YouTube – Death of a Hobby

562 wc

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.

UPDATE

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.

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