When it comes to earning money from Youtube, the conversation can get a bit mixed. For many, the idea of earning money on Youtube seems like a dream come true. However, with increasing restrictions being put in place and job security being an issue, YouTubers have been looking for an external solution to their problems. Lo and behold, we get Patreon, a service made by Youtubers for content creators of all mediums.
As Youtube started to move towards favoring longer videos, many Youtube musicians felt left in the dust. Originally the brainchild of Sam Yam and Jack Conte, Patreon was developed as a way for artists to continue doing what they love without the fear of censorship, loss of creative control or bankruptcy. It allows fans to directly contribute money to an artist without involving third parties or earning ad revenue.
You can probably see where this is going. Youtube isn’t exactly going to like someone cutting into their profit margins by not showing ads and still receiving money from fans. Therefore, a new rule has been put in place in order to stop people linking to Patreon in their Youtube videos. In order to link to a Patreon account in the end screen of your videos, Youtube now insists that you join their Partner Program. Without joining the program and allowing Youtube to put ads on your videos, you cannot link to a Patreon page, making it harder for YouTubers who had no intention of using ad revenue to continue their work.
In my opinion, this is pretty much just a dick move. I understand not wanting outside businesses to interfere with your profits, but come on! How much are you honestly earning from an ad that’s probably getting blocked? This strikes me as simply Youtube punching down yet again.
Recently, there have been reports of Youtube demonetizing videos that were not ‘Advertiser friendly’. The full list of Advertiser friendly content guidelines can be found here. Interestingly, they include ‘Inappropriate language’ as a reason for disqualification. I think I speak for most people when I say: Absolute bollocks! The page above does preface the guidelines by saying they’re not in any way trying to tell you what to create. However, any way that you try to spin it, it comes down to “Make content we like or you don’t earn money”.
It just strikes me as a pretty shitty system. Having restrictions put in place about what can earn you money or not through Youtube, and then adding barriers to any other ways of earning money for your content seems like something that would break the camels back if this were any other platform. But Youtube is the biggest and most popular video hosting website in the world. The chances of it finding a competitor anytime soon are very small. So while you can say “Oh we’re not trying to force anyone to play by our rules” but realistically, where else can video makers go?