December 2006 Time Magazine’s
Cover Honor’s ‘You’
Because YouTube & the World Wide Web
Heralded in a new period in history
Where Community & Collaboration Count
Hello to all My Readers, Followers & Subscribers…
(and yes, each of those really are different & really matter,)
You may (or may not) have already heard about how the YouTube management team has decided to drastically change their widely popular, ever entertaining video sharing service. As a result, the amazing community of people who arose from those roots…roots mind you, that YouTube planted…the very people who love creating & sharing their videos the most…known world-wide simply by the moniker YouTubers…are either already gone or they will be gone very, very soon.
It will be a mass exodus the likes of which the Internet has never seen before.
You, in an outraged, yet disbelieving tone of voice…ask…
The short answer my friend, is that immature corporate leadership bolstered by unseasoned yet inexplicably arrogant ranks recently realized that yes, in fact profits really do matter after all.
The longer answer is exactly the reason why I’m writing this post today.
But…if you want to skip all that here’s another short answer…
Because YouTube has finally decided that Profit is their most important and in fact their only measure of success going forward. Of course, that’s not what YouTube Corporate will tell you. Naturally Google Corporate won’t either. But after you read the evidence presented here, you can decide for yourself.
Without a doubt, YouTube has broken all records in terms of popularity, growth and even one that may shock you to learn:
YouTube is one of the Biggest Employer’s in the World!
Perhaps one of the most clueless too!
Basically because, they don’t even know that they are one of the largest employers!!
Who would have guessed that? That’s because Google (aka YouTube…they are essentially one in the same…because Google owns YouTube,) recently decided they no longer want to be in the business of having thousands, if not millions of livelihoods dependent upon them.
Was this because they were worried about shouldering the great burden of responsibility that this entails?
That doesn’t appear to be the reason. Google and YouTube have publicly stated their reasons…but those don’t make sense to anyone. They talk in circles about factors like ‘protecting their audiences from bad actors.’ Reading between the ‘not so murky lines’ however, most everyone has deciphered that to really mean that Google is protecting themselves against the possibility of losing advertisers…because advertisers are the only community that YouTube is concerned about.
What…YouTube Only Cares About Advertisers? Where’s your proof?
The proof of this is easily ascertained by anyone willing to take an hour or 2 to look at what’s transpired in the last year.
Here’s one of the most significant highlights:
In late 2017 and early 2018 Google was forced to reprimand one of their most profitable content creators, a completely self-absorbed twenty-something who goes by the name of Logan Paul. Not just once but twice!
CBS News This Morning Coverage of YouTube’s Questionable Actions
Huh? Why’s that Even Important?
Because these actions go to the heart of what’s happening at YouTube. Advertisers have grown utterly frustrated that YouTube allows their ads to be placed on videos like the controversial ones Logan has put out recently.
What Controversial Videos are You Referring to?
2 videos immediately come to mind. Logan published a video (shown above) in which he and his friends had the poor judgement to shoot and share footage of a young suicide victim’s fresh corpse they found hanging in Japans ‘suicide forest’ while looking for scary or haunted things to shoot. When they ran across the corpse of this young man hanging from a tree limb its obvious they were seriously shaken. But that doesn’t account for their decision to immediately begin shooting video footage of the incident which they then proceeded to publish on their Vlog shortly thereafter. Mostly they were serious and horrified about what they found, but there were a few clips of them laughing and acting goofy. Since I don’t watch the channel I have no idea how sincere they really were about their shock and horror.
Their young audience, consisting mostly of children and young teens, was also horrified, scared and in a lot of instances profoundly disturbed by the incident. It was only after their equally horrified parents began voicing their outrage that advertisers and YouTube even took notice!
Quite a lot of time elapsed (at least a week!) before YouTube finally addressed the situation. Their response was to temporarily take away a few of Logan’s revenue sources…leaving him with a few dents in his reported monthly profits of 1 million dollars. But the most important fact to be gleaned from this incident is that YouTube management DID NOT TAKE AWAY HIS CHANNEL OR EVEN HIS MONETIZATION OF IT!!!
IN FACT…The Most Shocking Thing of All Was That YouTube Didn’t Even Ask Logan to Take the Video Down! He Did That All on His Own Accord.
Monetization of a YouTube channel basically means that Google allows advertisers to display their ads on videos of that channel. Which in turn means that Google earns advertising revenue from those ads. When Google allows channels to monetize too, it means that they let the video creator also profit from the ads. The percentage that Channel Owners earn is quite small. But for channels like Logan’s, with his subscriber count of 15 million, all those tiny payouts add up to some very big dollar amounts!
OK…I follow you so far…but you said there were 2 incidents! What’s the 2nd one?
Right you are…and sorry…I got a little off track. So, the second incident needs a little bit of context first.
When Logan finally realized the stupidity of his actions he took what he felt were the necessary remedial actions to set things straight. He learned everything that he could about suicide and went on to produce an apology video which (glibly) teaches us all about the negative consequences of suicide. I say ‘glib‘ because it dawned on me that Logan might have been the only person in the world who really needed the kind of instruction he provided in his apology video. Most everyone that I know, from kids on up to the very elderly already understand what the negative aspects and consequences of suicide are.
I should mention that my telling of this story is done purely from my own perspective…although I’ve researched and read volumes on all these topics in order to present as objective a picture as possible…but there may be some minor details that I’ve missed because there are simply so many details involved.
So, my understanding is that following the world’s lukewarm reception to Logan’s apology video, he must have believed himself to be ‘in the clear’ or exonerated for all practical purposes (go figure!) He resumed production of the daily Vlog he’d personally put on hiatus following his 1st reprimand from the management team at YouTube. I’m not sure how many days had passed, but it wasn’t too many, when Logan decided to stir things up a little more. He chose to do this by publishing a video of himself poking, prodding and tasing 2 rat corpses…in a misguided attempt at humor. Don’t forget that many YouTuber’s who reach such enviable heights of fame at such young ages oftentimes have abandoned their education in pursuit of their dreams for stardom (long before they should have!)
When YT management caught wind of this 2nd incident exhibiting extremely poor judgement they added a few more temporary monetary reprimands.
You Don’t Mean to Tell Me That…Once Again YouTube management failed their massive world audience (and their advertisers too come to think of it) with their 2nd set of relatively inconsequential Logan Paul reprimands?
I Absolutely Do! YouTube’s management ranks appear to be incapable of making that blatantly obvious decision. Their reprimands, which almost appear to many to be…well silly… seemingly stem from their avoidance of potential temporary corporate hardship which might result in a negative impact upon their robust bottom line.
OK, I do get it…seriously though…it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the most immediate, the best and probably the only real solution to this problem is to shut down Logan’s channel…it should go without saying, permanently.
I know…right? You should be writing this post!
Wow! That’s truly awful! Unless I’m missing something though, I fail to see how Google’s role as one of the world’s largest employers fits into this picture. Also, how can subscribing to YouTube channels make any kind of difference at all??
Well now that we’re on the same page…I’ll try to close all those gaps
The long and the short of it is that YT managements’ obvious shortsightedness has one additional horrific consequence.
But…that consequence is really hard to explain to any rational thinking person…so please bear with me for a moment longer OK?
So, in addition to their failure to adequately reprimand the one guy who’s really responsible for this recent chain of events, YouTube took it upon themselves to issue one additional, but much farther-reaching reprimand. I’ve gotta be completely honest with you though…I think you’re going to have difficulties understanding this.
OK, go on.
Google, I mean YouTube decided that the creator community and the small channel roots from whence YouTube arose was in fact, somehow responsible (albeit indirectly responsible) for Logan’s transgressions.
So today, Feb. 20th, because I haven’t managed to grow my Subscribers from where they were on January 16th enough (my subscriber stats were at 90 and now they are at 115 but they needed to be at 1000) (January 16th was the day of YT management’s announcement of the mass firings)…so, because me stats haven’t reached the newly mandated minimum of 1000 and because I didn’t ‘increase’ my hours of viewed-time too, from 12,000 minutes to 24,000 minutes…or 4000 hours…(it’s worth noting here that our reports, provided by YouTube, only state our channel’s view time in minutes not hours…so quite a few people…including myself originally, checked our stats and believed that our channels would avoid this newest reprimand thinly disguised as an incentive)…well, I’ll stop beating around the bush already…we were all just fired..EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!)
So, what you’re saying is that all the small channels are essentially being forced to pay for Logan’s transgressions with their own blood, so to speak. Have I got that right?
YES! You’ve completely grasped the situation (much more readily than I did…I might add!) So here’s the thing. YouTube says that the small channels it’s booting out don’t earn enough to make it worth their while…and while logically we get that…that doesn’t explain why YouTube is also going out of their way to make it next to impossible for us to earn income in any form whatsoever within the YouTube realm.
Why do you say that? How is YouTube going to prevent you from earning a living on YouTube if your income source isn’t them?
Because it seems that YouTube has gone out of their way to directly block any viable source of income. Things like Patreon for example…if you’re unfamiliar with Patreon, it’s a service that lets people setup accounts and then contribute to their favorite content creators. It’s a pretty brilliant concept really. But apparently YouTube has decided that the small channels they are booting out won’t be allowed to use Patreon either. Another source of income would be if a company likes your channel and wants to sponsor you, they could under normal circumstances do that…but not if you’re a small channel that’s being booted out right now. No small channel that’s being thrown out will be allowed to have sponsors either.
That’s why earlier I said that while YouTube glibly likes to refer to their new mandate as an incentive…when clearly it isn’t…it’s a reprimand plain and simple…but it’s a reprimand for something we had absolutely no part of or played any role in!!!
This is the reason that small channels are leaving in droves. We’ve been repeatedly lied to…or, at a minimum, lured into believing that if we would just work a little harder, and knock ourselves out a little more to reach this weeks new random level of mandated activity…a level that YouTube has just ‘literally come up with out of the blue ‘ and decided to thrust upon us…then we’ll really be YouTube’s partner. None of the channels, large, small or in between, have any kind of influence or even consideration for their own set of circumstances…and they never will.
It Always Has Been and Always will be…
YouTube’s Way or the Highway
Many, many, many more channels than just those that are being booted out in this newest round are beginning to realize this fact. It’s a pretty impossible structure to build a business upon, and a pretty slippery slope to risk your entire business model upon.
Geez…I don’t even know where to begin and or what to say…
I know…right? What do you do with that? But now do you see why the YouTube the world has grown to love will end. It can’t continue if it’s most valuable resource, it’s creators, aren’t around to well, create? There’s one more aspect of this that you should know about too. That’s that YouTube is fully aware of this and frankly could care less.
YouTube no longer values individual creators. They value big business…the bigger the better. That’s why they went head to head against network television…to force their advertisers to leave them, thereby forcing them to ultimately have to join forces with YouTube. So now they have…but YouTube is their business partner…you know what that means now…right?
So the YouTube we all have grown to love is leaving us…but YouTube the institution will still be around…it will just be very different. It won’t be the unique, user-generated content of the past, but instead will be professionally produced programming similar to the kind of network television programming that older generations (like myself) grew up with. YouTube TV is a perfect example of that.
Subscribers & More
I waited until the last possible moment to publish this thinking that surely someone else would. Someone bigger and better, someone with a much larger audience than ‘moi’…but it didn’t happen. No one did! Go figure? Maybe there’s more than meets the eye to my son’s argument than I’d originally realized. Let me explain. When I first mentioned my plans to my tech-oriented son, he somewhat endearingly blurted out…but…”what if you get Google angry…they could take away all of your Google stuff!” I thought about that a moment and then realized that while I do have a lot of Google ‘stuff”…there’s only one thing that I really care about…that’s my YouTube channel. They’ve already taken that away! So I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Maybe others who are bigger have more to lose?
And yes, I do understand that they haven’t really ‘taken’ anything away from me…anything other than income that is. The income that my YouTube channel generated, which was substantial and an important part of my overall business model. That model relies upon multiple smaller income streams which, when merged together provided a reasonable living wage. But every part in that equation was equally important, and nowhere in my wildest imagination could I have predicted that after working for years to get my Channel earning respectable figures, YouTube would decide to take that away from me in one fell swoop!
Other than that all they’ve done is jack me around a lot in recent years. They have repeatedly changed the requirements of being their partner (which I only recently realized certainly means that no partnership in the true sense of the word ever existed :-/ …so it’s kind of ironic that they chose to use that exact word…partnership!
Then again…they have taken away my channel in my mind. They’ve completely and utterly taken away any trust I may have once held and any shred of dignity too. Because I’ve begun adding these little bits onto all of my videos asking the people who watch them to ‘please subscribe‘ which is something I’d always felt was a real loser thing to ask!
Oddly, prior to January 16th when we were informed of our upcoming firing with a 30 day notice, YouTube always communicated to us small channel owners that having a lot of subscribers wasn’t important…in fact it was completely irrelevant. So basing 1/2 of our partnership status on that particular statistic is sort of a ‘slap in the face’ too! Was that intentional or simply more misguidance?
What Does it Mean to Subscribe to a Channel?
Clearly, from my own perspective, that subscriber button has always been really obvious and with its big red letters it’s pretty hard to miss. So asking people to subscribe is just begging imo! Also, almost everyone in the universe understands what subscribing is, right? So it’s demeaning to have to explain it or to beg for it…see where I’m coming from?
Herein Perhaps, May Lie My First Incorrect Assumption…do people really understand what exactly it means to subscribe to a YouTube Channel?
I’ll leave that question to be answered by you, gentle readers. What do you think it means to subscribe?
Given that I had to actually look it up myself…I’m really interested in your answers! I can tell you what I thought….which turned out the be 💯 % incorrect. I thought it meant that I’d receive an email every time some channel I subscribed to published a new video.
I also thought that it meant in some small way I was endorsing that channel and the content they produce. Because I thought that when I subscribed my subscription status was somehow made public for all the world to see. I was wrong in that assumption too!
In fact I was completely wrong with just about every assumption that I held on subscribing to YouTube channels!!!!
OK…I can’t stand to keep it from you another minute. I know I said I’d wait to find out what you thought subscribing meant…but I can’t. I’ve never been known for my patience ;-|
Here’s what it means to subscribe to a YouTube channel
When you do, if you go to YouTube to watch a video…and then if you go to your ‘home page’ afterwards, there will be videos lined up on that page for you that make it easier to find and watch the newest content from the channels that you subscribe to. Because I rarely go to that ‘homepage’ for lack of a better word (I don’t think that YouTube has an actual name for it) I never really understood before that that’s all that subscribing means!
So, if there’s any opportunity to salvage YouTube at this date…and I don’t know that there is…I would like to encourage…no, make that urge, all of my readers, followers and subscribers…and anyone else reading this too for that matter…to go and subscribe like crazy! Subscribe to all of the channels that you Love, Like and heck even Dislike if you have any interest in preserving them. If you can’t think of any channels that you care enough about to subscribe to and you still want to do your bit…you could always subscribe to moi…I’ll even promise to quit referring to myself that way if you do (sadly dashing all notions of myself as bilingual in the process :-)
Here’s my Channel, creatively named vsatips, because it was originated as a way to sometimes better demonstrate concepts that I’m writing about here.
I have just one more tiny little thing to add. My son…the one that I mentioned earlier thought…that this was a crazy and impossible notion. Because I was thinking that I’d like to create a new community for all these channels that are being driven away from YouTube. A community that would resemble the old and familiar YouTube from the past. I even came up with a pretty brilliant (I think) name for it. We’d call it…
I’d be more than willing to put in the time and invest as well. I’ve read a lot about how YouTube got started and in fact even have written about it. How hard could it be if three young college drop outs could do it? We’d need servers and coders…worst case scenario we could use Amazon AWS and Mechanical Turk to get started. And last we’d need lots of small channels! I know where we could find some of those :-)
A couple of interesting points to make include:
- When YouTube was first getting started their biggest hurdle was finding content and content creators. They ended up running ads on Craig’s list asking girls to upload a video of themselves and in return they’d pay them $10. They had no takers for their offer! YouTube has just made our lives easy in that regard! YouTube, in 2018, has roughly 1.3 billion users. Every user is also a channel. That’s 1.3 billion potential content creators! I’m telling you…this thing could be huge just like its elderly relative is!
- YouTube’s early growth was so phenomenally fast (after a slow first few months) that it was only about a year and a half after those 3 guys… Jawed Karim, Steve Chen and Chad Hurley began it that Google approached them with their offer to buy them out…for 1.65 billion in Google stock…it was the largest purchase that Google had ever made!
- YouTube first began in 2005 (it certainly seems longer ago than that to me!) Google purchased them in October 2006. They paid $100 a month for their first Server rental.
- Everything about their story seems to me to be readily reproducible.
- I’d even venture to guess it would be significantly easier the 2nd time around because we’d have the perfect example to follow.
- I’d venture another guess to predict that we wouldn’t necessarily need to copy YouTube…we could innovate far beyond their ability to do so…because they’ve grown too large to be innovative anymore. Also, because we could learn from their mistakes and stack the deck much more in our favor.
- 2 months after Google’s acquisition Time magazine put ‘You’ on the Cover essentially honoring YouTube’s role in bringing a new community focused kind of collaboration to the World Wide Web.
Please feel free to leave me any comments by scrolling down a little further.