YouTube changes the rules… Again.

YouTube changes the rules again, it seems.  They have made some drastic changes to its monetization plan. Most of these changes will affect the small content creators the most. The new rules state that in order for creators to be eligible for the partner program, they have to have a total watch time of 4000 hours in the past 12 months and a minimum of 1000 subscribers. These are the ones that have channels that can be monetized through Google AdSense. This is a major departure from YouTube’s previous policy which only required the channels to have 10,000 lifetime views.

In a blog post from YouTube executives, they acknowledge that:

life will change for a significant number of channels under this new system. YouTube defends his decision by noting that “99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month.”

Backlash Storm

As you can imagine, the backlash from small YouTube bloggers was instant and unrelenting. Some are worried about their channels’ revenue totally driving up. Others felt like they were being driven from the community itself.  Still others are crying “Censorship!”.

I can empathize with some of the smaller creators.  You are just trying to find your way on this platform. But one thing they need to realize is that YouTube is, first off, an ad platform. YouTube is not necessarily just a video hosting platform. The video hosting is there simply to provide content for the ad revenue. It is and has always has been an ad-revenue-first business.

Needed Changes

Businesswise, the changes are probably a smart move. YouTube has got to protect both themselves and their platform. The advertisers are at the top of the food chain, not the content creators. YouTube is a business that relies on ad revenue in order to pay the creators and pay the engineers and the coders who run the platform itself. If advertisers can’t feel like they can trust YouTube to put their ads in the proper places they will eventually stop spending money on YouTube.

The proper placement is somewhere that will provide the correct return on their ad investment for them. Of course, if that happened, the top YouTubers, for whom this is a primary source of income, would be forced to just leave the platform and go to a competitor.

Balancing Act

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find a platform that has just a strong advertising presence and get set up with them. On the other hand, from YouTube’s perspective, with no top creators, which also means no brand affiliation, and no advertising revenue coming in. The YouTube platform becomes only a platform and becomes an archive of video content that people can use but nobody can build a career on.

I don’t foresee this policy remaining as it is for long.  I am sure it will receive many edits and tweeks in the coming weeks.


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About Eric Alexander

I've been designing and search-optimizing websites for well over a decade. I build custom websites in Lawton, Oklahoma for businesses all around the country, and help them get found in the Search Engines. Give me a call.