For YouTube, 2017 was a rough year. As a result drastic changes have been made to its partner program. Who will this effect and will it work to improve YouTube for the future?
YouTube makes big changes to its partner program (0:23)
Tuesday YouTube announced new eligibility requirements for the Partner Program (YPP) that will affect all its creator community. Those not already in the program will feel the effects of the change immediately. For those that have been accepted into YPP, if they fail to meet the new standards by February 20th, 2018 they will be dropped from the program.
Under the old rules, to make money on YouTube from ads a creator needed to have 10,000-lifetime views on his or her channel. Under the new rules, 4,000 watch-time hours and 1,000 subscribers are necessary for YouTube to consider an application for YPP membership.
Whereas before algorithms and machine learning were used to approve channels, today real people will do the job. To facilitate this process change, Google has hired over 10,000 staff to approve and manage content. It is a strong statement that the company no longer believes AI is sufficient to effectively monitor YPP and the huge amount of video uploaded to the site each day.
Causes of the change (1:10)
With Logan Paul all over the news recently most people will be quick to blame him for the recent changes. However, developments have been in the works for a while.
Three major events precipitated the sweeping changes:
Copycat channels have long been a problem for YouTube. Some unscrupulous channel owners copy another channel’s videos and receive the ad revenue accrued from the ensuing video views.
These three events kept Google in hot water for most of 2017. The company’s use of AI to address the problems generated issues of its own with the creators. For months, YouTube had been telling users and creators alike to wait for the AI algorithms to learn and improve. However, this strategy has clearly not been enough to keep up with the inappropriate making it on the site.
The company has finally succumbed to public pressure to monitor better the content being uploaded to their site.
Who will this effect (2:26)
The most obvious group affected by the sweeping changes are small creators, and much has been made about YouTube’s recent treatment of them. The company had this to say regarding the issue:
“Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.”
The new policies will make it more difficult for users to make money from uploading inappropriate content. Though Google states it will be more vigilant about vetting videos that get flagged, the new policies do little to prevent users from uploading the content in the first place.
The increase in human reviewers is a long overdue addition to the YouTube team. Advertisers will certainly be thankful the company is taking the issues of extreme content seriously. But it is far from clear if these changes will have the desired effect.