By Logan Pribyl
In March of 2017, Youtube took a stand against unfriendly content on their site by adding abrupt and vague changes to their ad placement rules/guidelines. Youtube stated that they were trying to crack down on “hateful, offensive, and derogatory content.” The new rules banned advertising on videos that feature “sensitive topics or events” including “war, political conflicts, terrorism or extremism, death and tragedies, sexual abuse.” As with most companies using technology these days, an algorithm is mainly responsible for being the enforcer of these guidelines. YouTube acknowledged the fact that the automated process isn’t perfect and so they offered a manual review process, which allowed users to appeal videos marked “Not suitable for all advertisers” the chance to appeal in the hopes of gaining advertisements. YouTube changed these guidelines to not lose their advertisers because of their ads playing on bad content.
These new guidelines caused for many youtubers, large and small, have caused a decrease in supply of advertisements for creators, seriously decreasing their profit from each video they make for the site. For some Youtubers, such as TimDotTV, have decided to switch platforms, or use a substituted good, to Twitch, who pays their streamers easier, more effectively, and don’t have harsh and random guidelines that can be vague and tricky to maneuver through. But the people getting the biggest hits from these new YouTube guidelines are the users posting videos from active wars, crimes, and other ‘sensitive material’ places. All they wish is for the world to know what exactly is happening in such areas, but due to YouTube’s new guidelines and policies, these videos are being mass deleted, preventing the world from truly seeing them. Some YouTubers, such as Philip DeFranco (seen below), are using another method of keeping their channels alive. That method relies solely on the viewers and their love for their YouTuber, because this method is donations and sponsors from viewers to the user to keep them from going under and having to delete their channel. Viewers donate to the channel for certain packages. In this case of DeFranco, a livestream with the user about topics the user didn’t want to make into a video, or videos being released to them personally before being released to the public.
So with the changes they hoped to boost their profits by reducing the bad image of YouTube and hopefully increasing the supply of advertisers that see the new YouTube as ‘Ad Friendly’ and more ‘Family Friendly’, increasing the demand for such videos while also decreasing the supply of most videos on YouTube. YouTube has noticed that these changes in guidelines have caused a decrease in revenue for the mass of YouTubers, and have tried to make their algorithm and guidelines less vague, but with doing so, they created more problems for other YouTubers. This issue is still unfolding to this day, October 26th, 2017, while YouTube loves their users, they are slowly pushing them further and further away from the site with these new guidelines crushing their paychecks and efforts.
Hess, Amanda. “How YouTube’s Shifting Algorithms Hurt Independent Media.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 17 Apr. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/arts/youtube-broadcasters-algorithm-ads.html.
Seavers, Kris. “YouTubers Warn: The 'Adpocalypse' Is Here-and It's Killing Them.” The Daily Dot, 18 Sept. 2017, www.dailydot.com/upstream/youtube-adpocalypse/.Weiss, Geoff. “Here's How The YouTube 'Adpocalypse' Is Affecting Top Creators.” Tubefilter, 4 May 2017, www.tubefilter.com/2017/05/04/how-youtube-adpocalypse-affected-top-creators/.