Why I’m through with YouTubeOctober 1, 2018
A couple of nights ago, I went on to YouTube to watch one of my favourite channels, the Corbett Report. I watched about half of the latest video; then I paused it, and went away to do something else. When I came back, and there was a man on the screen who was not James Corbett, telling me how I could make a million dollars!
In other words, it was an ad, a 3.5 minute ad. I was absolutely horrified by this! The only time I’ve ever experienced this before with the CorbettReport is when someone has taken one of James Corbett’s videos, uploaded it to their own channel and started to make money out of it.
So I looked to see if that was the case – but no, this was the actual Corbett report, and no, it was not James Corbett deciding to monetise his channel! He has said all along that he does not monetise his videos and that he has no intention to do so.
This was YouTube making money out of James Corbett’s non-monetised videos. I turned the video off, and I watched the rest of it on his website – which I should have been doing all along!
The only reason I was still watching James Corbett videos on YouTube is laziness, really. And because there are other channels I subscribe to that are only available on YouTube. James Corbett has been saying this for years, that eventually you won’t be able to see his videos on YouTube. They will probably be blocked by soft censorship.
And for me that moment has arrived.
It’s not that I’m against advertising. Some of the people I subscribe to choose to monetise their videos with adverts, and in that case I’m usually happy to watch the ads – as long as they’re not too long. What James Corbett has always said is that he doesn’t want to be beholden to these companies; that if he starts to rely on them for an income it’s not going to last. At some point they will pull the plug.
There’s something particularly galling about a non-monetised channel having ads put on it – and as a YouTuber myself it makes me absolutely furious!
Changing the goalposts
I have two YouTube channels, both of them absolutely tiny, and both of them non-monetised. I did previously monetise one of them, and it used to bring in a tiny amount – about 1 cent a month, which was nowhere near the threshold required for me to be able to bank that money.
I used to think that maybe one day the amount would grow; that maybe one day I’d even be able to make a living out of it!
But then of course, YouTube changed the rules, and stipulated that you had to have at least 10,000 views within a certain amount of time before you were permitted to monetise your channel. I had nowhere near 10,000 views. But within a short span of time I did achieve 10,000 views within that timespan.
However by that time, YouTube had changed the requirements again, and now you had to have 1,000 subscribers in order to be allowed to monetise your channel.
That channel now has about 420 subscribers. I had been thinking, no doubt foolishly, that the day might soon arrive when I’d be able to monetise my channel at last, as the number of subscribers has been growing quite rapidly recently. But the fact that I’m not yet permitted to do so, and yet YouTube can put ads of five minutes or more on my channel, so that they can make money out of my work… that is just so galling! There’s no way I’m going to leave those videos on YouTube now.
I might leave one or two of them there, with a notification saying that if people want to see the other videos, they’ll have to watch them on my website.
The other YouTube channel I have is based around my passion for mountaineering. It only has 10 subscribers and it’s never going to be monetised with adverts. Again, the idea that YouTube is now going to be putting ads on my videos… I’m so furious about it, I’m almost lost for words!
I think YouTube is really shooting itself in the foot in the long run, because there’s quite a good wee mountaineering community on YouTube, and I don’t think many of them monetise their videos. Some of them are quite successful. There’s one guy who produces videos under the name MunrosnCorbetts. He’s been making videos for years, not monetised. I don’t know how he’ll feel about having adverts put on his videos now.
There’s another producer called Ben Dolphin, who’s also been making videos for quite some time. He writes for a very popular mountaineering website based in Scotland, and his videos are massively popular – but he never monetises them. “Blethering Ben”, as he calls himself, is a park ranger, and is very interested in wildlife photography and environmental issues. The idea that his videos are now going to have some guy on them, telling viewers how they can make a million dollars… I don’t think he’s going to like that!
The internet has become a corporate pyramid
I’d already started making videos on Dlive, on the Steemit platform. I’m very interested in Steemit, because it’s decentralised, which is the way I thought the internet was going to be when it first started becoming popular in the 1990s. It seemed to be offering people who were less wealthy; whose fathers didn’t own publishing companies, to do their own publishing; maybe to make a fortune – or just to become a leader in their own particular field. The possibilities seemed endless.
But over just a few decades, the internet has become very corporate. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is said to be the wealthiest man in history! The founders of Google, which is the owner of YouTube, famously bought their own plane, a Boeing 767, for corporate jaunts. Now it’s a fleet of jets.
These people are making fortunes. Which is fine – if they want to make money, good on them! But the greed that denies many of the very people whose hard work has helped build up these platforms from making a single cent from their work, while their toil is being used to add yet more money to these empires… it’s absolutely outrageous!
Wake up to decentralisation!
It’s high time that people started waking up to the decentralised alternatives. it’s only quite a short time ago that YouTube was just a small platform, and it was the people who got on to it then who had the chance to become really popular on it. So now is the time for people to start moving on to these smaller platforms – and I think it’s fantastic that there’s a big choice of them.
We need more decentralization, more choice, instead of this enormous corporate pyramid, where you get one big massive monopoly at the top, buying up every single thing in sight.
I really hope that platforms like BitTube and Steemit can go from strength to strength. I don’t really know how decentralised BitTube is. I don’t know very much about it. I gather that the owners of the platform get about 10% of the monetization from the content, which seems like a very fair deal to me.
I’m going to continue making videos for BitTube, and I’ll upload those videos to my website. There are many other alternatives too. We still have DTube on Steemit, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to work with my technology, but hopefully that will be an option in the future. Dlive has migrated to the Lino platform, which tends to be more about livestreaming and gaming. There’s BitChute as well, and I think there are other platforms springing up too.
I’m going to say to the people who are still producing on YouTube: if you don’t want to lose me as a viewer, you’ll have to move to one of these new platforms.
Now is the time!
I do think that now is the time for people to get involved in this decentralization. It’s so important. I have no envy of Jeff bezos being wealthy. I’ve used Amazon so many times out of laziness, or because it’s offered a cheap deal, and a lot of choice. But when everyone is using the same platform, it’s likely that at some point in the future it will become more expensive. And you won’t be able to go anywhere else, because there won’t be anywhere else to go! All the high street bookshops are closing down. And as Amazon sells more than books, this is going to feed out to other products too.
I’m all for choice: consumer choice, alternatives. So we need that decentralisation – and this is the kick in the butt that I need to ensure that I keep supporting these alternatives!
I hope you do too.