Early in the week, a video showed up in my Facebook feed from a couple of different sources. The video was from popular YouTube news commentator Philip DeFranco. In it, he talked about an issue he had recently discovered on YouTube: he received an email saying that a few of his videos had been removed from monetization because they were not advertiser-friendly. The first video he investigated had no inappropriate language, tags or content. The only thing that could have been in question was the actual topic of the video, which was the news.
As the week went on, other YouTube personalities began receiving similar emails with similarly vague explanations. Beauty and Lifestyle personality Melanie Murphy received one of these emails over a few videos, including one of her most successful: a video about acne. She said of her video,
There is no bad language in these videos, nothing inappropriate in the tags, so I'm left with the assumption that the fact that acne is visible in the thumbnails... is off-putting to potential advertisers. If that's the case, it's very upsetting.
If you watch any 30 minutes of television on any network, you will likely see several advertisements for health and beauty products, including acne treatments. Clearly that cannot be the problem here - how could advertisers be offended by such a highly marketable video? So, what is actually going on here?
Google has responded to the issue, which prompted the hashtag #YoutubeIsOverParty, saying that they have not changed any policies other than their notification policy. In the past, apparently, they were turning off monetization without even informing the channel owners. This did not sit well with many creators, with DeFranco saying,
So before you were just turning off ads and not emailing us?
It will be interesting to see what the results of some of these channels appeals look like. Will they get their ad revenue back, or will Google ignore their concerns, as it appears they have done initially? Will this actually be the beginning of the end for YouTube as the home for original content? Who can step in to fill that gap? My prediction is, this is the push Facebook needs to make their video delivery platform better, and find a way to share monetization with creators.