Maybe they should call it ScrewTube. If I were one of the many channel “owners” whose revenue had just been slashed 90-95% overnight, I might be inclined to call it that. In fact I'd be spitting mad. But then again, being mad at social media companies is almost the new normal.
In case you're not aware, YouTube has cut the throats of many popular YouTube content creators over what, it appears to us, is bad decision making and worse implementation. Instead of treating the disease – which is one of their own making – they're trying to cobble together a “fix” for the symptom. One which may well have many bad, long term implications – for everyone concerned.
The long story short, which you can learn more about here, is that YouTube began to take heat from it's big-gun customers (major ad agencies and well-known brands). Complaints came in that ads were showing on videos with deplorable content. Things like pro-Nazi or pro-ISIS beheading videos. Advertisers threatened to pull out, and a few did. This got YouTube's immediate attention – not surprisingly – because the Google Cartel (Google owns YouTube) is nothing if not super-protective of it's ginormous income streams.
[learn_more caption=”Video Transcript”] so guess what YouTube is dropping the hammer on content creators that's lovely so the verge here says YouTube is facing a full-scale advertising boycott over hate speech the biggest brands continue to leave more companies are pulling advertising from YouTube over Google's inability to ensure ads won't appear next to hateful and offensive content the wall street journal journal reports that youtube videos centered around racist homophobic and anti-semitic views are still scooping up ads from brands like coca-cola amazon and microsoft this is even after reports last week exposed the issue and led to mass advertising boycotts in the UK and now the u.s. prompting google to promise companies it would solve the issue and implement better tools and moderation practices following the wall street journal's findings pepsico walmart dish starbucks and GM all pulled their advertising joining a growing list of dozens of companies in europe in the US since the times of london first shined a spotlight on the problem a majority of these companies are pulling advertising from youtube n sites they use Google's ad exchange technology that means not only is Google's video arm taking a hit but it's broader network of web advertising is suffering too as companies are under the assumption that Google is incapable of policing neither youtube videos nor third-party websites with its current blend of user flagging human moderation and algorithmic detention the company Google is also also excuse me promise new tools like artificial intelligence powered filtering that would detect offensive language and other contents within a video and flag it bloomberg reports that Google plans on implementing these new tools and changes as soon as this Sunday according to an internal company memo yet it's unclear just how effective Google's new tools will be and what it might take to bring advertisers back so I read the article in The Times of London which sparked this advertiser you know flea fest in the article they're citing a channel that's like some sort of neo-nazi channel it has less than a thousand subscribers and which is peanuts peanuts so it's nothing it's a nothing channel on YouTube and there was an ad that somehow slipped through the cracks and got on that channel as a result of that all these major brands or like that's it no more no more advertising at all with Google or YouTube now this hurts content creators that you love and that I love regular people who discuss somewhat controversial topics we bear the brunt of it because there was a mistake where n ed went on a video on a tiny hateful channel that nobody fucking watches and by the way there you go right there I just first so understand just how extreme and over reaching this crackdown is if they create that technology they don't have it yet the technology where they can detect cursing within videos and then just auto d monetize that video and no recourse whatsoever if they detect that I'm totally done over eighty percent of my videos are have curses and you guys know that you'll watch the channel so they have overreached and they're basically only trying to have ads on videos where the content is like Nick jr. or Disney so and it's already bad let me be clear about that if you remember a few months back I don't know how maybe six months or so ago we had the episode where YouTube did auto d monetization on all these videos every YouTube creator I know flipped out overnight you know twenty percent of the videos or so just back d monetize um well now they're just expanding that so let me give you guys a few examples of just how bad it is any segment I've ever done on Isis be monetized you want to know why because the geniuses who are developing the algorithm to D monetize videos if Isis is in the title if Isis is in the tag they just assume and treat it as if it is a pro Isis propaganda video or like a literal beheading video so if I am doing a segment that is obviously one hundred percent anti-isis and I'm giving you facts about the group and performing a public service and I'm giving I'm educating people and I'm giving information they go no no just the fact that Isis is in the title rice's is in the tag auto d monetize anytime I mention al-qaeda anytime I mentioned terrorists anytime I do anything on foreign policy virtually every video I've ever done on foreign policy totally d monetized because you put Israel you put Saudi Arabia you put Yemen you know you put Syria you put any of these places in a title or a tag and D monetize you put the worst foreign policy it'll get d monetized now also drugs anything drug-related demisa matter what you're saying auto d monetization but now I heard through the grapevine they're they're expanding that to 0 are you mentioning religion in any way be monetized you have Christian or God or Bible or Islam or Quran or anything in the title in the tags be monetized now again think about how backwards this is so if I'm performing a public service by giving information on the conflict in Syria and I'm saying explicitly hey I am Pro peace and then I would not like the US to be involved they go outrageous and controversial d monetize because you reference you mentioned a foreign country so think about what they're claiming the problem is they say the problem is ads on hateful you know bigoted content they claim that's the problem and the solution to that problem is let's take all youtubers who do not do hate full content who are doing things that people like to watch and they do well in the free market and d monetize it and furthermore look even if those things are controversial who cares who cares man like this this we have to stay away from anything that might offend anybody mentality is so dumb because everybody's offended by something I'm offended by the things they're considered mainstream because their mind numbing Lee dull and dumb the Leave It to Beaver we have a nuclear family and we never fight and in this world nobody even farts because that would be impolite that's disgusting to me you know if I was emperor that shit would get d monetized but that's the point I actually wouldn't do that if I was Emperor because all this stuff should be monetized and by the way youtube is actually genius in the way it's structured because there's a giant buffer I've never spoken to any corporation or company ever well there's the Seltzer people but they reached out to me and I happen to love seltzer but that's not the point the point is there's a giant buffer where YouTube and Google deal with advertisers and then they place the ads and I don't have to talk to the content creator excuse me I'm the content creator I have to talk to the corporation's so there's no bias I'm not talking to anybody so I get to give you whatever i'm thinking whatever i'm feeling and it gets views and then as a result of that we get paid based off the views because then more views there are the more ads there are but now they're just saying the all the companies will forget we're going to run youtube is overreacting and basically banning more topics for you to talk about and all I'm telling you all of your favorite youtubers are being crushed by this you know I don't want to get into too many specifics but let's just say the best case scenario I've seen is a fifty percent cut in revenue for your favorite youtubers forget it if the people you know if the people you watch talk about feminism talk about race you can't talk about gender you can't talk about race you can't talk about social justice warriors you can't talk about foreign policy you can't talk about religion you can't talk about drugs anything and everything interesting now they just forget it d monetize all that stuff so unfortunately I don't know what the answer is I'm just here to give you guys the facts and tell you the problem it so if I was YouTube how would I have handled this when the advertisers flipped out and said we're leaving because there's ads that go on here for content I take know that that actually isn't happening The Times the London report is a joke it's just a hack attack on YouTube and by the way how fucking convenient to as YouTube is literally eclipsing many old media outlets I mean like these Wall Street Journal wrote an attack piece on PewDiePie about a month or so ago PewDiePie is the number one youtuber do you have any idea I have insanely loyal people who listen to this show who if I say hey maybe you want to do this or that don't go do it so PewDiePie audience is way bigger than my line or anybody I know Wall Street Journal didn't attack on him calling him anti-semitic and racist meanwhile you know when you look at the details of it it was everything was out of context it was like a there was a joke a controversial joke which they just assumed was like a policy statement and acted like he's Pro Hitler's all things and so they didn't attack on him and they really got a taste firsthand the wall street journal did of just how popular and strong the YouTube audience is and then lo and behold soon after that now there's another hit piece on YouTube writ large and then the advertisers flee and it almost seems like a convenient timing where YouTube is eclipsing mainstream outlets in terms of popularity in numbers and what's the how do you need cap that how do you try to I can't just all of a sudden become more popular than us because they're not there's not as interesting there's not popular they don't do as much good work and so what do you do I don't know go for the wallet go for where it hurts get the advertisers to flee advertisers flee YouTube cracks down on more so-called controversial topics and again remember the thing there they claim they're fighting here ads on like neo-nazi videos that's not really a problem if in point one percent of cases it happens to get through which I would be amazed if that was the case if it's ninety-nine point nine percent effective what's the problem and you're cracking down on good content creators should talk about somewhat controversial stuff because you want to get the really allegedly want to get the really hateful people you already got them not only did you get them you got us the not hateful people when I do an aunty Isis video they say that's the equivalent to an Isis propaganda video when i talk about israel they say that's akin to anti-semitism when I talk about Saudi Arabia that's akin to Islamophobia when I talk about drugs that's akin to telling your kid to suck dick behind a dumpster and do crystal meth so this is really really hurting a YouTube community and this feels like old media traditional media and the establishment cracking down on this new medium which is really flourishing and really doing well and content creators who actually can make it in a free market place and it's it's a scary time it really is a scary time so don't be surprised if myself or other youtubers at some point reach out and try to find a different medium or different revenue stream because you can't with this kind of a crackdown there's no like the only thing we can hope for is that YouTube eventually comes to their senses and reverses their policy here and from what I've heard with people direct connect to youtube doesn't look like YouTube is budging on this one looks like the hysteria the hysteria has firmly taken hold and now anything and everything is viewed as slightly offensive or controversial forget about it you know it's not going to be monetized so I want to give you guys heads up about that and let you know what's happening but it really is sad because they're trying to water down YouTube to make it the opposite of what made it great there's open forum where anybody can come and say anything and you know they can end up succeeding by talk about anything turns out they're doing their best to nip that in the bud because anything anybody finds offensive well go ahead and take away the fruits of their labor and everything will be hunky-dory wish us luck is all I have to say[/learn_more]
[learn_more caption=”Video Transcript”] welcome to the program I'm again starting today with the existential crisis that the david pakman show is facing due to what is being known as the youtube advertiser boycott i want to quickly catch you up and then get to the latest news over the weekend we learned that as a result of many threats from advertisers to on youtube to pull funding we have experienced along with many other progressive youtube shows a total and complete shutdown of advertising if you go to david pakman.com the david pakman show youtube channel there are effectively no ads playing period on our videos this means that the videos are making no money it's not exactly 0 but it might as well be 0 that the channel is making something like 40 bucks a day okay this is a fundamental crisis for the show that there's no doubt about it and what is is stunning to me is that no one has answers overnight ninety-nine percent of our YouTube revenue has evaporated I wrote to youtube and I got a bogus letter back which I'll put up on the screen for you a complete form letter basically telling me Oh David there's many factors that go into when you see an ad not all videos are monetized the physical location of the viewer can impact whether an ad or not as shown this is the same thing you've been getting and you can keep it up at for people to take a look at this is the same thing that people have been getting for years no matter what your question is about YouTube ad revenue and then they do link to a blog post in this form letter that communicates absolutely nothing of value to us which is a blog post written by YouTube saying something like we are reviewing and revising our ad serving policy to strengthen blah blah blah blah blah so this is not an answer so I push back and I said listen this is a form letter I need a real answer all of our videos are still showing is monetized we are not doing more controversial content we're not swearing on the show we're not putting pictures of gore we need to understand why we are now facing an existential threat as a result of this and I got a follow-up letter from YouTube and as you can see here this was slightly better saying I checked with our specialists they confirmed that the fluctuations or drop you're seeing in your revenue or ads should end after a few weeks because we are fine-tuning our ad system to address the concerns here and they recognize as you can see if you're pat that this can be unsettling long story short the revenue may never come back meaning we have to find a way to replace it and if you look at those emails to there's just basic spelling and grammar error which may be that's nitpicking a little bit but it certainly does not inspire confidence that looks like an out route mail when I see the way that I'm being dealt with as someone who has three hundred and forty thousand subscribers and 15 million views and months on YouTube not by any means the biggest channel on YouTube but in the top couple of percent for a long time and we've committed to this platform to see that I'm getting these form letters with misspellings and grammar errors it does not inspire confidence I read an article this morning which says that this is a problem YouTube might be able to fix in the third quarter of this year which by the way is about six months from now well three to six months from now so here's the situation this is no joke this is bad shows like ours are in danger this is a danger that is unlike anything that we've experienced over the last however many years we've been doing this and the problem is that this is all trying to solve a problem that is actually not the real problem this entire ad boycott led to a shutdown of ads over the concern that too many ads were being shown on inappropriate content the problem is the opposite on YouTube the problem is that no ads are being shown on content that is not hateful and is actually valuable to increase the diversity of voices because as of right now the YouTube algorithm that determines what is a video on which we should place ads and what does video on which we should not place ads can't distinguish between Pro Isis ideology and a critique of Isis the YouTube system currently as we have been told if you have Isis as a topic you're not going to monetize that video whether you are supporting Isis or saying Isis is a problem here's how we fight Isis unacceptable and it's not even necessarily that controversial to it could be pretty much any topic when it comes to politics and religion yeah those are topics that are interesting you know people want to tune into this they have a passion for it and I guess you just can't even discuss that anymore it appears as though the term atheism now is an instant trigger on youtube 4d monetization a discussion of atheism period no d monetized would they do that further for Christianity or Judaism I guess they are cracking down on anything religious but even lack of religion as a topic apparently is too controversial so we've been hung out to dry and people are writing to me saying David it's going to get fixed because this is really going to hurt YouTube you know it's really not because news and politics is a small piece of all of YouTube's revenue and while this is completely screwing the news and politics producers like us YouTube is going to be okay because they're still going to be making the billions on makeup videos and kids cartoons and people screaming themselves playing video games and we have a three-pronged approach that we have to put in place we have to do this okay but if my goal Pat is for nothing to change as far as the show we're going to keep producing five shows a week distributing them to two hundred radio and TV stations podcast youtube channel etc but we have to replace the revenue and i need your help okay we have a three-pronged approach and there are people who are already understanding the importance of this so we had four people Pat's sign up at the maximum membership amount of four hundred and eighty dollars per year over the last 24 hours for people did that here's one caller who has doubled their membership hey david its jeremy from knoxville so I wasn't even aware of the youtube thing until you talk about on the show today I've been a member so long listening to the podcast that I just I didn't even know any of the controversy that they add well I just doubled my membership to man anybody listening just do it it's so worth it what would you do is at the show yeah it's so important it's more than just news it's it's where to go where should we go from here anyway David love the show keep it up Pat shout out everybody look at as a patch step and another person saying that they have doubled their membership as many others have done hey david this is tyler from western washington hernia a long time follower and just a recent subscriber just wanted to call and voice my support and encouragement to keep you on the air saw your video about the YouTube advertising so I i recently doubled my my subscription thank you i am and just wanted to encourage you to to fight the fight the good fight we need you out there thanks right well we're doing it and unfortunately there are detractors as i told you yesterday there are people relishing in what's going on hoping we go away yet another caller letting me know that you are the biggest asshole in the entire world and your news is fake and you don't know what you're talking about so why don't you just shut up and sit down that's why we need to take action right now okay my goal is to change nothing and here's how we're going to make that happen there are three there there's three things you can do right now to help the show ok and i'm going to talk about all three of them and this is not some amorphous thing this is action ok so number one on the list membership if you are not yet a member go to david pakman.com slash membership and sign up the normal rates are six dollars per month and 60 for the year if that's too high I get it we have a discount code it's I voted 17 all lowercase all one word I voted 17 hundreds of people signing up over the last 48 hours since this crisis started number to patreon we have launched this we already have over 100 patrons on patreon if you don't want to deal with the entire membership thing if you don't care about perks you just want to say hey David I want to replace a little bit of that loss revenue that you're facing or if you remember and you want to do a little more patreon.com slash david pakman show this is really easy we're over a hundred patrons my goal pat is to get to 250 page okay and that's the initial goal and then when we get there we're going to go to 500 because we've got to start chipping away at this thing whether it's one two five ten a hundred or a thousand dollars a month that you can contribute if you go to patreon.com/scishow at Pakman show every time we have a new donor it shows up this builds momentum people will see we have buy-in and I predict that the more patrons we get the more patrons that will follow because of the momentum that we're building so whether or not you remember go to patreon.com/scishow vad pakman show and lastly if you ever shop on amazon amazon david pakman.com slash amazon before you shop that'll send us a five to eight percent kick back on everything you buy we need diversity of voices this reallocation of add money from YouTube will go to mainstream corporate legacy media it will hurt shows like ours we need your help to fix the problem okay and and I'm calling out for everybody to help in any way that you can even if it's a dollar a month at patreon.com slash david pakman show[/learn_more]
It appeared that YouTube's vaunted eggheads had created a video ad-serving algorithm with some, er… issues. But rather than address the real problem, what YouTube decided to do (because even big corporations made up of really smart people do really, really dumb things) was to punish the very people who have made YouTube what it is today – it's content creators. Well, at least some of them.
If you're doing video game walkthroughs or cooking tips, you're probably OK. But anything “controversial” – whatever that means – and you're probably screwed. This is in the company's legalistic boilerplate on the subject, BTW. Not that you're “probably screwed.” They don't use that kind of language. It's just that if your video is “controversial,” it's not going to be monetized anymore.
In this case, if you can't guess, “controversial” means political, as that is who the change seems to be effecting most. Certain words and topics are now simply off-limits! It doesn't matter if your video is pro or con, a learned discussion, a raging debate, or anything else. If it's on a “controversial” topic, forget about making any moolah from it. It could be just about anything, though. This should give us all pause, if we intend to use YouTube at all.
[su_box title=”NOTE” box_color=”#66acb5″]The fallacy and cowardice of YouTube's rationale is laid bare when one simply turns on the TV. The very same mega-corporate advertisers which are threatening to boycott YouTube (or who have already left), continue to run their ads on network news shows, all of which feature an endless array of content which, up until this sudden hysteric over-reaction, was just fine. Apparently, this kind of content – when it appears on YouTube – is now “too controversial” for the delicate virgin eyes and ears of it's viewers. Sardonically, these are the very same folks who regularly consume content the FCC would be apoplectic over. Methinks corporate America doth protesteth too much, which causes one to wonder what the real agenda here is. And that, as they say, is another subject for another time…[/su_box]
OK. YouTube Sucks. Why Should I Care?
I know, I know. You're wondering: How is this relative to those who aren't YouTube creators and/or who don't use the platform? Or even, for that matter, for those who do use the platform, but don't do anything “controversial”?
The answer is quite simple, really: You simply can't base your business on anything you don't control. Period. And particularly not on anything like the platforms provided by these social media companies.
There it is. That is all.
See, this latest outrage from YouTube is but one of many such outrages – far too many to count now – committed by the “big guys” – the social media behemoths – against their own users. By “big guys” I mean Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like. But the smaller sites and social networks are just as guilty of it.
Remember back in school – say 3rd grade – when one kid got out of line and the whole class got punished for it? Sadly, quite often, that's the way these sites behave. All it takes is a few idiots misbehaving and/or abusing the site, and… BAM! Everybody's in trouble!
I could site chapter and verse on the many, many ways by which these big, blundering behemoths have squashed people and businesses over the years. Countless Google algorithm updates that have screwed hundreds of thousands of sites out of their hard-won rankings. Nearly endless Facebook updates, rule changes and edicts, which have screwed thousands of admins and fanpage owners in an ugly instant. There are many other examples.
What make this YouTube case far worse is that the creators here are being retroactively punished for creating content that until recently was just fine. And as Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk points out, it's looking like the YouTube algorithm that decides what is “good” content or not is so stupid, it literally cannot distinguish between perfectly reasonable, quality content that is clearly NOT hate speech, and content that is.
Good job, YouTube. Not.
As Kyle explains it – and his knowledge comes from his own interactions with YouTube and that of others like fellow content creators like David Pakman and Mike Figueroa (The Humanist Report) – all you have to do is mention a term YouTube doesn't like, and you're done.
This latest YouTube move is having a predictably devastating impact on politics and news oriented channels, and it's sure to have a profound, chilling effect right across the board. Already, many creators are talking about defecting to other, less well known video sharing sites. It's hard to know how it's all going to shake out.
Social Media Companies Love Your Castles Made of Sand!
But the point here, and the message is, do not build your online business on the back of somebody else, no matter how tempting and “easy” it seems to be. Some day, in some way, you will probably regret it. You're building equity for somebody else who does not care enough to even look out for you, much less make an effort to assist you.
Stated another way, stay away from business models that require you to be in the good graces of one of these giant, faceless monsters. Even if it seems to offer great advantages in the short term, it's building your business on a foundation of beach sand. At low tide. Not good.
We look at it this way: If you can't control major aspects of your business, it's questionable whether you really even have a business.
If you don't control every major aspect of your business, you're a junior partner in your own enterprise!
Faced with picking and choosing between you and your work and the ad revenue from a big agency or brand, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are not going to side with you. You're small fry. Losing you – to them – is no big deal, no matter how much it hurts you. Sure, your work brings in traffic that allows them to make money. But that's long term revenue. The short term revenue – and the big bucks – come from the huge corporate customers.
So the final upshot goes something like this: Social media companies have their advantages, and their place in any smart social media marketing strategy. Take advantage of what they have to offer.
Build out a great YouTube channel. Feed Twitter regularly. Keep your Facebook page fresh.
But never, ever come to rely on any one of these big social media companies – or any others for that matter – too much.
Leverage their brands to build yours, by all means, but never allow yourself to be wholly or even mostly reliant on them. Diversify your social media, traffic generation and lead acquisition just like you'd diversify your financial portfolio. Make sure you have your own site, and make sure all roads lead back to you. In the long run, you need to be building your equity, not that of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
And whatever you do, don't say or do anything “controversial” on YouTube. Whatever the hell that means.
If you want to support any of the above mentioned political commentators – smart people all (IMHO) – follow these links:
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