The Internet Thinks We Are Killing YouTube

by Gary Galindo

Advertising is always to blame for too many issues on the internet, despite the fact that much of the content consumers consume wouldn’t exist without it. Advertising has allowed for radio, television, and now internet to grow as vessels of information accessible to virtually anyone with an internet enabled device. Yet, we are annoying people more and more, to the extent where the consumer now has the power to shut us up. Page Fair and Adobe’s 2015 Ad Blocking Report says 198 million people around the world use ad block. The number continues to grow, and I myself have committed the sin of using Ad Block Plus for many reasons:

  1. The internet becomes easier to read and navigate with Ad Block Plus.
  2. Ads cause pages to load slower and can interrupt the browsing experience with pop-ups.
  3. I hate that my information is always tracked and stored.
  4. Most ads online just suck.

Many companies and publications have found ways around ad block by limiting content, or outright making it inaccessible to those who use ad block. Sometimes, Ad Block just doesn’t work like it used to and ads manage to show up anyways.

My main reason for installing ad block is YouTube, which is unfortunate for different people for different reasons. Consumers who have ad block are no longer forced to watch a pre-roll video or trailer whether it be in the 5 second skip style or the full length style.

The content creators on YouTube lose monetization per 1000 views as a result of this, and YouTube as a whole is making less. This in turn has caused YouTube to provide exclusive content and an ad-free experience to paying users for 10 dollars a month via YouTube Red. However, this benefits the YouTube Red creators more and creates a lopsided monetization system that leaves smaller channels and networks behind.

YouTube’s awkward affair with its creators stems even deeper, thanks to a confusing and convoluted Content ID management system that forces creators to alter their videos or risk losing monetization. One of the greatest enforcers of this system is gaming giant Nintendo, who unlike other gaming companies arguably takes things a little too far, demonetizing channels for going as far as inducing a single “coin sound effect” from Super Mario Bros.

Many argue, and justifiably so, that corporations have the right to control money and ad revenue when their intellectual properties, patents, or inventions are shown on YouTube without their consent. But should corporations control monetization because of a video’s content? This is where the latest problem arises.

YouTube star and veteran Philip DeFranco talks to the issue of “advertiser-friendly” content. He along with hundreds of content creators have been demonetized by YouTube because the content is not favorable to advertisers. One of the greatest arguments against this change in YouTube policy is that traditional forms of media are supported by advertising regardless of the content in store for the viewer. Media is not always advertiser friendly in general. News channels on YouTube will have to talk about wars and sensitive issues. Many channels have been hit for content on suicide experience and suicide prevention and even basic journalism. Who is responsible for all of this?

Everyone is quick to point out ad people, not understanding that “advertisers” in this context refers in large part to brands and corporations, not the ones who make the ads. Do advertisers have too much power? If advertisers can now control monetization on YouTube, does that suggest net neutrality is at risk?

YouTube’s role in advertising is a mystery that I am sure YouTube itself doesn’t fully understand. But in the meantime, the internet wants heads to roll.