YouTube’s Money Grab
It’s with a mix of great disappointment, anger and frustration that I write to you today to explain what’s happening over at YouTube. Platform owner Google today has implemented an important change that affects a great many YouTube creators, including Grand Adventure.
Beginning in April 2017, YouTube changed the minimum requirements for its Partner Program, which unlocks several features for video creators including the ability to monetize videos. When YouTube videos are monetized, Google shares a small portion of the advertising revenue gained through watching videos with the creator of those videos.
Those requirements included a minimum of 10,000 video views to apply for the program. We worked hard to achieve that threshold, and first reached it in late December 2017. At that point our application to join the program was pending a manual review, a process that normally takes about a week but was delayed, according to YouTube, first by “a few weeks” and then until late January 2018. A message on our account dashboard urged us to be patient.
Then late last night, that message changed. YouTube abruptly moved the goalpost, now requiring 4,000 hours of video viewing during the previous 12 months, and a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. Our application that had been pending review was aborted by YouTube, as even though we had qualified legitimately Google deemed Grand Adventure to be no longer qualified. As a brand new channel, the new standard will take significantly more time to achieve — most likely the better part of a year — and there’s nothing to prevent YouTube from again changing the target before we achieve this new objective.
Now, let’s be honest here — we weren’t going to get rich by entering the YouTube Partner Program. At our current viewership levels, YouTube monetization would’ve only generated enough per month to perhaps buy us a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Instead, it’s the principle that’s got our goat. YouTube prompted us to work towards a certain goal, and then pulled the rug out from under our feet once we achieved that goal. In addition, YouTube out-and-out lied when they indicated that our application was pending review by the end of January, when they intended to change the standard all along.
Why would YouTube do this? They claim that it’s to weed out “bad actors” who produce videos that advertisers try to avoid placing ads on, but seemingly that’s a red herring. YouTube places ads on all videos, not just those on channels that qualify for their Partner Program. The only plausible explanation is that Google wants to retain more revenue and avoid sharing it with many of its smaller creators, without whom the YouTube ecosystem would not even exist. And we smaller creators lack any leverage whatsoever to force Google to play fairly.
In reality, there is no other online video platform that will allow us to gain the exposure and viewership that YouTube provides, so we really have no option available to us. Google is a true monopoly, and they’re misbehaving like one.
Thank you for allowing me to vent to you, our valued viewers and subscribers. We now have a new target to try to achieve, and I thank you in advance for helping us to achieve that target. So keep subscribing, watching and liking our videos, and please — share our videos and our channel with your friends and fellow outdoor enthusiasts, either through social media or simply by shooting them a quick email share. Together, we’ll grow and hopefully achieve the success for Grand Adventure that right now sits further out on the horizon.