Youtube is one heck of a site. It’s worth money than most of the UK, has over a billion users (that’s one third of the total number of people on the internet), and is written in 76 languages. Everyone loves youtube. So why is it facing anger again?
Youtube Loves Change
Youtube is known as a platform that isn’t afraid of change. It loves editing the rulebook on what’s acceptable content and what isn’t, it loves to change how people interact with one another and how videos are fed to people. Why is this a problem? After Google bought youtube in 2007 some great changes were made including adding a drop down menu to the site allowing for easy access to different popular videos and having all the categories under a section called “videos”. These were really important additions because they made the website more accessible than before.
In an interview about Google’s acquisition of Youtube (something that cost Alphabet.Inc. $1.65bn by the way) Google’s CEO at the time was quoted saying “This is the next step in the evolution of the internet.”
Featured videos is long-running favourite among content creators and users alike. It’s great to know so easily what people like you are really into and what everyone thinks is funny. It also provides great access to incredible (or just very silly) content. Another favourite is the comment section. While comments are a place for debates and trolling they’re also a great way to easily express appreciation for a video or creator. You can share ideas and even engage easily with YouTubers and most make sure they read every comment. What’s not to like? Well…
Five years ago Google did the unthinkable. By integrating the failing google+ software into Youtube it forced many people to rethink their viewing habits and damaged view rates significantly. Google+ was now required to create channels, comment on videos and share links so people simply stopped watching. Google was posting comments to Google+ profiles, kept a list of every video you watched. Horrific, right? Thousands of YouTubers and users spoke out against Google. People were locked out of Youtube because they didn’t want to create a Google+ account and Google, at the time, wasn’t having any of it. Here’s a song one YouTuber wrote to vent about the situation. (strong language from the start)
Subscribers are almost always the point of having a YouTube channel. Subscribers = worth. So why are YouTube upping the number of subscribers needed before content creators can monetise their videos? Monetisation plays an important role among many communities across YouTube. People use their earnings for charity, to live off or, in some cases, to support their YouTube hobby. By stopping the monetisation of videos from smaller channels, Google is removing one of the two key rewards content creators get from their career.
Don’t worry, this won’t be a maths test. Youtube has been testing different AI (Artificial Intelligence) algorithms for as long as they have been owned by Google. What’s shocking, though, is that in the last year millions of YouTubers have had to quit because they’re not feeling the reward for the hard work like they once did. Instead YouTube channels have to get millions of views to get 100K views in the first week to even show up in users’ recommended.
A bigger change to content creators is that feeds are no longer presented in chronological order. This means that viewers are missing their favourite ‘Tubers uploads and YouTubers are missing out on engagements from views to comments to shares. YouTubers are falling into a hole where if their videos don’t organically get 100,000 views just from publicity on other platforms within a week, their video is unlikely to get many views at all. This is further taking away YouTubers’ passion to create videos because their reach isn’t there anymore.
In 2017 millions of users stopped accessing YouTube because Google had started the process of pushing away smaller YouTubers. This was because their value, in comparison to the whole company, was small. YouTubers have been angry about it ever since. YouTube algorithms changed to prioritise larger YouTubers in dashboards, recommended feeds and the sidebar. This year got even worse. Now feeds aren’t linear it means a lot more content creators are finding it hard to get the stats they once did. Fewer views, subscribers and likes means less money coming in. YouTube isn’t putting the effort in to make the platform more rewarding, either.
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