It has been over a year since YouTube’s Adpocalypse began, but the video sharing giant is still struggling to regain the confidence of creators — despite numerous well-intentioned efforts. The unrest surrounding the platform’s reactionary monetization rules and limitations has been compounded by a series of missteps on YouTube’s part. And it doesn’t help that both creators and journalists — including us here at Videomaker — are now scrutinizing the platform more closely than ever.
Though original inferno of outrage over changes to YouTube’s monetization policies has subsided somewhat, there is still plenty of bad news for creators to focus on. Recent reports of undisclosed testing and deleted channels only add fuel to the Adpocalypse fire. It certainly doesn’t look good for YouTube’s image when major news outlets run headlines like, “YouTube thumbnail experiment may impact millions of users, frustrating creators” and “YouTube terminates accounts promoting Twitch streams.”
Recent reports of undisclosed testing and deleted channels only add fuel to the Adpocalypse fire.
Though original inferno of outrage over changes to YouTube’s monetization policies has subsided somewhat, there is still plenty of bad news for creators to focus on.
At the same time, even superficially positive developments, like new efforts to crack down on fake news, are met with derision and skepticism. Cries of censorship echo from one side of the spectrum while the opposite extreme claims the platform is still not doing enough to combat the proliferation of conspiracy theory videos. YouTube just can’t catch a break.
To give YouTube some credit, the platform is at least trying to address the hardships creators have faced over the past year when it comes to revenue. They’ve rolled out new programs for monetization that bypass the issues of brand safety that set off the Adpocalypse in the first place. Built-in options for creating channel merchandise and receiving support from subscribers through the Sponsorship program are both steps in the right direction.
However, it’s not possible to say yet whether these new tools will be enough to assuage creator concerns. Plus, both options require considerably more effort to implement compared to the relatively simple process of enabling pre-roll advertising on your uploads.
Despite the flaws we can undoubtedly find in YouTube’s policy implementation and feature roll-outs, it’s too soon to label YouTube a sinking ship. YouTube is still a place of community, and many relationships and support networks built on the platform are still thriving. Monetized or not, creators are still posting videos and sharing their lives with their fans. This is what YouTube as a company should be focusing on. While advertising dollars allow the platform to operate, it is the content that brings in viewers.
If we could go back in time with the insights we have now, perhaps YouTube would have reacted differently to the original advertising boycott. Perhaps the platform would have more thoroughly considered the impact policy changes can have on creators. Perhaps they would understand that creators are the foundation on which YouTube is built.
But we can’t go back in time, so, assuming YouTube does actually care about creators, the best the platform can do now is listen. And as for creators, keep giving YouTube your feedback at any available opportunity. Make suggestions. Tell them what is and isn’t working. Be polite, but also make them understand that if they continue to erode the platform’s foundation, eventually there won’t be anything left.
In any case, YouTube has a steep hill to climb before they can regain the trust of both creators and the general public. As more creators look for monetization alternatives, it’s up to YouTube to keep up with the competition without further alienating its current user base. In the meantime, all we can do is wait for the next platform update and give YouTube as much feedback as possible.
Nicole care about the future of online video. She’s also Videomaker’s managing editor.