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YouTube to Announces Subscription Fee to Get Rid of Ads

13 Apr

YouTube has always been a free platform, and they aren’t going to change that any time soon. We’ve seen a few experiments by Google to further monetize the site such as Paid Channels, but none of these have really been successful. The latest attempt is to get people to pay a fee ($5 /mo) which would remove ads from the site. They haven’t specified and additional features, but I personally think they’ll need to do better than that to get people to pay up. Though, the fee would not just go to YouTube; a portion would go to content creators that the paying viewer watches. The split is expected to be calculated based on watch time, so if the viewer spends exactly half the time watching two different creators, each creator would get 50% of the cut after YouTube’s.

On one hand, I’m really excited about this new feature because it could make it easier for creators to make a living off their videos. But on the other hand, I don’t anyone is going to sign up for this if an ad-free site is the only incentive.  Most people already use adblock, and if they don’t already, they certainly will when they find out their $5/mo feature can be replaced for free with browser extension.  I think YouTube is going to need to introduce more features to make it worth while to pay the monthly fee, and I’m sure they know that tool. I can’t speculate on what these features will be, but I can hope. We see sites like Twitch that have a pay model where viewers can pay $5/mo to subscribe to each specific streamer, and that streamer gets a 50% cut (the site gets the other half).  For this, the viewer gets a special badge recognizing their contribution, and exclusive and unique subscriber-only emoticons (created by the streamer) that they can use across the entire site. This creates huge incentive, since it allows the viewer to belong to an exclusive club, as well as promote their streamer even in other streams via the emoticons.

I went into detail on this topic in my latest video, which you can watch below. I’d love to hear what you guys think, and particularly about what features you think YouTube would need to add to make it worth while.

New YouTube Feature: Interactivity Cards

27 Feb
I noticed that I just got this feature recently. I think I got it at the same time my channel was enabled for Fan Funding.  You can have the card pop up a link to fan funding, a fundraising site (like Patreon, Change.org, kickstarter, indiegogo, and several others), and a merchendise site like Spreadshirt.  A full list is available in the google help article titled “Link to fundraising sites through annotations” which I can’t link to.
Personally I think this is really cool and I’ll definitely be using it in my videos. It’s much better looking than a regular annotation. For a live example you can find the video on my channel, but again I can’t link to it.
This pops up when you go to edit settings in a video:
 
Here’s what the interactivity tab looks like. You can add multiple cards that expand at different times in the video:
 
What the card looks like, it shows up at the top left of your video:
Hovering over the card expands it. It also expands for a few seconds at the time you pick in the settings:
Here are what the cards look like. Clicking on the icon when there are multiple cards will show them both, but one is highlighted in the middle.

Death Threats? YouTube Doesn’t Care

06 Aug

So earlier today I got a pretty disturbing PM from a guy in my inbox basically saying he’s going to “hack my ip”, find me and kill me. Now I didn’t find the threat particularly credible, but I decided to report the abuse anyway just because of it’s severity.  I get angry commenters all the time, but when someone takes it to the level of threatening to kill me, I definitely feel I should report it no matter how non-credible I think the threat is. And you should too; if there’s one thing the internet taught me, is there are a lot of crazy mutants out there.

Murder Threat PM

       The guy also left a comment on my video basically saying the same thing. Apparently he deleted it, so I couldn’t select it using the report tool, but as of this writing it is still CLEARLY shows up on his profile history. You can see where he told me “You Wasting My Time I Hack your ip Find you And Kill You Son Of a [B*****]”. I mentioned in the report where they could see this comment on his profile. I took screenshots of the PM as well as the comment on his profile, and I attached it in the report.

Murder Threat Comment

       However, I just got an email from YouTube that says, “We’re unable to identify a violation of our Community Guidelines within your recent report to our Safety and Abuse Tool.” Interestingly enough, the subject of the canned email was “Action Taken.” Though I couldn’t find any evidence of whatever action they were referring to and this violent and obviously disturbed individual faced no consequences.

No Action Taken

 

Internet threats are commonplace, but that doesn’t mean they’re OK.  Anonymity brings out the worst in people, and it reminds me of the quote by Oscar Wilde, “Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”   Now I’m not saying anonymity is always a bad thing, and it’s really shaped the internet into what it is today. I’m almost certain it won’t be like that forever, and I’m somewhat looking forward to it.  The day that people’s online actions stop being inconsequential will certainly be interesting. Until then, YouTube should take reports like these seriously.  The person reviewing the report obviously did not even look at the threats or investigate at all, despite it all being laid out in front of him. Come on YouTube, you claim:

“We want to ensure that Youtube is a safe place for our users while allowing for a vibrant community to flourish. While some content may be insulting or offensive please note that we will only remove serious threats.

I guess a death threat just isn’t serious enough, YouTube?  What a joke. I can’t even imagine what happens to all the other reports by people who received less severe yet still disturbing threats. Quite honestly, I can’t even be sure the report was reviewed by a human at all. How are we to know if an algorithm doesn’t search through the reports and determine which ones are “serious” enough for human review?  I guess that’s what you can expect from a massive corporation that doesn’t even have customer support email.

That’s the end of my rant, but I think something really needs to be done about this.  Law enforcement is not equipped to deal with internet threats, nor do they have the time.  Until they do, we just have to hope people aren’t as crazy in real life as they are on the internet.

 

ADDENDUM: I think I should clarify that I understand why YouTube would not accept screenshots as evidence, since they are extremely easy to fake. However, I want to specify what I believe are the two biggest problems with YouTube’s system for reporting abuse.

  1. You can’t report PMs. This is huge, since if someone is targeting someone else specifically, they will be likely to use PMs. The fact that you can only use comments as evidence, which the other person can delete any time, is stupid.
  2. YouTube obviously does not spend a lot of time reviewing these reports and/or doesn’t take them seriously. If they had taken two seconds to look at the guy’s profile, they would have surely seen the comment I was referring to.

This article isn’t about me. It’s about YouTube.