back to article YouTube turns off cash tap for automatic video nasties

YouTube’s changed its rules to exclude low-traffic channels from its Partner Program, the scheme that sees it share ad revenue with video-makers. The streaming site justified the change by citing “several issues affecting our community” including “spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors”. Some of that content includes …

  1. Hans 1
    Happy

    Anything youtube does to fight spammers, scamers, impersonators etc is good ... if they could mark silly flat earth vids and the like as fantasy while they are at it ...

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Windows

      "Anything is good"

      Maybe Youtube could start at the C-level

      That "most powerful lady of the Internet" who fires her underling geeks because they make her feel bad and make her invent stories about how her kids allegedly ask awkward questions about unsolved social justice problems at dinner sure is busy.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      WTF?

      I'm still yet to understand why youtube recommends flat earth and similar videos to me. Most of what I watch is entirely factual, including a lot of science documentaries, so surely I'm the last person who'd be interested in that tosh?

      Perhaps they're expecting me to watch one, get angry, and start commenting, thus boosting "engagement".

      1. ravenviz

        yet to understand why youtube recommends flat earth and similar videos to me

        Obviously wanting to offer you “balance”.

    3. Oh Homer
      Facepalm

      "Disturbing" content?

      If all it takes to "disturb" these spineless drama queens is a few Peppa the Pig parodies then I weep for the millennial generation.

      I grew up watching stuff like Outer Limits, Twilight Zone, Hammer House of Horror, The Wicker Man and Eraserhead, to name a few. I spent more than a few Saturday evenings hiding from Daleks behind the settee. Even stuff like The Tomorrow People was fairly dark and disturbing, and that's just the opening credits.

      I suppose it's symptomatic of a milksop generation that has imaginary "allergies" to everything, and which needs "safe spaces" to hide from that vicious beast called reality. I dread to think how they'd cope if they had to do something actually traumatic, like fight in a war or rescue someone from a burning building.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Disturbing" content?

        If all it takes to "disturb" these spineless drama queens is a few Peppa the Pig parodies then I weep for the millennial generation.

        I don't have a problem with parodies as such, it's when the mother-in-law is sitting with her grand daughter watching Peppa Pig videos and a violent pornographic version comes up with no warning that I object to. Not sure you can compare that to a dalek on the TV?

    4. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

      Why?

      The point of YouTube is that it allows anybody post whatever they fancy.

    5. gnarlymarley

      Anything youtube does to fight spammers, scamers, impersonators etc is good

      The problem with any change like this is there will probably be honest and hard working folks that are caught in this change too. In the firewall world, we call those both false-positives and false-negatives. I hope they can clean up the crap while not affecting good honest people trying to start out, but what I have seen in this life so far says that that is not possible.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The Register has found users who apply a text-to-speech engine to some of our stories and puts the resulting audio files on YouTube, accompanied by a pretty picture."

    Maybe it's an accessibility service for blind people?

    1. Known Hero

      Thank you for providing a reasonable an innocent response, it's very nice to not always be cynical.

      For example. Just the other day, a client saw somebody crouched down hiding behind their car in the front garden, turns out it was a old lady who hid because she was terrified of some other dogs were going to attack her or her dog, so she was just scared, who knew the world is not always such a bad place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re: Known Hero

        "For example. Just the other day, a client saw somebody crouched down hiding behind their car in the front garden, turns out it was a old lady who hid because she was terrified of some other dogs were going to attack her or her dog"

        Old School, "Dead Drop", or tracker planting.

    2. DontFeedTheTrolls
      Go

      Further, surely it wouldn't take much for the original El Reg author to provide a voice version of their story and upload them all to one single El Reg channel.

      Perhaps donate the profits to Charity if they're as low as google claim.

      (does Shirley work in El Reg Towers?)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I hate to break it to you but you're not going to make much money on ads for a channel used for accessibility for the blind. The idea is sound though.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Downvotes for pointing our the bleeding obvious, who knew?

        2. handleoclast

          The idea is sound though.

          Upvoted for the pun.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Deluge of toy opening and Spiderman/Elsa videos in the partner program

    Come February 20th the algorithmic creeps will have to work harder, because after that date they won’t be admitted into the Partner Program until their channels hit 1,000 subscribers and a total of 4,000 viewing hours. Anticipating automation to hit those figures, YouTube said that channels reaching those thresholds will still face scrutiny “under strict criteria to ensure they comply with our policies.”

    Those figures are paltry and easily beaten and when you flag a dodgy children's video it just won't go away as it's supposedly within their T&Cs.

    Also I doubt the quality in their partner program will be very high, I bet there are more videos I'd want to watch which earn less than $100 a year than those which earn money at the other end of the scale.

  4. P. Lee

    I have a question!

    Do they not put adverts on low-traffic sites or just not pay out?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Facepalm

      Re: I have a question!

      Of course they put adverts on them !

      And then pocket the money themselves...

      All this is just a way to increase their own revenue...

      1. Korev Silver badge

        Re: I have a question!

        Won't the revenue be the same and the profit higher (due to lower costs)?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I have a question!

        Are there actually ads on Youtube? I've never seen any.

      3. inmypjs Silver badge

        Re: I have a question!

        "Of course they put adverts on them !"

        Blocking seems to be very effective on youtube.

        What I see a lot and expect will see more in the future is content creators embedding advertising in their content. Perhaps because I watch too many channels which have long been demonetised by google for their political content.

        Google continue to be dicks as usual throwing out minority interest content along with zero interest content. I have already seen complaint from a popular content creator who maintains additional smaller channels for specialised content that will now earn them nothing.

    2. AndyS

      Re: I have a question!

      Despite the other cynical response, adverts are only run against a video if the creator selects them, and revenue is shared with the creator. Unless they make other changes to the T&C, there is no reason to believe they will run ads against videos on channels which cannot be monetised.

      The exception is when copyrighted music is used, ads are run and the revenue goes to the copyright holder. Again, no reason to think this will change.

  5. Haku

    *checks YouTube channel stats*

    Total viewing time: Over 55,137 hours (6.2 years).

    Nice!

    Number of subscribers: 972.

    Awww.

    1. RAMChYLD
      Mushroom

      Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

      > Number of subscribers: 972.

      > Awww.

      You think that's bad? Try a channel with only 44 subscribers and less than 300 views a month. Up until this point I have nothing interesting to offer tho.

      I decided that my new year resolution for 2018 was to finally get serious with my Youtube channel because the shitty Malaysian economy overall had left me almost a pauper (price of goods going up, but my pay had not changed over the last three years- company's official stand was "business was bad"), but just as I start to put some elbow grease and started producing videos, Youtube waltzes up and move the goalpost farther away. All so those successful channels like Markiplier and Linus Tech Tips can continue raking more money at the expense of making it harder for newbies like me to break into the market...

      1. Haku

        Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

        Yes, moving the goalposts at this point has just widened the gap between the currently successful and those who are almost/want to be successful.

        To be honest I've never seen my YouTube account as anything other than an online video depository for random videos I want to share with maybe a few individuals, I have no interest in turning myself into a brand / 'personality' and think the whole situation of people (generally young) desparately trying to build up a following is quite amusing.

        The thing I've observed from various channels I frequent (tech stuff such as EEV Blog, AvE, Techmoan, multirotor reviewers/educators etc.) is that the successful ones have seen the decline of YouTube ad revenue coming from a mile off so they're on the Patreon platform which for some is generating them more money direct from subscribers than advertisers on YouTube, in fact one multirotor guy recently quit his job and is doing YouTube / Patreon full time now.

        1. AndyS

          Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

          > in fact one multirotor guy recently quit his job and is doing YouTube / Patreon full time now

          Joshua Bardwell

          Drew (le drib)

          Stingerswarm

          Stu (UAVFutures)

          ...That is 4 in the last couple of months that I can think of. I guess there is a fair bit of money in the hobby just now!

          And you are right, all of them have sources of income other than Youtube.

      2. Solarflare

        Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

        526 subscribers • 560,146 views

        Having one or two popular vids and then pretty much abandoning the platform will do that to you though I suppose...

        1. Haku

          Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

          Solarflare, that's almost exactly the same reason why I have so many subscribers & views, a few of my random videos got a heck of a lot of views.

          It does make me wonder why my subscriber count doesn't drop, it's not as if I'm particularly consistant with the content & timing of my uploads, they're generally about whatever hobby I'm into at the time.

      3. Hans 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

        be creative, is what I say ... go, go, go ... think further, always think further and you will make it ... if you try hard enough that is ...

      4. VinceH

        Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

        "You think that's bad? Try a channel with only 44 subscribers and less than 300 views a month. Up until this point I have nothing interesting to offer tho."

        Ahem. Fewer than.

        But that aside, during 2017 I'm sure I saw something from YouTube saying a channel's videos could no longer be monetised until the channel had reached 10,000 views. (Logging in to check, mine currently stands at 6,739 on the main channel).

        Prior to the change, though, I had built up a small balance - it currently stands at a whopping 92p, though I think half that probably dates back to long before I put anything on YouTube and is from when I was young and foolish and actually had Google advertising on a website.

        Oh, those heady days.

        "as I start to put some elbow grease and started producing videos, Youtube waltzes up and move the goalpost farther away."

        Yup. And because I logged in to check those numbers above, I can also point out that it's worse than El Reg says. The article says "until their channels hit 1,000 subscribers and a total of 4,000 viewing hours" but looking at the monetisation page, it actually says (my emphasis):

        "You can apply for monetisation at any time. To be approved, all channels need at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. This requirement allows us to properly evaluate new channels, and helps protect the creator community."

    2. DontFeedTheTrolls
      Devil

      Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

      "Number of subscribers: 972."

      Not trying very hard if you can't find an extra 28 "subscribers". (maybe a few more just to be on the safe side)

      1. Haku

        Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

        @DontFeedTheTrolls, you're absolutely right, in fact I've never tried to get subscribers to my channel, I just checked one day and went "holy crap, I've got hundreds of subscribers!" then went about the rest of my day like nothing happened :)

        Whenever I see someone plead "like and subscribe" on their YT video(s) I get this vibe from them that comes across as "Acknowledge my existance! ACKNOWLEDGE MY EXISTANCE!!!"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: *checks YouTube channel stats*

      Go to the subyourfellowredditor sub reddit, they'll push you over that 1000 subscriber line.

      I'm a small time youtuber, only do it because I enjoy making my videos for friends so this change won't really affect me. But I have been using that sub to help others.

  6. msknight Silver badge

    4,000 hours in the preceeding 12 months

    It was mentioned that the hourly viewing target was in the last 12 month period, so if that is correct then people could find themselves demonetised.

  7. James 51
    Childcatcher

    There will be a large number of niche vloggers who will be hit. I wonder if sites such as dailymotion are posed to benefit.

  8. Korev Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Baby with the bathwater?

    I know someone with a channel dedicated to her diagnosis and recovery from a rareish cancer. It was an unexpected bonus for her to make a bit of money out of her channel (which came in handy for medical bills); I don't see why she should suffer because of spammers/scammers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Baby with the bathwater?

      Spammers and scammers is merely Google's latest euphemism for corporate greed.

  9. koswix

    Adsense

    There's a comment in the announcement that existing earnings will be paid out in line with adsense policies. Fees this mean that if you haven't met the payment threshold as of 20th Feb, they'll keep your money?

    I want my 26 quid please!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This has nothing to do with Video quality and everything to do with reducing the amount of advertising slots so that they can maintain a floor under the advertising prices.

    I'm surprised that no one seems to have mentioned the fact that YouTube are removing most of their advertising space - there is obviously a glut of content and Google just don't have the ads to fill it.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is pretty much going to kill at lot of small channels that offer unique content that doesn't attract a load of viewers/subscribers but does bring in a bit of money for the channel owner.

    I run such a channel and perhaps make $10 a month for ad revenue, but it was slowly growing every month with viewer as I was building it up when i got some spare time, then they go and drop this on me yesterday. The videos I upload do take time and effort to create so getting some beer money back from it was nice, i am not sure now whether to continue or to just abandon youtube now.

    Youtube should have a 1000 sub or 4000 hour video threshold, not everyone subscribes to a channel because they watched a video, I subscribe to about 4 channels on YT, yet watch loads of videos from other channels. Just like i occasionally watch shows on Channel 5 on regular TV yet don't want to know about every program they are showing.

    1. UncleNick

      Sorry, I don't accept your argument... "perhaps" $10 a month is a pitiful sum, approx 1 hour of UK minimum wage, and will not be supporting the output of a channel in the slightest. If you're willing to do it for almost nothing, you're willing to do it for actually nothing.

    2. tiggity Silver badge

      .. and a channel with lots of subscribers / views might still be pumping out poor quality content- just in a popular "niche".

      Whereas high quality content in a "niche" that only a small amount of people are interested in will suffer.

      High consumption does not magically always equal high quality, nor does low consumption always equal low quality

      If we look at UK TV, "Mrs Browns Boys" gets lots of viewers, but it's not exactly the highest quality content ever produced, whereas some in association with the Open University art history documentary on BBC4 may be top quality but get very few viewers.

  12. Dominion

    Subscribers

    I've never seen the point of subscribing to a channel. The content that comes up when I go to YouTube is based upon previous viewing habits, so if something new from a channel that I'm interested in is published I'll see it anyway. Being a subscriber doesn't add value for me. I get only paying out after x number of views, or total viewing hours, but not based on subscribers.

    1. msknight Silver badge

      Re: Subscribers

      They are useful to the creator though. Motivation to create more content. And that creates value for you, in the realms of more videos to watch.

      I'm not monetised, and I'm not on Patreon either... however, upthumbs and subscriber count does go towards morale. So if you like a channel, it's worth subscribing or upthumbing a video if you want to encourage them.

      1. Scott 26

        Re: Subscribers

        @msknight - giving you an upvote to encourage more comments like this from you

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Subscribers

      The content that comes up when I go to YouTube is apparently completely and totally random, so subscribing lets me know when people I'm interested in post new videos.

  13. Tigra 07

    Dear Reg

    You should have filed a copyright claim against that channel and had their videos removed or demonetised.

  14. Naich

    It's the principle rather than the money

    I cycle to work when I can and invested in a cheap lid cam to record dickheads who become outraged at the fact I exist. I found it cathartic to put videos of them on YT and make a few pennies from their behaviour. When I say pennies, I mean pennies - last year I earned 48p, but it's the principle that counts. I might have just had a near death experience with a knob in a BMW, but at least it will partly pay for a packet of peanuts.

  15. stu 4

    youtube bullshit

    I've been with them 10 years plus. 800 subs. 3000 hours in last year.

    So as of next month I lose the $100 a year - but really that's not the issue - it's the utter bullshit reasons they give - they are quite happy for arseholes like Logan Paul to make millions. Quite happy to pollute the channels with unboxing crap and clickbait - that all makes them tons of money so sod whether it's worthwhile or not.

    How the flying fuck do the changes they make to cut off the income to small guys solve any spam problems whatsoever ? they don't. they just take away the small feedback I had where I thought I was achieving something.

    Well yesterday I cancelled all monetizing on my channel - which at least stops youtube making the 90% over the next month on adverts they don't give to me. If there was a viable alternative with a good reach I'd move in a shot.

    I bloody hate google in all it's forms - I've been with youtube long before it was google, but now they've managed to add their corporate crap to it too.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: youtube bullshit

      "How the flying fuck do the changes"...

      You're looking at it from the point of view of Google claiming to tidy up the crap.

      You should be looking at it from the point of view of Google having just fucked you over to get your content "for free". It's a blatant grab.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: youtube bullshit

      Try patreon. You'll only need need 8 or 9 patreons giving you $1 per month to be back to where you are and chances are, if your content is worth it, may end with more. I'm sure they take their cut somehow but it seems to be the best alternative (and staying on YT).

  16. BlueTemplar

    Small YouTubers might want to check out some alternatives :

    First there's Flixxo :

    https://torrentfreak.com/popcorn-time-creator-readies-bittorrent-blockchain-powered-youtube-competitor-171012/

    a peer-to-peer decentralized video-sharing network that wants to pay the people that :

    - create the videos

    - host the videos

    - share the links to these videos

    - watch advertising

    using a cryptotoken

    - that the viewers will spend.

    *(disclaimer : I helped to fund Flixxo trough their ICO)*

    ----

    However, if you're allergic to cryptocurrencies and would rather like to get rid of advertising on the Internet, there's Flattr 2.0 :

    https://www.ctrl.blog/entry/flattr2

    a browser extension that records what websites you visit and how much you "engage" with them,

    and then at each end of the month gives (most of) the money that you send to them to the creators that have registered their websites,

    according to how much you interacted with these websites during that month.

    (Though I'm afraid that the underlying issue,

    with YouTube and Patreon being less and less willing to "monetize" small creators due to payment fees being too high :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QljutZwf5w0

    will affect Flattr in the same manner - cryptocurrencies might be the only solution to the final micropayment to the creator...)

  17. druck Silver badge
    Holmes

    Bots

    I'm sure there are bot nets to hire which will subscribe to your channel and 'watch' as many hours of video as you like.

  18. Lord_Beavis
    Trollface

    At leat you're honest...

    "Or turning our nonsense into videos."

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