WASHINGTON: There are possibly millions of “gig jobbers,” that rely on internet tools such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube. These individuals create income streams that are, arguably, the entrepreneurial backbone of the online small business world.
However, the online media giants that supposedly support the gig jobbers don’t act like business partners. The companies behave like ideological dictators.
They make sweeping decisions that affect small businesses and, most importantly, the monetary streams of the entrepreneurs who have put their heart and soul into an online initiative.
Having a YouTube business
Searching “YouTube Business” the results are staggering: 537,000,000 responses, the top ten pages about how to start a business on YouTube. They encourage you to bring and give your entrepreneurial skills without the guarantee of payment or promotion. They cleverly fall just short of promising “if you build it they will come.”
YouTube, it is worth noting, is owned by Google. YouTube, like Google, is first and foremost an advertising agency. They encourage people to create content and sign up for Google AdSense.
Google AdSense sells ads and makes money, a lot of money. For the fiscal year 2017, Google revenues are reported to be $110.8 BILLION. What is more surprising is that those 2017 numbers represent a tripling in Google revenues since 2014’s $65.67B profits.
How do they make that money? Sites, like CommDigiNews or Aghdam’s YouTube Channel, sign up for Google AdSense (along with other advertising platforms) to keep those ads filled. But the CPM (cost paid for every one-thousand visitors) is mere pennies.
According to Minterest’s article How Much Traffic Do You Need to Make $100,000 with Google AdSense:
CPM Network earnings totally depend upon your traffic quality but you can expect anywhere between $1-$3 per 1,000 impressions. So, if you generate 100,000 page views a day then you can make $100 – $300 a day from CPM Networks. Again, you can earn $100–$300 (or maybe even more) a day by selling banner ads directly to advertisers.
Between the two “social media” networks, Google has infinite power to affect who succeeds at an online business. Popular conservative commenters Diamond and Silk created a YouTube business with a monetization stream. An income that allowed themselves to pay their mortgage, and feed their family. Those things we work to be able to do.
As did Vegan activist Nasim Najafi Aghdam.
The shooter, Nasim Najafi Aghdam, did the same. And both small businesses were arbitrarily impacted by unknown persons at YouTube who, deciding that their businesses were not “acceptable to advertisers,” shut down their monetization.
Tragically, one to deadly results.
What does that mean? YouTube decides when they are not going to allow that YouTube Channel to financially benefit from the placement of ads. The channels are not being censored, necessarily. The VBlogger can continue to post their videos.
It’s just that the only pipeline to make money from their entrepreneurial efforts is closed off to them.
Frustratingly, it is all done by faceless, nameless people that you cannot contact. People whose attention Aghdam was most likely only able to get at the cost of her life, and those injured by her actions.
Aghdam was demonetized because her content was not acceptable to YouTube advertisers. Maybe it wasn’t.
Face it, the “not acceptable” line is a disingenuous copout for YouTube.
As an online publication, when we choose to accept advertising from an agency we can opt out of ads that promote gambling, dating websites, adult websites, auto-play video and more. And those advertisers also make choices in the sites they want to buy from. They are looking for parameters that fit their business model. For example, the NRA might not choose to run ads on a liberal site or channel platform.
A YouTube account does not need to be demonetized, YouTube just needs to offer advertisers the ability, as Google AdSense already does, to indicate channels it does not want to purchase.
Unfortunately, Google owns YouTube. They own it all. They have a monopoly. They do not have to explain themselves. Or make it fair. Or answer the phone.
When you sign up you click the terms and agreement it says they can do what they want, when they want and they owe you nothing. Which no one reads anyway. The problem is that there is not even the ability to contact someone to understand why a specific video cannot be monetized.
So what makes a YouTube VBlogger good in the eyes of the almighty?
Let’s look at a few examples. Not sure why this video,
Is any more or less likable than this video.
Please remember, watching a YouTube video is an opt-in. Even here, these videos (which appear via a link to YouTube and are not really on our site) will be watched because you want to. Unless you click that arrow, the video will not play. If you do click the arrow, the click goes to the video, not this page.
Therefore, someone who enjoys the prancercize lady may not want to watch another exercise video. And someone that follows Rachel Maddow might not be interested in the messaging of Diamond and Silk.
The question for you, and Congress, is: do the faceless YouTube powers get to decide what you and I want to watch? This is not really about censorship, though the practical effect is the same. It’s about shutting off, or at least diverting, access to one entrepreneur’s site in favor of another.
So the question, maybe, is why does YouTube get to choose if your passion has value?
Isn’t that a question for the marketplace?
Entrepreneurial heart and soul crushed
Aghdam, like Diamond and Silk, put her heart and soul, and years of effort, into her YouTube channel. She felt she had a message and she felt it was important. It became her identity. Her thing. It was what made her special.
According to reports, her family says she hated YouTube. She recently complained to them that they had stopped compensating her for her videos.
“There is not equal growth opportunity on YouTube or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want (it) to!!!!” Aghdam wrote.
In YouTube’s defense, her videos are a bit quirky. They might not be what everyone wants to watch. And maybe, just maybe, her revenue stream just “dried” up. But why? She had her subscribers. She knew if she was receiving views leading to financial success.
There is no reason, other than suppression, that the meager dollars she was making just stopped. Aghdam had little value to YouTube and the only way she could get their attention was via a hail of bullets.
And that is sad.
Can’t we just be nice?
The real crux of the problem is customer service. The customer is no longer a valuable asset today. Try to reach customer service at almost any company. How many times do you need to press one, then five, then enter your billing zip code. After twenty minutes of yelling at a computer, you might get a person.
Or you just have to watch a video captured on an airline flight to know that you no longer have value to the majority of American businesses.
So YouTube, and the Google parent company, treats Aghdam, and millions of others like her, as though she and her message had no value. They demonetized her. Just like they demonetized Diamond and Silk.
They also demoralized her. And today she is dead. And people are injured. And the policy of the faceless company is culpable in her death and the injury of those people.
Instead of a person, or even an email exchange, users are expected to refer to the site’s FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions.) Or find another more experienced user that will spend their days telling other people what they are doing wrong. Or how to do it right.
Like this guy, TomSka, who has nearly five million subscribers—his business model is YouTube. His business is creating fun VBlogs, short movies, and other entertainments on YouTube. Here he shares his expertise.
Clicking on his videos on YouTube, which are well produced and quite funny, he has video ads. TomSka is making money.
The Hole video has 9,685,688 views.
So what does a YouTube video blog make?
Some VBloggers make a lot. TomSka’s The Hole video has had over 9,685,688 views. CPM’s change (pageviews divided by 1,000 X CPM = revenue) so these are just estimates based on certain assumptions.
According to Influencer Marketing Hub’s How Much Do YouTuber’s Make?
- Google pays out 68% of their AdSense revenue, so for every $100 an advertiser pays, Google pays $68 to the publisher.
- The actual rates an advertiser pays varies, usually between $0.10 to $0.30 per view, but averages out at $0.18 per view.
- On average a YouTube channel can receive $18 per 1,000 ad views. This equates to $3 – $5 per 1000 video views.
So, TomSka’s The Hole video could have possibly netted him nearly $40K over three years. He has over 150 videos on his site, using an average of a $4 CPM, that is a lot of ChaChing for TomSka.
This video from TomSka has over 40m views.
And that could mean an income of over $160K for this one video.
It is amazing who is making massive amounts of money making 3-4 minute YouTube videos. Some of it is creative and fun, like TomSka. Other video bloggers are hot screaming messes or instructional on the best way to use a bong.
Diamond and Silk
The sisters known as Diamond and Silk are from North Carolina and they were early Trump supporters. They took to their VBlog on YouTube to comment on the day’s headlines, political babble and, a favorite of theirs, political tactics designed to mislead the American public. And to voice their rabid support for then-candidate and now President Trump.
As a result of their VBlog, they have become a voice for the silent majority—unafraid to say what’s on their mind. Watching a Diamond and Silk VBlog is akin to sitting down with your fun neighbors to talk about the day’s politics.
YouTube’s response to Diamond and Silk was to “demonetize” more than 90% of the videos they had posted. According to published reports, the reason for shutting down their income stream was that their “content was not acceptable to the majority of advertisers.”
How much revenue did our North Carolina neighbors lose? The dynamic duo has nearly 500 videos. The number of views per video range from a few thousand to well into the millions. The numbers are staggering.
YouTube’s only possible reason for shutting down their revenue had to be the conservative message, regardless of anything YouTube might say to the contrary. They are as well produced as TomSka, as interesting to their 137,600 channel subscribers as anyone else. They do not promote anti-social behavior, other than supporting President Trump.
To borrow a term from anti-gun teen David Hogg, one must call bullshit on YouTube’s August 2017 ban of the ladies. Luckily for them, that decision seems to have been reversed. Appearing on the Alex Jones show after their channel was demonetized, Diamond and Silk revealed their plans to sue YouTube.
Is YouTube wrong?
When a person, or persons, create an online business, there is little option other than to use Google, Facebook and YouTube to stimulate that business. They are our virtual mall whether you are selling a widget, creating a personality channel (like Diamond and Silk) or publishing an independent newspaper, like CommDigiNews.
We exist because they exist. However, lest you forget, we gave them that unfettered power to own this marketplace without competition.
Unfortunately, this gives these media empires the ability to decide who does, and who does not succeed. In Diamond and Silk’s business, the decision to redact advertising, the monetary stream, from the business was because they did not feel their advertisers would want their ads associated with their conservative message.
Again, I call bullshit.
Smart advertisers of soap want people who use soap, not only a certain person that uses soap
If a soap company is advertising their newest laundry detergent, I assure you they do not have a political ideology test. And if an individual YouTube user chooses not to be one of their approximately 140,000 subscribers of a channel, that is their choice.
But trust me, advertisers don’t care who buys their soap. They care that someone buys their soap. The faux political boycotts of shows like The Ingraham Angle is, in a word, bullshit.
What Hogg, and others don’t realize, is that they moved their advertising from the show until the storm blew over. Neither Fox nor Ingraham were in danger from the temporary hiccup. And Ingraham will return next week.
Did Google, Facebook and YouTube disinterested business model lead to violence
And there is the problem with today’s mega-media companies like Google, Facebook, and YouTube.
Not knowing Aghdam, nor being a behavioral expert, I have been there. Trying to get someone at Google or Facebook, even Twitter, to respond is like trying to collect Niagara Falls into a bucket.
You can’t talk to a person at these tech media companies. And one can assume that Aghdam felt her message was as important as Diamond and Silk, as entertaining as TomSka.
But she was devalued by a mega company that felt she was not worth a response. Or that her work was not worth their attention. Instead of letting the market support and grow a person’s VBlog, they made the choice t shut it down.
If the same actions were taken by a mall owner, to lock the doors of the seller because they did not like what they are selling, there would be lawsuits. And anger.
Frustration & anger all too commonplace in cyberspace
And that becomes very, very frustrating. Unfortunately, that frustration and anger lead to violence and suicide. And while Aghdam is ultimately responsible for her actions, it may be time for these media / advertising monopolies to stop treating content creators as flotsam, and think of them as partners.
Because the reality is Google and YouTube and Facebook now function like public utilities. Everyone uses them. Everyone is dependent on them.
Only the electric company can’t shut off your electricity because you voted for Donald Trump.
The phone company can’t deny you internet access because they don’t agree with your viewpoint on gay marriage. The police can’t ignore your 911 call because they disagree with your view on global warming.
Google, YouTube and Facebook – a license to to discriminate at will
And Google and YouTube and Facebook can’t discriminate against users of their channels when they have violated no laws. Who are engaged in free expression? Who are merely conveying their opinions or viewpoints or interests in what is supposed to be an open forum?
Who have spent years in some cases building up a business on those channels?
It’s not about the advertisers. It is about unaccountable power and censorship by demonetization.
I call bullshit. Maybe YouTube, and Google, should consider some sensitivity training so they are more aware of the consequences of their actions. Somehow I doubt it.