Ever since YouTube opened its monetization market to upstart and popular content creators a couple of years ago, it has faced increasing scrutiny from its many partner advertisers. Last year, (in)famous internet star PewDiePie became one of the first major YouTubers to face strong disciplinary actions following a string of controversial actions taken on his channel, and now twenty-something American YouTuber Logan Paul has drawn similar heat for a poorly judged upload at the beginning of this year, allegedly featuring an actual corpse found within a “suicide forest” in Japan.
Although both YouTubers have apologized (somewhat) for their behaviors, YouTube has taken critical steps to assure advertisers that their brand investments are worthwhile and inoffensive to as large an audience as possible. In April 2017, YouTube announced that in order for channels to qualify for monetization, they much first achieve 10,000 lifetime views. Now in the wake of the recent Logan Paul scandal, YouTube has returned with even stricter guidelines, stipulating that all channels must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the 365 days to be eligible for monetization.
For many, this news is the last straw. Whereas the 10,000 lifetime views imposition was an inconvenience, the latest development is quickly being met with various sensations of disgust, disappointment, disillusionment, and even betrayal. A few days after Logan Paul had posted his now-infamous vlog from Japan, many viewers wondered if and when YouTube would respond to the heinous activity on Paul’s channel. Following nearly a week of stalling, YouTube indeed responded, but this time it answered in a way few were anticipating, and even fewer were prepared to embrace.
Are we witnessing the beginning of the end of YouTube as we know it? Likely not; but we likely witness major shifts in who or what will become trending on the YouTube community.
Certain optimists argue that YouTube is returning to its roots. Back in the days of Ye Olde YouTube, people simply uploaded videos for the sake of sharing them. Money did not originally drive people to share. Perhaps we will see return to the original intent and heart of what YouTube was all about in the first place.
Regardless of the outcome, we will remain strong. This evening, Adrian tweeted this poignant message:
Perhaps some bad players will be eliminated, and maybe a few disheartened good ones, too; but it's also probably safe to say that those who are truly dedicated to their craft will remain, and will continue pressing toward the greater goal of success—a goal which seems ever more elusive yet ever more lucrative once it has been achieved.
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