2016 has been a turbulent year for YouTube and its creators. Adjustments in algorithms and attempted improvements have left some creators out in the cold. The most affected channels seem to be gaming channels, especially those that feature horror games. Is YouTube trying to appeal to mainstream and family friendly platforms at the cost of some of its top content creators?
Earlier this year, YouTube changed it’s terms of service, pushing more family friendly content and punishing those who aren’t quite as squeaky clean. Basically, if a video was flagged as being offensive or considered not advertiser friendly, it would not be available for monetization by content creators.
In other words, no ads for videos that are deemed offensive, controversial, gory, or having strong language. This resulted in a massive backlash, especially from the horror and gaming communities. YouTube claimed their policies had not changed, that these rules had always been in place. Several gamers, including PewDiePie, the top performer for the platform who also has a show for YouTube Red, found their content being de-monetized.
To many creators, this felt like censorship. They felt that YouTube was using monetization to control what content they could create.
Under this policy, no one would be able to play the demo for Outlast 2 without getting flagged. While not all gamers focus on horror – like Markiplier and TheRPGMinx who both got their starts off of the Amnesia series – this would extend to games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. Though as this problem seemed to fade into the background, another quickly arose.
Bugs and Glitches
The current problem that is causing an uproar is one that they insists is not their doing: the unsub bug. Thousands of people are finding they are being unsubscribed from channels. The unsub bug is causing creators to lose money yet again. Fewer subscribers means fewer views. Many users don’t even realize they have been unsubbed and start to think that the channels are dead.
On top of this, the subscriptions feed has become more controversial as it seems not all of the channels that one subscribes to make it into the feed. YouTube’s solution to this: adding a notification bell to the subscription bar intended to notify subscribers when content is uploaded to specific channels. Even that doesn’t seem to work 100% of the time. In fact, it just takes a quick YouTube search to find videos showing evidence of all of these “bugs”.
So what does YouTube intend to do? Well as far as we’ve heard, nothing. Since nothing is wrong. Unfortunately this response was met with a negative reaction by users and creators. A video put up on the YouTube Help channel intended to address the issue has 996 likes and 26,992 dislikes at the time that this article was written, and it’s only been out for about a day and a half. Clearly telling creators that there isn’t a problem is the wrong way to go. Clearly something is going on.
Perhaps they are working to make too many improvements and changes at once. As the platform grew, the glitches did as well. This actually isn’t the first case of the unsub bug, as this post to Google product forums illustrates. Now it’s too large to ignore. Some gamers are wondering if YouTube is trying to kill their content and considering leaving for other platforms such as Twitch and Vimeo. If the unsub issue doesn’t get solved soon, or YouTube doesn’t admit there’s an issue, many let’s players may leave for greener pastures.
Considering Twitch just recently partnered with Amazon and is allowing Amazon Prime users one free subscription to a Twitch streamer of their choice through Twitch Prime, maybe it’s time for some gamers to consider their options. What’s YouTube’s loss may be Vimeo’s or Twitch’s gain.