YouTube Partner Program Shafts Small Creators

The Spammers Have Won (YPP Rant)

Posted 17.01.2018 @ 01:46 by | Comments | Share via


YouTube just announced changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) yesterday and it’s safe to say that it’s going to get really ugly on social media. For those who are not in the loop, YouTube raised the monetization requirements to 10,000 lifetime views last year. This meant that your channel had to have a total of 10,000 views in order to make money from it. This threshold has now increased to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watchtime hours from the past year.

Source: Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators

But first of all,

First of all, I apologize for my absence here on I’ve been focusing more on the channel lately and I hope that some of you can appreciate that.

Back to the situation at hand.

I’ve grown tired of arguing the merits of the new YouTube Partner Program (YPP) policies with users on various subreddits and blogs, so I thought I’d share my side here. And then I’ll probably return to all of that useless arguing and complaining (I’m really not in a good place right now.)

The way I see it, YouTube is doing this to make the platform a safer environment for advertisers and for viewers. Spammers have been a YouTube problem for a while now. ElsaGate was arguably the worst of it. It’s without a doubt that these sort of issues drove YouTube to this decision. It’s a noble reason. But their course of action is anything but noble.

This isn’t the first time innocent creators received the short end of the stick for something they didn’t do. Somewhere in the middle of 2017, YouTube introduced a bot that reviewed videos with machine learning to determine whether or not they were worthy of monetization. It was a severely flawed bot and many creators complained about it. They also had some pretty absurd policies in place. However, I saw past these complications because I knew they were putting the effort in to make things better; I trusted the platform. Yesterday, this changed.

My Story

Painting the studio walls

My small channel is currently just short of 900 subscribers and 3,000 watchtime hours over the last year. I’ve been actively trying to grow it over the course of 2017 and to me, it’s more than just a channel; it’s my community. I’m sure other creators – big and small – can relate. When we see how many channels communities are affected by this change, we see numbers. However, dive a little deeper and you’ll find that every single number is an individual story. Here’s mine.

I made my first YouTube channel when I was just eight years old. I’ve always found internet videos fascinating and the age restriction wasn’t going to stop me. I turn 19 later this year and I’m about to celebrate my 10 years of YouTube next month. I’ve come a long way over these years and in 2017, I decided to take things more seriously.

A couple of years ago, I converted my entire bedroom into a studio space to make my videos look more aesthetically pleasing to my viewers. My mother and I live in a small Vancouver condo, so I sleep on the couch now. I worked with various cameras, last summer I bought a Sony A6500 4K mirrorless camera and strapped a Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens and a Sony 10-18 f/4 to pursue my passions for tech and video creation. When I finally got my first payment of $109 from Adsense, I spent it on an expensive Sony ECM-44B lavalier microphone to improve my sound quality. That only covered half the cost of the microphone but I didn’t care because I loved doing what I did so much. I was also super happy with the rate that my channel was growing at (I still am for the most part.)

Yesterday, I came home from a tiring day at college to find the emails; my old channel from 10 years ago is being removed from the partner program. Okay, no big deal right? I don’t even upload there so it’s probably due to inactivity. Then, I saw it. SDGCore is also being shafted… What?

The Bigger Picture

Here’s the bigger picture. My channel community is only one of the millions being affected and I don’t stand alone with my opinion. Numerous creators are already voicing their concerns and frustrations with the recent changes, with more to come, no doubt.

We’re often written off by others who say “who cares, it’s just $2 a month” or some inconsiderate message like that. However, $2 is enough to tell us that our efforts are appreciated and I was certainly making well over 15x that amount. Many others too! Sure, $30+ isn’t a whole lot either, but it was enough for a new lens once every few months. It was substantial enough for me to buy a new, shiny microphone for my videos – my community. Now, they (and many others) might not get that same opportunity for a long time.

The barrier to entry is much higher now. You will likely need an experienced (maybe famous) friend to get you started on YouTube if you’re a beginner. Sounds familiar? It’s starting to sound like Hollywood to me.

The truth, the way I see it, is that YouTube has given up the fight. They have thrown in the towel with their AI and we are literally paying for it. As a result, they might’ve eliminated the spammers (for the meantime anyway) but they’ve also harmed the trust of their creators. The spammers have won.

Don’t Give Up

But that doesn’t mean we have to surrender. To all fellow creators (especially those who got screwed by this policy change,) this is not the time to abandon your communities. Keep working the grind because you love the process but remain vigilant because any competition to YouTube as a platform will be good news.

YouTube is a people and I still love it. I’m just upset because I’ve lost a means of giving back (for the mean time) to the community that I raised myself and I wanted to write this article to shed some light on how it affects some of us.

Unboxing the ECM-44B

Unboxing the new microphone was an unreal experience. This box I was holding in my hands was a tangible manifestation of a small but significant success.

By the way, I typed out this entire rant with a huge migraine and fever-like symptoms. Please forgive me for all the negativity and mistakes.

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