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Youtube to ditch ad-revenue sharing?

6 September 2017

Okay, what follows is purely speculation.

However, it is speculation based on an awful lot of experience with YouTube and careful observation of Google's abandonment of the "do no evil" mantra that used to make it different to so many other big corporates.

I am a YouTube channel partner and much of my earnings come from the way that the company shares the revenue from ads placed on my videos.

Once upon a time, this was good money and meant that I almost made the average wage solely from these ads. Life was good. Because there were only a limited number of "channel partners" and the qualification criteria was quite stringent, I could focus on the creation of regular, quality content and both Google and myself benefited from same.

Then, as I've previously written, Google got greedy and decided to let every man and his dog "monetize" their videos and share the revenues from those ads.

The once prestigious "channel partner" title was rendered pretty much worthless and, because there were now several orders of magnitude more channels monetizing their uploads, the ad revenues were spread far more thinly. meaning that over time, my revenues have dropped by half, even though I've significantly increased my uploads, subscribers and views.

Now I'm speculating, based on the way Google feels it's okay to mess with stuff that works, in the quest for higher margins and more profit, the company is probably considering axing ad-revenue sharing completely.

Think about it...

If YouTube did kick the ad-sharing system to the kerb, they'd be able to monetize all qualifying (ie: not offensive, violent, terror-related etc) videos and keep every cent those ads generated.

Sure, many of us who rely on that revenue sharing would be outraged -- but Google has never hesitate to outrage us before when it suits them so I doubt that they'd consider this to be an issue if it meant doubling the profits from YouTube ads overnight.

You might think "but content creators would simply ditch YouTube if they did this" -- but you'd be wrong.

The reality is that by pissing around with the ranking system and by spreading the ad revenues so very thinly, Google has forced most content creators to create other revenue streams from their videos.

A huge number of popular channels have their descriptions littered with affiliate links to Amazon, Banggood and a raft of other online sellers. In fact many of the content creators I know are making up to 10 times more from their affiliate schemes than they are from the ad-share revenues.

Other creators (such as myself) have begun to rely on Patreon as a method of compensating for the ever-falling income from YouTube.

In short, it seems that Google has done a great job of weaning content creators off the ad-share as their primary revenue source -- and so I'm thinking that they've done this with the long-term goal of simply shutting that program down completely and pocketing all the money advertisers pay.

Most "tubers" would stay with YouTube, mainly because they have no option. There is no other video sharing site out there with anything like the critical-mass of YouTube and to pack up and move to a site such as Vimeo would be an act of suicide. Without the views that YT would still deliver, those creators would lose massive amounts of affiliate income.

So, bookmark this column and we'll revisit things in a year or two -- but I'm picking that Google will drop this bomb sometime in the next 12-24 months.

Of course if you're one of the "chosen few" who have tens of millions of subscribers and generate hundreds of millions of views every month, you may find that you'll still get a cut... but for the other 99.99%, it'll be tough cheese.

If you're a creator who currently relies solely on your ad-share revenue to survive (and some still do) then be prepared to find yourself without a pay-cheque, possibly with little or no notice.

Do no evil?

Cue Tui's ad.

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