Tag Archives: YouTube

Data Mining, Pedophiles & Demonetization, Oh My! YouTube and Children’s Privacy

YouTube, a video sharing site took, the Internet by storm with its unique platform. Little did anyone know that the site would face many issues in its future. Troubles and controversies have plagued the site in recent years. From the infamous “Adpocalypes” to the spread of Nazi propaganda, YouTube seems like it will never catch a break. It doesn’t help that recently the company was taken to court over its issues with children’s privacy.

Google and YouTube were fined $170 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, when the Federal Trade Commission of New York determined that site violated the act by collecting children’s information and using it to sell targeted ads towards children. The New York Attorney General, Letitia James, stated, “Google and YouTube knowingly and illegally monitored, tracked, and served targeted ads to young children just to keep advertising dollars rolling in. These companies put children at risk and abused their power, which is why we are imposing major reforms to their practices and making them pay one of the largest settlements for a privacy matter in U.S. history.” Some believe that YouTube will not change much when it comes to advertising, but they appear to be making some changes.

In order to address the issue of their ads targeting childres, YouTube has changed its algorithm for collecting data to prevent children’s data from being collected. YouTube is also making changes specifically on children’s content channels by removing comments and notifications.

Protecting children from targeted ads is not the only issue that YouTube must deal with when it comes to children’s privacy. Another big and frightening problem would be the child predators that lurk in the comment sections of children’s videos.

Access to the internet is easier than ever for children. Through this, there are many children and family channels on YouTube. While these channels remain on the more innocent side, YouTube’s algorithm can turn these videos into a predator’s paradise. The recommendation algorithm seems to be muddied when it comes to children’s content. A researcher at Harvard, Jonas Kaiser, found that one does not have to search for children’s content to be recommended children’s content. One could find themselves looking at semi-erotic videos of women, followed by recommended videos of children in limited clothing or in vulnerable positions. Predators having access to this content have led these videos’ comment sections to be a cesspool of sexually explicit messages.

The grotesque messages in comment sections has lead YouTube to remove commenting from children’s videos. YouTube has also been reworking their recommendation algorithm, to block this pathway for predators.

While targeted ads and online predators are issues that should be taken care of, YouTube’s responses to these issues has not been well-received by some YouTubers. There are many content creators that have YouTube as their full-time job. The changes that YouTube has made in regard to children’s content could possibly be detrimental to these creators that rely on it as their only source of revenue. Melissa Hunter, the CEO of Family Video Network, an agency that works with children and family content creators stated, “People who I deal with at YouTube feel horrible that the creators are the ones who are going to be hurt by this.” Removing ads, comments, and notifications, makes creators lose a lot of money within the first 24 hours of an upload. This window of time is when the most interaction occurs with videos, so losing items that help boosts a video’s viewing count reduces the amount of revenue it will generate.         

Some YouTubers are wondering if they will be hit with these stipulations, even if their channel is not directly geared towards children. KreekCraft, a gaming channel on YouTube is one of the many that are concerned about the future of their channels. He stated, “It’s kind of like they’re killing video game content, the top three games on YouTube right now are Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox, which are generally non-violent and child-centric games, especially Roblox. Now, we can’t make videos on more mature video games because they’ll get demonetized, but if we make videos on child-friendly games, they’re also now going to get demonetized. What do we do?” Instead of worrying over possible demonetization, some creators are posting their content on different sites, and gamers are moving to Twitch, a streaming site that is popular in video game streams.

So, YouTube is in between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, they have to comply with the law and protect children, and on the other, they need to appease their creators. Right now, YouTube is focused on saving themselves and the creators are taking the brunt of the force. However, YouTube can find a way to appease both sides.

What can YouTube do? For starters, they can keep commenting and notifications on creator’s videos, these items are not advertisements, and help creators earn revenue. It’s not as though YouTube would be breaking the law by keeping commenting and notifications on these videos. Now, as stated earlier, some comment sections are rampant in sexually explicit messages. Instead of removing entire comment sections, YouTube should improve the systems that delete inappropriate comments that already exist. Instead of relying on a program to make decisions, they could have real life individuals determine what is inappropriate.

YouTube has come a long way from its beginnings and will continue to push boundaries in the future. As a company that relies on its community to create content, there will always be mishaps of some sort. YouTube is working to improve itself, and hopefully, they’ll keep their word on it.

-Jasmine Aquino

Don’t Put YouTube Influencers on the Backburner of Your Marketing Strategies

The term “influencer” may be pretentious to some, but to others on social media, these are the people that followers and subscribers look up to, resonate with and follow step by step. These influencers are the people companies need to look towards when wanting to expand their marketing opportunities. But Why?

First, we have to look at what YouTube traffic looks like. On average 300 hours of video per hour online overall. Additionally, 33% of all time spent online is spent watching videos. YouTube as a platform has more than a billion active users and they offer their website in 76 different languages which accounts for 95% of the world’s population.

Sometimes the who is more important than the why. When I use the term influencer in this context I’m referring to a YouTube influencer which is someone who builds a substantial following on the video platform of YouTube, thereby helping to set trends and provide information for others looking to purchase a specific product or service.

Many millennials will openly say that these influencers understand them better than anyone around them and that they trust these people. These are two things a company should take into consideration when they want a product marketed to a certain niche audience.

These influencers are genuine and use their creative skills to incorporate a friendly approach to promoting an item. Many will say they love and use a certain product and they will also only work with brands that truly resonate with their values and a product they would back up 100%.  This is what subscribers want to see. The Huff Post writes that subscribers want the influencers they watch to be sometimes irreverent. Irreverence is interesting, because it drives credibility. Within the YouTube community if an influencer normally ridicules many things, when they like a certain product the subscribers know that they mean what they are promoting.

Many of these marketing campaigns have been proven to reach millions of subscribers in only a couple days if not a few hours. Influencers such as Shane Dawson, who was known for uploading content about conspiracy theories has now become what some would say the ‘psychologist of Youtube.’ He has now started creating content which mirrors docu-series like content and this is doing well amongst his subscribers.

Recently, he started a new series with beauty guru and entrepreneur Jeffree Star who combined have 38.9 million subscribers.

In this series his first video was sponsored by Honey  which is an online browser extension which scans the internet for coupons on thousands of stores and applies them at checkout for instant savings. He dedicated the first 50 seconds to a slick true-to-his-style edit in which he promoted Honey and gave a code to which people can click on to get the browser extension on their browsers. On that video in one day he got 10 million views and in five days was up to 20 million views. Then the second part of series received 14 million views in 2 days. Working with top YouTubers like him get the company the amount of eyes and clicks they were expecting.

These types of partnerships are common among highly ranked YouTubers and are proven to bring in the audiences a YouTuber and brand may be targeting. A recent study found that not only will 60% of 13-24 year olds say they would try a product due to a YouTuber recommending it. But this was linked to yet another study conducted by Google in which they state that many of the more popular topics discussed on YouTube whether it be a large or medium sized business see that their social media is always the first online path to purchase. Meaning when a YouTuber provides links or codes to a product their promoting it has a higher possibility of getting that foot traffic on those social media sites which in turn can lead to sales.

Another great example of this is PewDiePie who is a Swedish comedian and gamer-commentator. On YouTube PewDiePie has 101 million subscribers and 23 billion video views, making him the second-most subscribed to creator. Earlier this year he partnered with G Fuel which is an energy drink company that is targeted more towards the gaming audiences and has been a big hit with the PewDiePie audience, even getting enough attention that a subscriber can now get PewDiePie/G Fuel merchandise. This merch includes PewDiePie Shaker starter kits that come with a shaker bottles and a variety of single serve energy powders or the shaker cup can be purchased separately.

When looking at these type of partnerships and analyzing the numbers someone could easily see why some companies are not waiting any longer to hop on this YouTube influencer train. There are so many different audiences on YouTube and a brand can easily find a well-known influencer that fits their company values that they can work with. Although some may think that only top influencers like the examples provided could obtain new customers to a product that’s not always the case. There are millions of smaller channels that also reach a relatively large number of users which can also work in a company’s favor.

If you’re a company looking to partner with YouTubers to boost your social media presence and online traffic take a look at websites and posts like this one to better understand how to find a YouTube influencer that fits you and your company values.

-Chelsea Beas

I’m Not Sure What I’m Trying to Sell You: The Problem with YouTube Red

What if I told you there was a subscription service out there with exclusive, original video content and a huge library of music you can watch and listen to at your leisure? YouTube has entered the streaming service ring with their own paid subscription service, YouTube Red, that boasts exclusive content, an ad free viewing experience, and offline options that subscribers can enjoy. So where has the buzz been for YouTube Red and why is every video for YouTube Music buried in dislikes?

YoutubeBefore we get into it, let’s go over what YouTube Red actually is and how it works. YouTube Red is a monthly paid subscription service where users are allowed access to YouTube’s exclusive, original content, an ad free viewing experience, background usage on mobile devices, and the ability enjoy downloaded videos and music offline. Since Google owns YouTube, a Red subscription also nets you access to Google Play’s large library of music in addition to YouTube’s selection. YouTube Red is priced at $9.99 per month – the same as Netflix.

Unfortunately for Google, the reception for the announcement of YouTube Red has been less than desirable. The beginning of the marketing hardships began with the announcement of YouTube Red in late October of 2015. The announcement was immediately met with aggressive criticism from both users and content creators on YouTube. Users who were excited by this announcement, however, are those subscribed to Google’s monthly “All Access” subscription, as the two services will be consolidated.

Why are consumers unhappy with this announcement? Apart from a single video advertising YouTube Red, nobody really understands what YouTube Red is supposed to be. The advertisement tells consumers about the advantages of having YouTube Red, but doesn’t do a good job about what YouTube Red is supposed to be. In fact, YouTube itself, disregarding the subscription service struggles to identify itself clearly. There’s educational content, gaming videos, reviews, advertisements, short films, tutorials, music, and so much more. The identity of YouTube depends entirely on the user.

As a music streaming platform, YouTube is number one. To cater to the music listening audience, and make an attempt at viral marketing, YouTube released several YouTube Music ads celebrating diversity involving subjects of different racial backgrounds and gender identities. Considering the timing of these advertisements, you could say this is a direct response to Donald Trump’s political campaign from 2016. Many Internet users rallied behind companies that stood up for diversity, and while YouTube’s approach seemed like a good idea, the campaign was negatively received. The advertisements showed up incredibly frequently, weren’t very well executed, and to add insult to injury, were unskippable. Which is unfortunate considering what appears to be a genuine attempt at acknowledging their diverse user base.

Apart from co-existing with Google Play, which is also owned by Google, and not expressly stated as being independent, or the same service, consumers were incredibly confused at what YouTube was trying to accomplish with these ads other than the aforementioned “celebration of diversity.” Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO said, “YouTube gives people of any race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or interest a place to come together and a place to belong.” An admirable sentiment about an incredibly powerful and diverse online platform that anyone can use. The source of this campaign’s failure lies within YouTube’s failed ability to brand themselves.

If you were asked what YouTube stands for, what would you respond with? Is it what YouTube really stands for or what you think it stands for? I think Observer nailed what was missing when they said, “YouTube carries everything—so it stands for nothing. No one knows what YouTube believes in, so no one cares what YouTube believes in. And you don’t pay for something when you don’t know what it means.”

Ultimately, I conclude that YouTube’s marketing failed in this aspect. Celebrating the one year anniversary of YouTube Red, numbers suggest they have roughly 1.5 million subscribers. Twitch Prime – has roughly 1.9 million subscribers within the first four months of its release. So what do you think? Would you purchase a YouTube Red subscription? Did YouTube’s lack of brand identity cause the negative reception of their service announcement? Comment below!

Kevin Thorn

Amazon’s Video Game Power Grab with Twitch Prime

In 2014, Amazon bought the massive streaming service known as Twitch. Three years later Twitch now has a paid membership known as Twitch Prime that is free if one is already an Amazon Prime member. Meanwhile, Twitch has reached out to a multitude of video game companies in an attempt to gather a larger audience.

Twitch and video games are already tied together. Twitch is primarily used to stream video games of all varieties, but YouTube also has a massive presence in the video game community. Google owns YouTube and Amazon is competing with Google. That is the strategy behind why Amazon bought Twitch. One of Google’s largest properties is YouTube, and Twitch is something that can compete with and maybe someday rival YouTube. Amazon wants to take on Google, so they started by competing with one of its largest money makers.

But will this strategy work?

With Twitch Prime, this strategy may stand a chance. Twitch has been expanding in recent years, but YouTube is still a colossus. It is reasonable to think that YouTube can’t be competed with, but if that was true then why did Google try to buy Twitch?

Twitch

Twitch has a great foothold in the videogame market that is actively growing thanks to Twitch Prime. This new service that is directly related to Amazon Prime allows members free  “game loot” by making partnerships with various video game companies. This cross promotion is important and done with multiple gaming companies. I will be using Hi-Rez as an example.

TwitchHi-Rez is the gaming studio responsible for the hit MOBA Smite. While only a few years old, Smite has over 25 million players and is growing. In the month of January, Twitch Prime focused on promoting Smite. Exclusive skins, chest rolls, and access to an event were given to Twitch Prime members. These things would either have to be bought or were not attainable otherwise.

Twitch Prime also went as far as to host Smite’s World Championship in association with Coca-Cola. This is a huge step that promotes Twitch Prime, Hi-Rez, and Amazon all at once. Amazon Prime members get Twitch Prime for free, so if a subscriber has an interest in video games obtaining Twitch Prime is easy and painless. Once that subscriber has Twitch Prime, they would be immediately made aware of Smite and its world championship that they could watch for free. After watching, they may be interested in the game which is free too.

This chain of events is beneficial to all three companies without forcing the individual to jump through a multitude of hoops. It is a creative, yet simple way Amazon is using Twitch to compete with YouTube and by extension, compete with Google.

So far, the strategy is effective. It worked on me, as I am an avid Smite player and had not heard about Twitch Prime until Hi-Rez began to advertise it. I already have an Amazon Prime membership, so it was easy for me to get Twitch Prime.

It is working now; however, that does not mean it will continue to work. The biggest roadblock that Amazon has is that it is trying to compete with Google. While Google is already a difficult company to compete with, YouTube is its own headache. While Twitch is growing, it has a long way to go before it can overpower YouTube.

That begs the question, is it possible to overpower YouTube? Can Amazon compete with Google like this? Will Twitch only rest in its large, but specific video game market? YouTube meanwhile has a multitude of video markets with video games being only one.

Only time will tell if Amazon’s strategy will continue to work. Companies like Hi-Rez will continue to benefit in the meantime. The trifecta of marketing is running smoothly, but will it ever gain enough momentum to overpower its rivals?

Sam King

“New” Advertiser-Friendly Policy: Is YouTube Taking Away Freedom of Speech?

It all started on Wednesday August 31, 2016. The world was in shock. People lashed out on twitter and other forms of social media saying that YouTube is now censoring YouTubers, violating and taking away freedom of speech. The hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty was trending worldwide by the following day as everyone proclaimed this was the end of YouTube.

youtubeSo what happened? On Wednesday August 31, 2016, YouTubers, started receiving emails about their videos being demonetized, meaning they would not earn any money from their videos. Famous YouTuber Philip DeFranco (with 4 million subscribers!) made a video about this topic that received almost over 6 million views and started the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty. By September 1st, both the video and the hashtag were trending worldwide.

Philip DeFranco’s YouTube video: “YouTube Is Shutting Down My Channel and I’m Not Sure What To Do”

DeFranco explained in his video that YouTube released a “new” advertiser friendly policy which explained what content would cause a video to get demonetized. DeFranco wasn’t the only YouTuber affected by this. He states in his videos that other content creators on YouTube received emails about some of their videos being demonetized. This also started a wave of YouTube videos with titles such as “I’m Quitting YouTube” or “YouTube is Dead”.

What content is deemed “advertiser un-friendly” is also an issue. Many YouTubers and their audience argued this is a form of censorship, as swearing and sexual humor can get videos demonetized. One of the most controversial topics however, deemed inappropriate for advertising is: “controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown.”

One million subscribers YouTuber Einshine argues in his video “YouTube is Making me Quit, Time to get a New Job?” that a previous video he made regarding his experience as a victim of the 3/11 Japan Earthquake in which he stated that all money he gained from ads in that video would be donated to charity to help Japan after the tragedy can be demonetized following the “new” guidelines.

Another argument made by YouTubers that this policy is going against freedom of speech, is that some YouTubers comment on or include news in their videos and therefore show violent or sensitive subjects even though it is not their own content and could still be penalized for it.

youtube policy
YouTube’s Advertiser-friendly content guidelines

YouTube has responded by stating that these guidelines are not new. In fact, YouTube has been demonetizing content deemed “not advertiser-friendly” since 2013. So what changed? According to YouTube, they’ve updated their notifications system. This means that before, YouTubers would get their videos demonetized but would not be aware of it, now they will receive an email about it.

YouTube also has an appeal system where YouTubers can make a request to get their videos re-monetized. While this works for some, others have had their appeal denied, keeping their videos demonetized.  DeFranco argues in his video “YouTube Responded, But It Gets Even More Confusing…” that this hurts smaller YouTubers that depend on the initial views to make their living. By having a video demonetized as soon as it’s posted, the YouTuber is losing the revenue opportunity while the initial views come pouring in as it takes time for the appeal to take affect.

I do believe YouTube is using a form of censorship, but I do not think YouTube is taking away freedom of speech. Many YouTubers have successfully been appealed their. Even if YouTubers aren’t getting money from their videos, their content is still accessible for everyone to see.

YouTube is a private company and they are well within their rights to implement these guidelines. After all, the content shown on their website represents and reflects them as well as the advertisers.

I believe that there is a communication problem between YouTube and its content creators. I think YouTube is finally taking a good step in updating their notification program but this could have been done much sooner. A solution to YouTubers losing money could be for YouTube to communicate quicker and more directly with YouTubers, letting them know before their content is demonetized allowing them to make an appeal while still making revenue off their views.

What do you think? Is YouTube violating freedom of speech or creating a form of censorship? Considering this policy isn’t new, what has changed now that content creators on YouTube are aware of this policy? Considering ad-blockers, do you think this issue is even relevant?

Clara Tosi