content might be good if I whitelisted it - but most the time it's my cue to realize I'm procrastinating and should get back to creating rather than consuming!

It heartens me to know that this sentiment is spreading.

I have some black and white rules set up for myself. The day Whatsapp stops encrypting chats is the day I jump ship. The day Youtube blocks access to those using uBlock, I'll stop going to Youtube. The day old.reddit.com and i.reddit.com stop working, sayonara Reddit.

I've come to realise that a) I just don't derive TOO much value from any of these websites/services, and b) I don't mind paying for value added.

I'd be happy to pay for Youtube. But not 15 dollars a _month_! Youtube is an amateur platform. Charge me maybe 3 dollars a month. 5 if I'm feeling generous. But not 15. And certainly not when it's bundled with Google tracking the living bejeesus out of me.

WhatsApp encrypts your chats, but if that key is 'backed up' for you to anywhere, it's still game over. There's also the fact that they were clearly worth billions to Facebook, and yet had no meaningful monetization play.

Signal (https://signal.org) is an awesome WhatsApp replacement BTW - end to end encrypted, open source, and run by a nonprofit.

Yup. Already using it with anyone who will bother with it.

I deleted Facebook way back when, on the basis that anyone who couldn't be bothered to find me via another route probably didn't care that much for me to begin with. Will happily apply the same principle for Whatsapp. Parents etc. can just call me the old-fashioned way :)

In my opinion YouTube Music is more than good enough to be compared to Spotify and the other music streaming services, and paying for YouTube Music gets you YouTube Premium (no ads).

I've always preferred Google Play Music/YouTube Music to Spotify so I'd be paying for it anyways but getting adless YouTube along with it makes it a great value, for me.

I also don't know if I particularly agree with your characterization of YouTube as an amateur outlet nowadays, since there's just SO MUCH MONEY in some of the channels.

>I also don't know if I particularly agree with your characterization of YouTube as an amateur outlet nowadays

Yes, YouTube is an amateur outlet for sure, at least the majority of it, just see how many worthless information and popular advices there is in the platform.

I wonder how much each a YouTube user is worth? My guess is pennies. Seems like $3 would be good.

And what would a new user be worth to them? I think the value is in THE MONOPOLY?

15 is way to much.

"After all, it's their platform and they're not running a charity - people often forget that it's not their birth right to use a company's product or a service without paying for it one way or another."

A few more consumer perspectives:

Google still does not own the videos. It is still not their content. They will not pay contributors for content.

As someone who has been using the web since 1993 I can assure anyone reading that there would still be widepspread video sharing on the internet even if no company such as YouTube existed that tried to monetise the phenomenon. Consumers pay dearly for internet connectivity and bandwidth, many of them enjoy playing around with the internet for fun and they will use the network for all manner of data sharing, including video, even in the absence of advertisers and their service partners (who are usurping a significant portion of that user-financed bandwidth).

Google may not be running a tax-exempt charity for the benefit of consumers, however they are running a corporate welfare program for over 75,000 people. (Nevermind the amount the corporation pays in tax.) This will change if and when profits start to drop.

With respect to this announcement, it appears Google won't share the proceeds from ad sales unless the YouTube contributor's video meets a certain threshhold of traffic, enough to be in the so-called "Partner Program". Many video contributors will receive nothing despite their viewers having to suffer though pre-roll and other ads interrupting their "user experience". In a way this reminds me of domain name registrars that place ads at domain names that customers fail to renew.

I absolutely agree with this comment though. Changes such as this are evolutionary pressure that may lead us to a better internet, one that is less commercially driven by advertising under the fiction of "free". No matter how large these websites, excuse me, "platforms", have become I still believe the web and the internet are meant to be non-commercial and user-driven. As the network has grown, most users are not corporations.

Add more straw. Break the camel's back. What comes in the aftermath will surely be better.

20 second unskippable ads about cat food (I don't have a cat) to watch a 1 minute video.

No thanks YouTube!

It's worse when you have no idea if you're even _interested_ in the video you're going to sit through two unskippable ads to watch. It degrades the experience considerably.

I used to use the YouTube app on my firestick to stream music while working around the house. One of my favorite bands - who I personally know and who don't put any ads on their videos - releases entire albums in a single 30-40 minute long video.

YouTube now throws 4-6 ads in the middle of the videos, often right in the middle of the songs.

It's worse when you are trying to put a soothing music to put your baby to sleep and it starts with a loud ad which wakes her up. Or now that she is a toddler, her nursery rhyme videos have political campaign ads in the middle of the song.

Of course, many of those nursery rhymes were political ads originally.

Little Donny Trumpet went out on a junket, swatting his golf balls away...

One of the best things about the ads on youtube was that if they sucked or weren't relevant you could skip them, sending a signal that the ads should not be shown.

I suspect that the platforms have started to realize that personalized ads aren't better than content relevant ads, because I have several times seen ads on Facebook that were just targeted to people who live in my country and are over the age of 18, ie not targeted at all. Yet Facebook presumably showed me those ads because that is what they thought would make them the most money.

Watch the ads, start the video, pause the video for a few minutes, come back and get shown fresh ads.

I pay for YT Premium and worth it to skip all ads and be able to listen to audio in app on background.

I use it a lot for recipes and great to have a corner of the internet totally ad free now.

If you want that corner to be expanded to the full internet, install ublock origin.

YT Premium still supports creators while Ublock Origin denies creators one of the easiest ways to be compensated for their work. That's a pretty big difference.

True, though most of the videos I watch these days either have explicit sponsor mentions, or I support though patreon. My general feel on adblock is that it is a reasonable step against an abusive advertising industry. That it harms creators is the side effect of the advertising industry's overreach, and is not a moral fault of the end user for acting in self-defense.

Nevermind the fact that for the vast majority of creators, their advertising revenue is 100% up to the whims of some bullshit black box "AI" algorithm on whether they are worthy of money they earned or not.

Most of the valuable youtube creators don't care much about their ad revenue and prefer to curate out of band sponsorships and patreon. And if I wanted to actually support them, I'd invest in them through patreon, not watch an atrocious ad that will likely give them 30% of 5 cents

You wrote something that is completely obvious to anyone but some how its surprising what little thought I had put into it... I'm calling it: "Employed by robots" because it goes well with the "Trial by robots". Just those 2 make for "Governed by robots".

We still have some humans in the board room who could theoretically switch things off just like the switched them on but its somewhat naive to think their job description allows for it.

This leaves only governments. I could see myself write government automation even while fully aware of the above. If the pay is right, nice coworkers, interesting stack. ~rolls eyes~

I use the YT iOS app mostly. can’t skip it there.

Nothing stops you from doing both, in fact, I think that it's the best of both worlds.

The point is there usually isn't a premium service for sites blocked by UBO. So doing just YT Premium with UBO for other sites would only entrench YT and deny creators on other services a significant source of income.

Maybe if advertisements don't work for them, and the subscriptions work for YouTube, they'll roll out subscriptions too. But to be honest, I just hate advertisements, and so I'll block them, and I'll also subscribe where I can because I want to give back something too.

It's why I use NewPipe, for free

I feel the same way about Twitch. They recently added unblockable, unskippable ads unless you subscribe to the specific channel that you're watching and I just don't watch Twitch any more for the most part. It's especially annoying when it's the same few ads in rotation over and over for products that I will never be interested in.

It doesn't help that the ads on Twitch are the lowest of the low in terms of quality so you have no desire to stay around. Also their way of doing preroll ads is just bad, you'll get to watch like 5-10 seconds of the channel before the ad just suddenly cuts it off, unlike YouTube or others where the ad is shown first then the content after.

I've noticed the same. When I go looking for some video on youtube, I first pause, prepare my query in my mind and then open youtube & rush to type what I prepared, sift quickly and try to find what I'm looking for, then close the tab/quit the app when I'm done. It's the same feeling as dashing into a hostile store trying to upsell you on stuff and waste your time, when all you needed is 1 thing.

For actual video hosting, assuming ad revenue is not desired, Vimeo seems pretty good.

I find it hilarious that YouTube's iOS app is always pushing me to try a trial of their premium product, one of the major selling points being that videos continue to play in the background when you close the app.

When, in fact, closing the app is the most reliable way to get YouTube to stop playing. From inadvertent clicks in the Wrong Place on the screen that launch some crap or play some ad, to autoplay, as soon as my content is over, I can't wait to kill the app and make it all stop. It's a hell of a lot easier than finding pause/stop.

Maybe this explains why its become frustratingly difficult for me to quickly close the app on Android.

These ads do something to my mindset that really puts me in a bad place. I used to spend hours on youtube. I loved watching videos related to my hobbies etc. Now, it seems like a chore.

That's a very good point! Add to that YT's abysmal organization of subscribed channels and their terrible recommendation engine. I have to say I really like it.

I have to agree about the recommendation engine. I know there is a lot of interesting new content that I might be interested in uploaded every day, but for some reason it's recommending years old videos that I've already watched AND voted on. WTF?!

Yes! I am regularly in the mood to watch something on YouTube - mostly new documentaries on societal/political subjects. But I just can't find anything relevant. Also the search function is critically handicapped. It's really frustrating. They are not increasing my time on YouTube, they reduce it.

The recommendation engine was intentionally crippled because it was radicalizing people who were into conspiracy theories, militias, terroristic acts, etc. It sucks but I assume there's some work being done to get a new engine out without sending people down a rabbit hole.

For that I actually have a nice observation: I always clear my cookies and website data on browser quit, and never login into Youtube. Which means I get a pretty vanilla "recommendation" experience, additional tracking attempts from Google put aside.

Visiting youtube, I could swear that the recommendations Youtube is trying to shove my way only change after several weeks or sometimes even months, it is always the same 8 videos on top of the front page for very long periods.

It starts to get somewhat relevant after I watch something, but then it looks like their recommendation engine does nothing more than "Recommend to user x the n most popular videos of roughly the same category as the last video user x watched" with a little bit of shuffling 1-3 videos from a larger set between those, sometimes, and that appears to be it.

I don't believe that. They could have restricted this to problematic videos which promote conspiracy theories and their likes.

I’m subscribed to an old channel, with 200 videos that need to be watched in order. They are all long enough that I have to stop at least once in the middle, sometimes as many as 3 times. If I come back or switch devices, I have to go to my history to find the video I was watching, because recommendations either get the previous or next videos half the time.

Maybe if they add a few more crappy features I can avoid YT altogether!

Unfortunately, most of my YouTube viewing is not recreational/ entertainment. I use YouTube primarily for DIY videos, Home Building, and other similar educational/ Howto videos. I just don't see a lot of alternatives out there so I'm kind of stuck with YouTube.

Preroll ads are the worst because quality varies so widely I end up wading through multiple ads for crappy videos.

Is there a good resource for how-tos out there for a fee?

Ad-free youtube is $10/mo. I get the impression from patreon and Consumer Reports that a lot of monthly services expect people to sign up and quit as needed.

Honestly, sounds like a VPN in a small country would work great. Just tunnel through Moldova and enjoy a better Youtube and even Internet experience haha... Or just pay for premium...

Most YT videos have transcriptions generated for them, maybe instead of wading through the video itself, you can skim the transcript?

Unfortunately, I use YoutubeVanced to block ads on my Android. Background playback is a plus. No root required.


For anyone not familiar, Vanced is hacked Google binaries. It's the YouTube app, but with features enabled for free and ads blocked. They've been around a long time and are active on XDA.

I use Vanced on my phone, but if you're not into hacked binaries, NewPipe is what you want: https://newpipe.schabi.org/

There's the risk that Google will ban your account as it has done previously to some users, losing access and data hosted in their ecosystem (Gmail, Docs...), that's the thing that scares me the most. But yeah, Vanced (and the new YT Music) is amazing.

I guess the solution here is to not use your main Google account with youtube vanced?

I looked this up. This seems to be fear mongering. There are no confirmed cases of stuff like this happening. Too lazy to dig up the links, but go search for yourself. (Reports in YTVanced reddit and NewPipe github)

Use NewPipe on Android to avoid ads

Serious question, what's the risk of losing your Gmail account?

Newpipe is available from F-Droid and does not have a sign-in option. There's no Google account involved.

The APK from F-Droid has been pretty broken for the last month, and for some reason isn't getting updated. Anyone thinking of trying out F-Droid should just grab the latest release from the GitHub repo.

D'oh, I meant "trying out NewPipe".

You don't need to login with newpipe

Sadly their new UI is unusable on Android TV (nvidia Shield)

> on either my phone or my tablet (where I don't have access to AdBlock) I think it's amazing you're putting up with devices that work against you. If my phone would force me to watch ads I would get a new phone tomorrow.

I wish I could say the same thing. In my younger years, I was pretty hardcore about hacking devices and having complete control of them. But SO MUCH TIME was spent debugging issues and staying ahead of the "bad guys." And I couldn't count the literally years of time I've spent fixing broken devices.

Nowadays I just don't have that time. And the bad guys have evolved from mischievous to felonious (and I have a lot more to lose. I still harp on privacy and security, but now I do it behind a couple of walled gardens. I love that my devices "just work."

I know it's a trade off, and I'm certainly fighting for more regulations of FAANG. And I am supporting the FOSS/open device movement, and look forward to the next phase where those "just work".

I will never harp on privacy and security behind a couple of walled gardens. It is a wasted effort.

Your phone doesn't force you to watch ads. Youtube (which has nothing to do with your phone) forces you to watch ads (if you don't have an adblocker)

Youtube doesn't force you to watch ads. Pay for Youtube Premium and you will see no ads.

Thats sounds a lot like extorsion.

Restaurants extort me to pay for food if I want to eat there. It's shameful.

I would not say that if youtube straight up asked for payment for their product and there were no ads.

Instead, Youtube is pestering you with ads and asking for payment to stop doing so.

A big difference I see is how much money does Google make me "watching"/skipping ads in a month? I find it hard to believe it's around $10/month. What are rates now a days?

Paying for something not to happen is different than paying for something in return. Obviously.

Ah no you pay the content creators by watching the ads with your time or the subscription.

> Restaurants extort me to pay for food if I want to eat there.

> Paying for something not to happen is different than paying for something in return.

The rough metaphor about restaurants, is not an equivalent situation.


> you pay the content creators by watching the ads with your time or the subscription

To clarify, you believe that there is an ephemeral currency of attention.

Your attention (which was to be directed at the content creator) can be redirected forcefully, unless you pay in money. I'd be remiss to call it outright extortion, but the parallel is there.

Let them eat ads.

You know what they say. If you're not paying for the product, then you probably are the product.

In the cases of both youtube and reddit, how would one suggest they pay for the developers, and their massive hosting costs? If not ad revenue, then what? Subscriptions? That's a hard veto from a high percentage of users.

Your phone doesn't allow you to run a browser that would let you use an adblocker.

Android has Firefox which has uBlock, as well as Firefox Focus. iOS has VPN based ad blocking compatible with Safari, I use AdGuard.

Or Musi for watching YT videos. Ad-free!

I don’t see any ads in Safari with Wipr.

How do you handle driving on roads with billboards? Or walking through a city? In most of the US, the number of outdoor places you can go without advertising attacking you is dwindling. Europe seems better regarding roads (fewer billboards and more highways with none) but similar in cities.

The rise of blindingly bright LED billboards in the US feels like all the downsides of a sci-fi dystopian world without any of the upside like self-driving hover cars.

Actually, most billboards around the roads in Czech Republic are being dismantled due to being too startling to drivers - the advertisers fought it quite hard, even placed big Czech flags instead of adds to the billboards due to some provision in the law saying you can't just remove a flag of the country. But the ultimately list and billboards around roads are going away.

Also more thought is now being given to "visual pollution" where unsightly advertising is bastardising valuable architecture in cities.

Hopefully both initiatives will proliferate alse to other countries. :)

Good to hear :). I think in the US some places must be much worse than others. Here in Portland, Oregon, on a 7 mile round trip (without much overlap) through the urban core that I make regularly by bike I only see maybe four billboards, and all but one (a not too large sign of a stadium that mostly advertises events there) are the traditional paper type (or whatever it is that they use). Most are near highways or highway access so I assume anyone who uses highways regularly will see more of them. There are also some small advertisements (also not LCD) on bus shelters, although there aren't many bus shelters. I rarely notice any of them unless I am stopped at a traffic light near one. It took me a while to even remember most of them. I'd still prefer fewer of them, but it isn't at all comparable to using the web without an adblocker. Additionally, there is no chance that the billboards will install malware on my computer.

There's a fundamental difference between a billboard that is just sort of in your field of view as you walk down a street, and a billboard which blocks your path, not letting you continue on your way until you finish reading it from top to bottom.

newpipe has the nicest youtube interface and doesn't show ads.

It’s not a charity, but it’s also the standard platform bait and switch: provide years of great service to capture users and creators and gain network effects, then turn on the users and content creators to exploit them after there are no alternatives. Where else do we go now? When YouTube went down the other day, billions of people stopped being able to watch most online videos for a while

Interestingly this will probably mess up google search results as well. There are so many things in youtube that should have been a text post but are videos on youtube (for example how to do something technical), that somehow mysteriously come out as top results on google search. They've been rendered even more useless than they were before. I'm already not willing to sit through a video if it could have been text, but I'm sure some people are. I wonder if a slate of ads before, and during, will kill of that type of content.

Honestly, I consider the existence of such things kind of toxic, which is a weirdly extreme view, I admit, so I'm kinda rooting for these types of videos to get pushed out of the results.

> I consume all video content on either my phone or my tablet (where I don't have access to AdBlock)

If you're on a network you control, you can do network level ad blocking :-)


My trick for this is to disable the Youtube app on my phone and only use the browser to watch videos. Combined with DNS66, the few ads that do make it through on the site can be dismissed by just refreshing the page, which is easy to do in my browser.

This also works on iOS and you can even get a shortcut to let you bypass PIP being disabled and by pausing the video 2-3 times in picture mode you bug it out and can play the video with the screen off - not very convenient for short videos but longer ones it works well with.

You can use Kiwi browser of phone. It's basically Chrome + dark mode + extensions(so ublock). Nothing makes it through.

On Android use Youtube Vanced and you won't see any ads. vanced.app

> I consume all video content on either my phone or my tablet

I dunno which mobile platform you are using but I use iOS and if you watch YT via the browser you can block ads with its content blocker and you can even use some JavaScript in an shortcut to re-enable picture in picture (it’s a little more of a hassle, you have to press share then the pip custom shortcut but it works).

On the other hand, it makes it harder to filter out bad content.

When i search for a video on some language/system architecture, it's often difficult to find the official team videos. One good thing to do is to start playing one video after another form the search results. Usually the very first one without a pre-roll Advertisement, is the one you want.

Biggest issue for me is less the time cost and more the disruption created by an ad in the middle of a video. It's maybe 10% as valuable to me to watch a 10-minute video with two ad breaks in the middle vs a 10-minute video with ads at the start. It's like trying to watch a TV show while someone is throwing axes at your head.

This sounds like a win-win for Youtube. Only the people willing to pay (via YT premium or watch ads) will stick around.

> I consume all video content on either my phone or my tablet (where I don't have access to AdBlock)

There's a simple trick to get around this: don't use the YouTube app, use the website youtube.com. Adblockers work for YouTube's website on iOS.

The app is only marginally better than the website, so you won't be missing much.

> I find the amount of ads I have to go through to watch a video so annoying that I'd rather not watch it at all.

Could you share what that amount is? One ad every how many minutes? I ask because I suspect that it depends on the geographic region of the user and other factors, and I’m curious how bad it is in some places.

This is exactly what I had in mind, I will definitely gain more time doing other things. With their recommendation engines youtube was already turning into cable television and now there's no escape from it.

This will also incentive us to find other methods of sharing/consuming. P2P perhaps?

As a sidenote, you can consider using Firefox on Android with adblock and works like a charm :)

I have posted tutorials and art on YouTube since before they were Google.

I am also glad that this move has finally given me the push needed to delete my channel entirely. I don't try to make money off it, I have no interest in Google getting to.

I had the same issue with YouTube ads on mobile. There's an open source YouTube app called Vanced (yes, with out "Ad") which runs exactly like the official YouTube app but you have the choice to turn off ads.

I understand that I can’t really complain about a service I don’t pay for. That’s fine. I just don’t use it, and my life is so much better for it! Besides, YouTube is blocked at work / on vpn anyway :)

There's a chrome extension which blows away the recommendations sidebar in YouTube. For me, installing that was enough to break any mindless video watching.

This has been the same for me, although I do find for content created by others, there should at least be a monetization split.

Use Brave browser, or Firefox with uBlockOrigin.

Kiwi Browser is the best nowadays. You can install any Chome extension on it.

Have you considered paying for YouTube Premium?

This was my first thought as well. Both coursera and audiobooks are not free or ad-supported. Would these paid alternatives be as attractive if they had ad-supported options?

I watch more youtube than any other video platform and I am happy to pay the $13/month to be ad free. Is it a sustainable business model? That’s for the bean counters at Alphabet to know. For now, I am content.

I was happily a subscriber, but like most things Google does, they decided to switch things up for the sake of different. What I don't like about paying $18/mo for Youtube (family) is that they are still collecting truckloads of data about me and using it to target MORE advertisements.

If I pay for a service, it my expectation that you provide me a way to opt out of your additional revenue opportunities. To that end, $18/mo for premium is gouging, in my mind. The fact that Youtube is implementing even more ads tells me the service is bleeding customers or cash, maybe both, and Google is handling this by making the barriers HIGHER.

Google has their hooks deep enough into most people - charge $3.99/mo for an ad-free experience and grow the subscriber base.

From their POV it's perfectly reasonable - by paying, you showed you have the money thus you're very worthy target for more ads and tracking!

I see people loudly complaining about it. I don’t watch YouTube. I went from a paying customer to ditching it entirely. But clearly everyone complaining love YouTube and are watching hours and hours of video. So why not pay for it? It’s more sustainable in the long run.

Until they decide to show you ads, anyway?

Damn, that's a strawman I haven't seen before. How about we discuss it when it happens, not before?

so unsubscribe then you are paying subscription month to month its not a one time fee.

You have to pick and choose among them and the million other subscriptions though and they aren't the cheapest. If you watch it enough then I suppose it makes sense. Let's just go back to cable with one known cost.

Let's not. Because there's still ads bundled into that cable-model "cost". Anything I can do to get rid of that is a blessing.

Exactly my thought. As much as I hate advertising and Google business practices, I would rather pay to avoid advertisements if that is an option. For $15/month family plan for 6 users, I find it to be a reasonable deal.

Currently in the US, YT Premium (Family) is $17.99/month.

> $17.99/month

That... is quite steep as compared to India, where the family plan for YT Premium (if I recall correctly) costs Rs. 99/month, approximately $1.33/month. PPP is real :|

I was grandfathered from Google music family plan for same old price of $15 + tax. I am not aware of current price for new subscribers.

I do this. Its not cheap (12$ month), but it comes with "youtube music", which I'm starting to use a bit. like all things google, its a little difficult to figure out exactly what is going on.

I signed up for Red a few weeks ago and cancelled my Spotify account. Ad-free videos, offline vides and a reasonable music service. I think it's a great deal.

> Its not cheap (12$ month)

How much is a cinema ticket these days?

I pay for Youtube premium and that's not a comparison I had even considered.

The ad supported web has led to so many people feeling entitled to consume content for free. People have gone so far to feel that the ads themselves are the problem, without realizing that without them, you would have to begin to pay the real cost of the service.

Funny how so many people find watching a single movie (lets say you watch cheap, $8) for two hours acceptable, but unlimited access to billions of hours of content for $10 is unacceptable.

so you don't use ad blocker I see :/

They work today, but Google could fool them by embedding the ads in videos, I mean cutting a video and inserting the ad inside, not playing a separate segment, so that it can't be detected by the adblockers. But then video makers could fight back by using AI to compare it with the original without ads and distributing cue lists automatically downloadable by browsers extensions telling the player to skip from A to B to hide the ad. then Google would fight back again by making the ad embedding random at each play, so that cue lists wouldn't work anymore, or disabling skipping within the ad segment, and so on. It will never end.

It is pretty clear that Google is attempting to monetize everything down to the spaces between zeros and ones, changing their own rules when it suits them, and won't stop before anything. This is extremely unprofessional; I wouldn't rely on them for anything serious.

You just showed me that I can block ads on YouTube. I just tried it and so far it seems to be working great. Thank you!

1Blocker on iOS does a great job of handling ads, but you raise a good point - perhaps I should whitelist Youtube :p

For me, it's the opposite - I'm very close to paying for youtube premium and not have ads anymore.

You can use ublock origin in Firefox on Android phones.

and there's also bromite with built-in adblocking

Since discovering Musi [1] I don't see any YT ads on iOS.. it's a game changer!

[1] https://twitter.com/feelthemusi

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