The Trouble with YouTube’s Algorithms

Otherwise known as, a human would know better. Or, artificial intelligence is not that intelligent.

In which I step up my plans to begin embedding (relevant) videos within my website in an effort to fight against the numbers game….

To make a long story short, yes I would like to monetize my channel, which now requires 1000 subscribers total and 4000 hours watch time annually. (Not “or” as I’d previously thought when I’d received the email. And.)
But more than that, I want access to the tools that are exclusive to partners… namely the ability to link to an external site from within the video itself. In this day of YouTube apps and embedded videos–not to mention character limits–putting the link in the description just isn’t enough any more, and wouldn’t it make sense to, say, include a link to one of my book reviews on a relevant BookTubing video?
My immediate goal, however, is simply to get a custom web address…. which still requires 100 subscribers.

Incidentally, I have the same goal for my travel/motorcycle channel, “Tamie’s Travels” should anyone care to take a look.


Look, YouTube is not required to pay us anything for our videos. It is their choice to offer a means of making money, and their choice to take that away. We play in their playground, we play by their rules.
That is not what I am complaining about.
I am complaining, instead, about the flimsy excuses they’ve started giving for those choices.

YouTube has long been a preferred source of income for many a gamer and amateur filmographer, for those of us who make videos as a hobby and those of us who want to make it a business but lack access to more professional tools such as an actual studio.
It allowed us a small (very small!) amount of money in exchange for our passion–we did other businesses a service by allowing advertisements to show on our videos, and in return we were paid for that service. This is not free money! Making those videos, and making them well, is work.

But no more. Now YouTube seems determined to tell us that those of us who made the site what it is are no longer allowed to play.
They claim they are trying to protect the advertisers who don’t want to be associated with certain types of videos…. but the advertisers don’t seem to be the ones making that decision.
They claim they are trying to protect their content creators… but the only ones they’re protecting are the big name stars who already make a lot of income through the site.

And they’re throttling, not only the income from the smaller YouTubers, but their own income as well.
They seem to forget that all of those little numbers add up.

And worst of all, they’re doing it with a numbers game, by deciding on a video’s ad-worthiness not by the quality of the video, or the content, or the number of views and likes and comments, but by the number of subscribers on the entire channel.
Which, ultimately, is stupid. You can theoretically get plenty of views without any subscribers at all, and having tons of subscribers is no guarantee that anybody watches the videos. Heck, YouTube allows people to subscribe to your channel even if you’ve never posted a single video!
Fact is, no matter how many subscribers I have, I’m not going to get dime one if nobody actually watches my videos–nor, by extension, is YouTube–which means the advertisers aren’t going to pay me anything even if I have thousands of videos that are eligible for monetization. So why should a variable as insignificant as the number of subscribers be used to decide whether a video should make any money in the first place?

And if that wasn’t bad enough….

After YouTube came up with this latest atrocity, the community responded…. by helping one another. By networking with one another to make our own channels more visible and to find channels we might never have discovered if we had relied entirely on YouTube’s algorithms, and finding some very interesting and worthy videos in the process. By doing what we were supposed to be doing all along.
But YouTube’s response was to begin taking away those subscriptions. To tell us that our decisions to subscribe to a previously-undiscovered channel doesn’t mean squat.

But the community is still doing what it can to help smaller channels.

Here we have Help for Help on FaceBook, specifically created for the purpose of making smaller channels more visible.
It was created in response to YouTube’s algorithms taking away subscriptions, particularly when those subscriptions came from comments left on YouTube’s own blog post.

There are also pages out there, created long before this fiasco, designed to help people find videos with few or even no views:
Petit Tube (which seems to show a lot of advertisements, but there might be some gems in there)
Underviewed
There is also the likes of the Channel Crawler, which allows you to specify what sort of numbers you are looking for, along with type of video (genre) and a variety number of other factors.
And there are probably plenty of others.
The problem with these types of sites is that they don’t take into account factors like whether the person who made the channel cares about views or whether subscribers are needed for any reason like monetizing. But every little bit helps, yes?

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5 Responses to The Trouble with YouTube’s Algorithms

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