Last week, in a vlog I posted about here, Casey pledged to donate all AdSense revenues from a video to victims of the shooting in Las Vegas. Following that announcement, Youtube demonetized his video, claiming that they do not place ads in front of content which involves tragedies. Casey and others were not happy.
Interestingly enough, as Casey, Phil DeFranco, and others have pointed out, this company policy did not extend to Jimmy Kimmel, whose video “Jimmy Kimmel on Mass Shooting on Las Vegas” was spared demonetization, despite actually discussing the incident, as opposed to Casey’s simple pledge of support.
The final straw came when Youtube also demonetized an “innocuous” travel vlog of Casey’s where he sits with the president of Indonesia. It is this strange, wage-killing decision which finally led Casey to post a vlog entitled “DEMONETIZED DEMONETIZED DEMONETIZED,” where he delves into these issues, and more.
“I genuinely don’t feel youtube does enough to care of and look after their community”
Citing incidents such as adpocalypse—following which many content creators found their income slashed by 80%–Casey makes the above statement. Coming from arguably their biggest star, or in Phil DeFranco’s words their “golden boy,” this criticism should scare Youtube to its bones.
While making sure to simultaneously profess his love for Youtube, citing his worldwide “evangelizing” of the platform, Casey lays out a detailed argument both for why Youtube needs to change and how.
WHY— As Casey shows in this highly complex diagram, Youtube relies on a few streams of income:
D. ITS COMMUNITY
However, once we factor in that:
A. People who get to Youtube by search aren’t typically big content consumers, only seeking to get an answer to a specific question,
B. Youtube RED spends a “couple hundred million dollars a year” on original content while Netflix spends seven billion, and
C. In Casey’s words: “TV, well…TV,” it becomes clear that what sets Youtube apart from its competition and allows it to continue to thrive is:
D. Its community. This, he says “is the one thing that none of its competitors has been able to copy.”
“The community being upset is an existential threat to Youtube’s entire business”
Considering this fact, it becomes necessary to Youtube’s continuing existence as a profitable company that it keep its creators happy, something it has recently failed at miserably (see above screenshot).
As a harrowing tale of what could happen should Youtube fail to reform, he points to the quick demise of Vine. The once mighty platform was abandoned by some of its top creators after they were unable to convince execs to change its monetization strategy. After that, the community quickly unravelled, officially being shut down in January of this year. Most creators have since moved to Facebook or Youtube.
In a similar fashion, Amazon announced they’d be launching Video Direct, aimed at “helping content creators and visual storytellers reach millions of Amazon Video customers.” Sound familiar? Should Youtube fail to keep its talent happy, Amazon seems more than happy to scoop them up. With viable alternatives in the works, it becomes all the more important that Youtube get better at keeping its community satisfied.
“Solutions?…I don’t know, it’s not my 40-billion-dollar company, I’m just a part of the community that wants to see this platform succeed”
How–Despite his above-mentioned modesty, Case does have a few ideas on how Youtube can satisfy the community’s demands.
- 1. Creating an Ad Sales Market – It turns out, the reason Mr. Kimmel’s video wasn’t demonetized is because he has his own ad-sales team, allowing him to sell ads to marketers directly. Casey’s idea: why not let all creators do this? Youtube could set up some kind of marketplace allowing creators to define their own niche, link up with products they think would be a good fit, and perhaps even raise their premiums in the process.
- 2. More “Trending” Transparency – While Casey loves the “trending” section on Youtube’s homepage–not only because he’s always on it–he hears frequent gripes about the confusing nature of the selection process. While people like Casey or late-night talk show hosts are seemingly always “trending,” there are videos racking up millions more views without ever getting on the list. In an effort to quell outrage at this practice, Casey suggest Youtube address how exactly the trending list is determined. It it’s staff picks, say so, if its an algorithm, say so, and if its ad money, say so.
- 3. Give Creators a Piece of the Pie – While creators receive the same flat rate for each ad sale, Youtube as a company expands tremendously. In order to give creators a greater feeling of solidarity with Youtube–as they both try to grow their audiences in a symbiotic relationship–he suggests Youtube pay out in stock shares, or something similar that grows as the company does. “I know,” he says “that would make me feel more vested in the platform as a creator,” and thus less likely to go elsewhere.
- 4. Celebrate the Community – When the Kardashian’s have an upcoming season, E! plasters their face all over New York and other major cities. Although Casey is unsure what the analogue would be for Youtube (“is it promoting new creators?” “is it providing more support?” “is it literally putting faces on billboards?”), he knows that the love shown by other platforms for their talent far exceeds that of Youtube, and he wants that to change.
As for YOU, content-creator, please comment with any suggestions you may have for Youtube to improve your relationship. Let’s crowd-source this thing.