“Hey, look here! We’ve got a great service that you need to be using. Okay, cool, now that you’ve been using the service for a while, we’re going to shut it down. Because of reasons.” — Google’s secret motto
Okay, it’s not like YouTube is shutting down, but Google has changed the rules for monetising video, and that change is going to affect a lot of creators. Specifically, starting in February, you’ll need 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time (time people spent watching your videos) in order to make money from them.
Google’s explanation? “In 2018, a major focus for everyone at YouTube is protecting our creator ecosystem and ensuring your revenue is more stable.” What does that even mean?
It seems clear that this change is a reaction to recent events, including several major advertisers pulling ads from YouTube in 2017 because of extremist content. There’s less money to go around, so Google is saving money by cutting off people who arguably need it most.
Full disclosure: my own YouTube account will be affected by this change. I’m currently in the YouTube Partner Program, which allows me to monetise my videos. Not that I’ve made much money from those ads. Google seems to make a lot more money selling ads than it hands out to people hosting those ads on their videos and web sites. In any case, I will no longer me able to earn money from ads on my videos after February.
Google, your search engine is amazing, and I use a lot of your (free) services, so I shouldn’t really complain. But dammit, this is getting annoying.