So I came back to YouTube in July 2016, after taking several years off from making machinima and video podcasts, because YT were basically dicks to work with if you are a small creator (like myself). But I saw potential for my content to be not only viewed now, but to also perhaps make a little bit of money along the way, to help pay for expenses on this website.
I never expected to make YT a career, let alone even make much of a profit on it, but I did hope that – like with Google AdSense providing ads here on this site – it might help defray expenses some.
Alas. So much for that!
You see, I put out a variety of different content on one channel (originally called “Pthppt Podcast”, now “RetroStuff”) through the last half of 2016, to limited success, before rebranding and using that channel instead for weekly shows regarding retro gaming and game emulation. I also launched at the start of 2017 a new channel (“Meander about Middle-Earth”), to post gaming videos/vlogs with “Lord of the Rings Online” on weekdays, later expanding to doing weekend shows with different MMORPGs, as well.
Now, things have been better in the first few months of 2017, both channels are still very small (as you can see from their subscriber numbers at the top of this page), but they have both managed to pull in a few dollars through ad revenue. And now even that small revenue has come to a screeching halt.
Why? YouTube will now not show ads on videos on channels that have less than 10,000 views combined. So, while I wasn’t making more than a few cents here or there as things were, at least I was building up some money earned through the few views my shows get. But since RetroStuff has less than 2000 views total, and (at the time I am writing this) MaME has less than a thousand, neither will see any additional revenue through ads for a really long time, because it will (at my current rate of increased viewership) take several years for these channels to break 10,000 combined views each.
So that brings me to the inevitable question: “Why continue to do it?”
You see, while I enjoy making these videos, they are also a great amount of work. I spend most of every weekend creating this content, and spend my weekday mornings after work uploading those videos. All without actually earning anything off of that work (Google doesn’t pay out until you earn at least $100, and obviously I’m nowhere near that. But if money were my goal, I would have quit blogging, podcasting, and all that years ago, right?
Now then, I do understand why YouTube took this step. I really do. They are trying to choke off content creators who are looking to make a quick buck off of controversial content (racist videos, Daesh recruitment videos, etc). Then again, maybe rather than choking the life out of all small content creators, just to kill off the slimeballs, maybe they should have created better tools for identifying slimeballs making bad content for the service?
But here’s the thing: While I enjoy making videos, and podcasts, and blogs for that matter, I also don’t think some corporation should profit off of my work while refusing to pay me for it. And that is precisely what YouTube is doing here.
“Wait… YouTube isn’t making any money off of your videos, if they aren’t putting ads on them, right?”
Wrong, actually. First of all. YouTube ran ads on my videos for most of a year on one channel, and for several months on the other, and took profits directly on those ads. While I earned a few dollars on each of those channels at the same time, my portion of the money is locked up until I earn enough to warrant YT cutting me a check. And, with no more ads being run on my videos, I won’t see any of that money for quite some time, if ever.
Furthermore, YT profits off of my content, even if they aren’t running ads on them. Basically, millions of small creators like myself are pushing billions of hours of content to their service every single day. Content that keeps people coming to YouTube to watch videos, many of which are monetized, and earn them money. In short, without small creators, YouTube would have only a tiny fraction of the content they boast, and thus much less of a service to offer. Less content means less eyes on the content they do have, and it becomes a downward cycle for YouTube and the mid-sized and large creators.
So, what to do now? I could continue producing public content for YouTube, to show on this website, as well, and hope that maybe, one fine day, I’ll earn enough views to re-enable ads on my shows. Or, I could put up content on YT, but basically hide it from their public service, so that it can only be seen effectively here or if you subscribe to my channels on YT. Or I could do what I once did, and just host my videos locally, cutting YouTube out entirely, and making “Gaming Stuff” the only place where my content can be viewed. Or just quit making video content entirely.
This is a question I will need to ponder for a while, before I come to a decision. But I do have content already up on YT through May 2017 at this point, so at the very least you’ll have MaME, MaMMO, and RetroStuff that long. Once I decide if it is worth my time, energy, and talent to continue providing content to a service that does not support me, as a small creator, I will update you all on this site.
I would say watching and liking my videos, subscribing to the channels, etc, would help, but I’m not sure YouTube deserves the views.