Demonized and Demonetized: The 5 Things You Can’t Do On YouTube
A not so recent YouTube policy has Youtubers feeling “stabbed in the back.”
Starting August 31st Youtubers began receiving notification from the site alerting them that specific videos of theirs violated guidelines and would no longer be monetized. Many of YouTube’s stars, large and small, have suddenly realized that a number of their videos, going back many years, are not generating revenue because of violations. The majority of Youtuber’s are making it no secret they feel betrayed, as the most sacred aspect of online video, freedom, seems to be under threat. The truth is however, they never had any freedom at all.
Since the dawn of monetization on YouTube there have been “Guidelines for advertiser friendly content.”
These rules give YouTube the right to yank the ads from any monetized videos their algorithm does not deem fit. At the end of August 2016, in a ‘too little too late’ move of transparency, YouTube decided to start alerting creators when one of their videos failed to meet guidelines. Although these guidelines have been enforced for years, YouTubers, only now finding out about violations, feel betrayed. Most notably, platform star, Philip DeFranco has claimed it feels like he has been “stabbed in the back” after dedicating 10 years to the site. For creators trying to support themselves by monetizing content, the sudden realization that failing to meet strict and ill-defined guidelines has and will cost them in the future is terrifying.
Which begs the question:
What can’t you do on YouTube when monetizing content?!?!
Get ready to be told what to do by socially conservative men in suits!
1. Drugs are bad, Mmmmkay
You can’t “Promote drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items”
Drugs! Of any kind. From caffeine in your coke, to coke in your coke, using, or even promoting the use of drugs is enough to loose your rights to monetize. Legal or not, they are banned.
2. No F*#@$#% cursing
You can’t use “ Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language”
Unsure what “Inappropriate language, including harassment, profanity and vulgar language” looks like? Take a gander at literally any YouTube comment section. This gives YouTube ultimate power, as inappropriate language is an inappropriately subjective term. What constitutes inappropriate language is not defined, meaning YouTube can claim just about any word may be vulgar, or harassing.
3. America’s favorite, Violence!
You can’t show “Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism”
Once again an ill-defined term by YouTube. In this case violence, gives the site disturbing power of discretion here. Is all violence banned? Is a boxing match considered violent? What about all those video games our parents thought would make you a serial killer? Is cartoon violence a violation?
4. Lets talk about sex baby lets talk about…oh we cant talk about that, ok never mind.
You can’t have “Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humor”
Cover up those ankles and wrists; you do not want to excite those ad executives. This is the Internet and there are other sites for these types of things, however suggestive content and sexual humor are the basis for an overwhelming number of videos. Stand up acts, pranks, sketches, skits, adult cartoons and shows often have jokes and underlying themes varying from innuendo to obscene.
5. LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE!
You cannot have videos with “Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown”
We are going to call this one YouTube’s Drumpf card. Primarily because it gives them unlimited, unchecked power. If what you are saying for any reason offends the sensibilities of YouTube, you have violated the guidelines. No matter how thin a tightrope you walk, YouTube reserves the right to make certain subjects untouchable.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely…
It is this sort of vagueness leaving definitions up to YouTube’s discretion that essentially yields the site unlimited power. When people’s lively hoods are at stake, this lack of transparency is horrifying. When your job is to produce videos that get views, working under such ambiguous and strict terms is stifling.
I know what you are thinking. “But creators don’t have to monetize their content if they want to ignore these terms. Also I’ve seen monetized videos that violate all of these rules, YouTube is not that strict.” That may be true, but many creators rely on 100% creative freedom to produce their content, that is why they turned to the platform in the first place. YouTube may be flexible on these terms now, but as many Youtubers found out recently, at any moment, a switch could be flipped and their primary source of income could be gone forever.
Does freedom still exist online for content creators?
Creators are forced to make a difficult decision every time they commence production on a new video. Do they sell out and conform to collect their cut of the ad revenue, work around the rules and risk making nothing, or do something revolutionary; take their videos off platform!
Unreel.me provides creators with their own custom branded video streaming site and apps for free. As the creator, you become the platform, you decide your own guidelines, and you get to keep the lion’s share of the revenue. Enable ads or place your content behind a subscription or VOD pay wall. As your own platform, you have the freedom to express your artistic creativity as you wish. Make videos you know your fans will love worry free and make more money with a much fairer rev share model.