A lot of youtubers have left YouTube, or at least scaled down their presence there. From high-profile gaming channels, like a big chunk of the Yogscast, going over to streaming on alternative services to lesser known vlogers, this emigration has left a huge gap in the once diverse video platform. And to tell you the truth, we here at The Torch have plans to diversify as well, putting less emphasis on YouTube and spread our content to other services.
But why is that? Why leave such a big platform, just as they’ve launched Red, a service meant to address many of the concerns viewers have?
To be blunt, it’s because they have not addressed a single one of the complaints us content creators have had. Instead, they seem to continue down the same path, taking focus away from smaller channels, rewarding bigger channels more and siding with anyone who claims to be a rights holder, regardless if they are or not.
The big reason we got into the site in the first place was because we wanted a second revenue stream. This wasn’t the only reason, but it was a big one. Since we started about 4 years ago, we have gotten about 75 pence from all our content. The viewership is not entirely to blame here either, there has been a lot of problems, ranging from legal issues to visibility.
As I have mentioned before, we are in a legal battle with a company over what I believe is their misunderstanding of what constitutes Fair Use, only taking the “transformative” section of the doctrine into account, while leaving out the “news” and “review” sections completely. As such, they are now holding our channel basically hostage, whether intentional or unintentional, as they have three active claims. Two have been denied and we cannot even refute the third without risking our entire channel. In the meantime, all revenue from the three videos goes directly to them.
We have had many, many videos claimed in the past as well and at one point it took us over 3 months to resolve it all, because we could only deal with two claims at a time and had to wait until both got resolved before moving on, or risk serious restrictions on our channels (as well as our partnership with the site).
There has been odd cases, like companies that sent us promotional material and asking us to put it up, only to turn around and claim it within minutes of it going up. We have had companies claim the entire revenue from 40 minute long videos, just because a promotional picture (again, sent by them) was visible for 3-4 seconds.
Along with the legal issues, there’s also the fact that YouTube aims their revenue targeting more towards shorter videos with a lot of repeat plays. I can understand why, music videos from big artists and trailers from AAA games, shows and films are going to bring in more views and people watch those over and over again. But why punish those who make original content?
In the early days, you got paid based on how many minutes of your videos were watched. Now you get it based on how many percent of the video has been watched and how many times the same person has watched the same video. This is a clear aim towards the music videos and trailers, but it leaves the rest of us with less.
The incentive of the big audience is no longer there for us, as our videos rarely makes it to the “recommended” section. Again, that section seems to aim more towards either the Red partners or the music videos and trailers. And those who do subscribe to us don’t even get notified when our videos are up anymore.
So if we need to advertise the content ourselves, have our content and/or revenue restricted for arbitrary reasons and don’t get anything for the advertising in our videos anyway, what incentive is there left for us? None!
I believe this is the main reasons why so many youtubers have left the site, or at least downsized their presence there. And that’s the reasons why we are looking at services like iTunes for our podcasts and other video publishing sites for our video content. We have even considered upsizing our servers to publish directly on our own servers, as that brings more views and higher revenue and we still have to deal with the legal issues ourselves anyway.
Aaron Franz, creator of the documentary Age of Transition, commented:
I am ending my YouTube channel, and there’s a lot of good reasons for this. I’ve had the Age of Transition video posted to YouTube, but I took it down, I took all my videos down. I had somewhere around a million and a half views [sic] on YouTube, my YouTube channel throughout all my videos. I had all my videos on there. And there’s a lot of reasons why I’m taking down my YouTube channel.
There was some forced advertisement on Age of Transition because of some company called Deep Mining Corporation, I think that they somehow… they claimed to (own) one of the clips in my video. I guess that’s fair even.
It’s this little company, or I don’t know how big they are, but a company called Deep Mining Corporation was claiming that I was using some material from them and there’s really nothing I can do. So any time the Age of Transition would play on YouTube there could be an ad that pops up and the money wouldn’t go to me. And that’s fine, I didn’t wanna make money on the video, but it does go to Deep Mining Corporation and it goes to Google too. And I would suspect that any given ad on any YouTube video the large portion of that ad revenue goes to Google and they’re making a lot of money on this. I don’t like the whole thing.
Emma Catherine, a fairly big fashion vloger, gave this reason for leaving earlier this year:
My reasoning behind it is that I don’t feel like I have been creating original content for a while now. It has probably been well over one year now and it has just been like not good, you know. They’re all the same videos, we’re all making the same videos and wearing the same stuff and talking about the same life hacks. I’m personally not a big fan of that. We don’t need a thousand life hack videos. I like individuality and originality and I hated that I didn’t do that for my channel. The authentic people out there, they make amazing content, but I feel that nowadays they just don’t get the views.
Ray Hidgon remarked on his blog:
Imagine if you started a site and you wanted to get more interaction on it and for FREE this guy comes along and contributes to your site 5-7 times per week, every single week for 5 years. How much would you be willing to give that guy? Would you at least send him a T-shirt or would you shut down his account and flag his content even though his content is getting likes, shares, comments and a ton of traffic to YOUR site?
Trust me, I am not bitter, just making a point. When any business, even one as big as Google/youtube, allow “haters” to dictate the displaying of content of someone who is doing exactly what you actually want your community to do, well, it’s not smart business.
Youtube is a great platform for most and I fully realize that I will be able to impact and reach fewer people in the short term by leaving however, the peace of mind I will gain with not having to look over my shoulder is worth it. I suggest if you are just getting started or newer to Internet marketing, youtube is a great choice and one that is easy to use and will get you the most traffic. That being said, without knowing the celebrity code of how more mainstream people get huge youtube accounts without the haters or mass attack on their accounts, once you reach a certain point, at least in the home business niche, you just might find yourself on the wrong side of Youtube and she can get nasty.
The way things are going, YouTube is certainly not going down, but it is going to change and shy away from truly original content. In a few years, I expect it to be a site where people go to watch music videos or catch the latest trailers, and if they don’t shape up, sites like Facebook will run over them with their own video uploading services.
What do you think? Is YouTube still a good option for people who wants to make a job out of original videos, or are the other options available better?