Up until recently, you needed to have 1000 subscribers and 4000 public watch hours in the past year to be able to enable ads and make money on YouTube. That is no longer the case. Wait, let me rephrase that slightly, it is partially no longer the case.
Ads can now be enabled on small channels like mine but the creator won’t get anything in return. Zero, zip, zilch, nada, nothing! And there’s no way of opting out except for going against the YouTube terms of service which might also get you banned. Thanks, YouTube.
One more ad won’t hurt, right?
YouTube, the video platform that has since the beginning of the year alone made nearly $13 billion just from ads, belongs to Google. And Google is free to display ads anywhere they want on any of their own platforms. Ads are, despite their many attempts at diversifying, still their bread and butter and YouTube ads represent about 10% of all Google revenue.
I get it, all the servers needed to host YouTube videos across the globe aren’t cheap. And Google doesn’t actually mention whether YouTube even brakes even or not, though more recent reports indicate that YouTube is starting to become a money-making machine. But that doesn’t mean that the ethics of their decisions can’t be questioned.
For those of you out of the loop, here’s a quick explanation to what is going on: YouTube will run ads on some small creators’ videos, it could potentially hit my channel if it were to be considered it safe enough, but it won’t give the small creator a portion of the ad revenue because they’re not big enough to be enrolled in its Partner Program. The rules for the Partner Program were put in place because advertisers weren’t all too happy to see their products mentioned before ISIS recruitment videos and other nastiness. If you are accepted into the Partner Program you get 55% of the revenue and Google takes the remaining 45%. While 45% might be quite a big chunk, it’s only fair that Google takes its cut.
Without creators, there are no YouTube videos
Every YouTube video is a product of teamwork between the creator and YouTube. The creator is responsible for the content and Google provides you with storage, distribution, and a global audience, it places relevant ads and potentially promotes your video to interested viewers. Think of the 45% what you want, I’m not here to discuss that, but it is only fair that Google also takes a cut. I have no problem with that.
(I’ll just mention that app developers are angry at the 30% cut Apple and Google take in the app stores and I can’t say I blame them.)
Ads on small channels are wrong
But what Google is doing now is taking 100% of the revenue and giving the creator nothing in return. It might even lead to fewer views because viewers might click away when they see an ad, which might hamper one’s chances of getting accepted into the Partner Program. And that just doesn’t sit right with me.
I understand that if I were in the Partner Program, my channel would only be making me a few dollars every week but still, I’m the reason why people are watching the ad in the first place because I provided the content viewers want to watch. Viewers are here to watch my content and not an unskippable ad.
Despite my channel being rather small I have had a few videos gain some traction. My video criticising the Dell XPS15 is now sitting at around 21000 views. Let’s say I were to make $3 per 1000 views which would put me at around $63 up until now. That’s obviously nothing to write home about but if I were to put everything together from my other videos I could probably buy myself another LED panel.
Were I in the Partner Program, Google would also earn $52 from the same video. But with the new rules, Google is making $115 and I’m not given a single cent. Just to reiterate: the viewer is only watching the ads because they want to see my content.
How to support small channels
So what do I recommend you, as a viewer of my channel do? The best thing you can do is subscribing and helping them that magic number and take their cut from any ads that might be placed on my videos.
The next best thing you can do for all small YouTube channels is to send YouTube feedback. You’ll find the option if you scroll all the way down in the menu. Who knows, they might change their mind if enough people complain. Yes, it’s probably in vain but it might be worth the attempt. It’s not unheard of that Google changes its mind on something.