Lately, many content creators on YouTube have been calling foul. From losing subs to view counts being incorrect. But how did we get here?
Like many pyramid schemes you need to build up your brand and sell it to others. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be a product, service etc. In the world of YouTube you build a brand for your audience to hopefully relate to in some way. In the beginning before people realized what YouTube was they just posted a topic they were interested in. We didn’t think of clever channel names or format our content to any kind of style. It was mostly off the cuff content that was honest and up front. You weren’t given the option to monotize your videos from day 1 with zero subs. So when you posted a video you did it with the most honest intentions it was to entertain or teach something. Early YouTubers weren’t “content creators”, they were people who made a video and posted it on the internet. Same thing to most people in this world.
Moving on to the “partnership” portion of YT. If you were mildly successful on YouTube the opportunity to apply for more features of the site was available. The most important to most “at the time” was being able to post longer videos and create a channel banner. Eventually, making that dough took center stage. People began making money by doing what we do today, sort of. It’s gotten a lot more complicated over the years because the game has changed. But, back then if you had subs they watched your video clicked 1-5 stars and even commented! We didn’t have analytics we have now so who knows how many subs actually watched. If you were lucky enough your video could be featured on their front page thus helping create the opportunity to go “viral.” This was the goal after partnership to many. So that’s how it was for a while. I’m sure in the background YouTube had a type of algorithm to determine where your video was shown. I don’t know if “being successful” was any easier than it is now. At least I don’t feel it is easier or harder these days. If you have good content, a good network of fans you could see some success.
So things are moving along and YouTube in 2011 is pretty damn big at this point. So IMO “Playing the game” is a major key to kinda of cheating the system. From posting at certain times, to quick videos, being “First” on whatever the hot topic or product is, to figuring out the Algorithm. Many people were able to at least figure out some of the key points to getting more views instead of really doing the content for the joy of it. This isn’t wrong but too much of a good thing usually ends up not being good. I noticed many Tech channels playing that game and doing a damn good job of it.
Moving through the years YouTube has done some very weird and cool stuff. Like any company they have a lot of ups and downs. I have have read a few articles that Youtube was losing money years ago. I’m not sure if they are in the same situation today but some of the recent changes makes me wonder what they have done. Prominent Youtubers claim to have heard from support and they state the problem is being researched but didn’t think it was a problem. That in it self scares many of the people that produce content for a living. These recent changes seems to be geared towards video engagement, which basically means the content is second to getting people to thumbs up/down and comment. Sounds like we’re back to 2011 again with playing the game.