YouTube Revises Monetization Policy, Disqualifies Creator Accounts


By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

YouTube’s so-called “Adpocalypse” against content creators is evolving again, and not for the better. As the streaming media portal recently announced yet another change in their monetization policy, life is about to get even more difficult for less popular content creators to get paid.

Back in April of 2017, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard. – YouTube Blog Post

Image credit – John Alred, DIY Photography

It was only a last Spring that the YouTube Partnership Program had resumed its original monetization qualification where content creators needed to reach 10,000 lifetime views before monetization would be authorized. To that end, many beginning content creators have felt the pinch, loosing any precious ad pennies that the streaming video site sent their way.

Additionally, the site had adjusted the algorithm to make it difficult for some controversial videos to be seen or get trending, and canceled monetization without notice on videos that the site didn’t consider advertiser friendly.

It was the next step in an on-going war on content creators, which were being forced into doing brand sponsored videos, which the site quashed, or appealed to their fans to fund their effort directly through Patreon campaigns.

Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors).

Now, the site has changed their requirements yet again, to make it even more difficult to start out on YouTube and make a living. Effective immediately, content creators will be required to have a minimum of 1000 subscribers and 4,000 total hours of watch time in the previous 12 months to qualify for the YouTube Partnership Program.

The subscriber threshold isn’t really that high of a bar, since content creators have gotten pretty good at applying the techniques of encouraging viewer subscriptions and even having giveaways to boost their viewer base. But the total viewing time is a challenge.

In a realm where a 2-3 minute video gets the most engagement, a 4000 total hour threshold translates to 240,000 minutes of viewing time, or about 80,000 views. We’re talking viral territory here and that is a tough road to hoe when you’re starting out and trying to put out a consistent product to keep your growing numbers engaged.

Even worse, the site isn’t even grandfathering in those channels that qualified under the previous requirements. Some content creators, including DIY Photography’s John Alred, were notified via email that their YPP membership was being terminated unless their meet the new requirements within the next 30 days. I also have to question the “in the last twelve months” language. Does that mean that channels will have to re-qualify every year?

YouTube does promise, however, that those channels who lose monetization will be able to automatically be reevaluated once they reach the new threshold. Unless they decide to raise the threshold again, that is. And any Creator Academy tools will still be accessible to help reach those new goals.

YouTube is trying to sanitize content so advertisers can feel comfortable getting in front of that lucrative millennial audience, but we all a buncha nasty boys into nasty vids now. – Freddie Wong, Twitter

YouTube claims that they arrived to the new threshold through an analysis of traffic and conversations with content creators, with the goal of driving revenue towards positive members of the community and away from so-called “bad actors.”

YouTube is solving a problem that I just don’t understand. I’m not saying it isn’t a problem, just that it is not visible to me as a creator or a viewer. Without more information on these “bad actors”, I don’t know what to think. – Hank Green, Twitter

But help me out here, YouTube. How does it prevent bad actors like Logan Paul or PewDie Pie, who already has zoomed past that figure from getting paid for showing content that isn’t advertiser friendly?  YouTube seems to address that issue as well, saying that a single, large or popular channel will get the “personal treatment,” of private conversations on how to take that issue. Yeah, uh huh.

YouTube also says that the new viewing requirements won’t be the only criteria for qualifying. The site will still be looking at community strikes, spam, and abuse flagging to determine who is seeking to game the system, and who isn’t making content it views to be acceptable.

In spite of moving the goal posts farther out, YouTube says that their numbers indicate more content creators made a living on the site in 2017, and that six figure earning was up over 40% from 2016. The channel says, however, that 99% of those affected were making less than $100 a year, and most were making less than $2.50 a month. And since YouTube won’t even send you a check unless you have made $100 in ad money, it’s really not a huge impact.

So if that’s the case, is this really a big deal? Well, yes and no. As Alred says, for most their loosing the equivalent of a few cups of coffee, and that users can treat this as motivation to redouble their efforts and put out better content to drive up their views.

There’s a psychological component of being unvalued by YouTube as well, and the feeling that partnership in the YouTube Program provides credibility. I don’t know if YouTube has incentive to fight against that, but to lean into it,- Hank Green

Sure, the shift is largely symbolic. What I think is a bigger impact is to morale. Many content creators laboring to be established and accepted by the portal, just got yet another gut punch, and it seems to me that YouTube wants to keep more of the little guy’s money, while protecting the goose that laid the golden egg … their premium and larger channels.

Shame on them.

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About James DeRuvo 173 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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