YouTube – Death of a Hobby

I never thought this would happen, but YouTube finally made changes that affect me.

Previously, channels had to reach 10,000 total views to be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). …starting today, new channels will need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads. We will begin enforcing these new requirements for existing channels in YPP beginning February 20th, 2018.

Now first, let me just say that I completely understand why they are doing this and don’t really have a philosophical or business problem with it. I mean, big brands like auto companies or Hollywood sure don’t want their ads going on a dinky channel with no barrier to entry like mine, right? If I were big business with big ads, I’d be complaining about that, too. It makes perfect sense.

But man, I was less than 1,500 views away from getting to 10,000 views. After like three years. I was so close to exploiting the system for my own personal gain! Imagine the tens of cents of free money I could have been pulling down every month.

Now I am roughly 980 subscribers and 3,800 hours away from the threshold.

With these changes, YouTube is very clearly saying, “We don’t want hobbyists as ad partners. We want committed, full-time creators only.” Which, again, makes perfect sense. YouTube is certainly big enough now that it doesn’t need hobbyists anymore.

It’s just a bummer for me. It’s now not even worth putting a couple of hours a week into anymore. So you probably won’t be seeing anymore polished videos from me, at least after I finish uploading the backlog on my hard drive. It’s mostly going to be “press the start button and hope for the best” content from now on, like when I started out. And like streaming! Zing!

And I just made a cool trailer for my Guild Wars 1 series starting next week. Arg.

Well, at least it prompted me to write a blog post when I otherwise wouldn’t have.


Out of curiosity, I wanted to see how far I could get after clicking the button to “apply” for monetization, despite knowing full well I didn’t meet the qualifications. After all, it said right there on the page that I was eligible! Maybe I was a special snowflake.

After you enable monetization, there is a 4-step process to go through where you accept some TOS and then setup an AdSense account, which is a tremendous pain because you have to insert some script tags into the header of a web site just to “activate” an account (a process that WordPress does not make easy). Then you setup your monetization preferences (which is basically how obnoxious do you want the ads to be in your videos).

It lets you go through all of that work even though you have zero chance of becoming a partner. Then you get to the final step:

I already knew those numbers from looking at my Analytics tab and doing some math (because it shows view time in minutes not hours–for me, at least, maybe it shows hours for Big Name People). YouTube, apparently, did not know those numbers until after I had given over all kinds of PII (Personally Identifiable Information) to the AdSense page. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

6 thoughts on “YouTube – Death of a Hobby”

  1. Wait, you only needed 10K views previously to be a partner? Through blind luck I have a video I did five years ago with 145K views. I could have been reaping the rewards and living the high life. But now, like you, I am about 980 subscribers shy. Ah well, a missed opportunity.

  2. Alas, my channel is sitting on about 250 subscribers and probably a few hours viewed over the past year, so I’m more idle than everything. Even so, I’m a bit miffed that Google will start making bank off my content without giving anything in return.

    Personally, I feel like it creates an increasing opportunity for firms like Twitch and Vimeo to expand their product by offering creators better terms and a better experience. More competition can only be a good thing.

  3. Heh! I have 7 subscribers! My most watched video ever had just over 1k views. Most of them have fewer than 50.

    Completely by chance I found the channel of someone I used to work with the other day – I had no idea he even had a channel – and he had well over 3 million views. I did think “well, if he can do it…”

  4. Personally I think there is going to be a big uptick in “buy YouTube subscribers and views” services now. :) Today it’s a mere $150 for 1000 subscribers. Which honestly seems like kind of a no-brainer for anyone serious about making a full-time business out of a YouTube channel.

    1. Hmm, are you telling me I can monetize my services?!

      Ok, for 0.20usd, you will get a bespoke service where I will personally go to a Youtube site and click the subscribe button!

      For a mere 0.29usd more, I will leave a <10 word comment!

      All proceeds are donated to the charitable cause known as “Jeromai’s Obsessive Compulsive Steam Game Collection Fund.”

      Fine print: no videos will actually watched…

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