#Adpocalypse / YouTube Advertiser Boycott

#Adpocalypse / YouTube Advertiser Boycott

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Updated Nov 10, 2019 at 07:21AM EST by Y F.

Added Mar 30, 2017 at 09:15AM EDT by Don.

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YouTube Advertiser Boycott, otherwise known as the Adpocalypse, refers to a global boycott of YouTube's advertising service by various companies protesting ads run along with content deemed questionable or offensive.


On March 17th, 2017, the Times of London[6] published an article about advertisements run by the British government and "several private sector companies" appearing on YouTube videos made in support of terrorist organizations. On March 21st, Google Chief Business Officer Philipp Schindler published a blog post[8] announcing a plan to enforce stricter policies to prevent running ads on offensive content. On March 23rd, Business Insider reported that more than 250 brands had removed advertising campaigns with Google, including McDonald's, Toyota, AT&T, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Verizon and Walmart. On March 27th, analysts from the brokerage firm Nomura Instinent speculated that Google could lose up to $750 million from the boycott.[7]


Online Reaction

On March 27th, YouTuber Philip DeFranco posted a video about the controversy (shown below). Within 72 hours, the video gained over 1.49 million views and 13,900 comments.

On March 29th, Ethan Klein of h3h3productions tweeted that YouTube had demonetized many of his videos, including "Vape Nation" and "Thank You for 3 million, with "no notification or option to appeal" (shown below).[1] That day, posts about Klein's tweet reached the front page of /r/h3h3productions[2] and /r/KotakuInAction.[3] Meanwhile, YouTuber Jenna Marbles replied to Klein, claiming many of her videos were demonetized as well (shown below, right).[4]

Ethan Klein @h3h3productions YouTube has demonetized everything from "Vape Nation" to "Thank You for 3 million" with no notification and no option to appeal @TeamYouTube RETWEETS LIKES 呂'm ' 4,745 30,574 5:33 PM -29 Mar 2017 Jenna Marbles @Jenna_Marbles @h3h3productions @TeamYouTube dude same, I've also had a bizarre selection of videos demonetized with no notification or option to appeal. RETWEETS LIKES 3,284 靃画■■p10圃圈 5:44 PM - 29 Mar 2017

That evening, the @TeamYouTube[5] Twitter feed tweeted an announcement that they had "identified a bug" that prevented appeals to videos that had been demonetized (shown below, left). On March 30th, YouTuber Cr1tikal posted a tweet asking if the "YouTube advertiser apocalypse" was a result of the Wall Street Journal's articles accusing PewDiePie of antisemitism (shown below, right).

Team YouTube @TeamYouTube Follow . Thanks for the reports! We've identified a bug that is preventing the appeal of some demonetized videos. We're working on a fix ASAP. RETWEETS LIKES 133 1,252 8:47 PM - 29 Mar 2017 Cr1 TiKaL @CharityCr1TiKaL So is this entire Youtube advertiser apocalypse the result of @WSJ shittiness? Haven't paid too much attention to the topic RETWEETS LIKES 58 1,084 12:56 AM- 30 Mar 2017

Monetization Requirements Update

On January 16th, 2018, YouTube posted a blog[9] entry entitled "Additional Changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) to Better Protect Creators." The article details changes to monetization requirements for YouTube video creators, particularly the number of hours of watchtime on a channel, decreasing the number from 10,000 lifetime views to 4,000 hours within the past 12 months, as a means to ward off "bad actors" from taking advantage of the program. They write:

"We’re making changes to address the issues that affected our community in 2017 so we can prevent bad actors from harming the inspiring and original creators around the world who make their living on YouTube. A big part of that effort will be strengthening our requirements for monetization so spammers, impersonators, and other bad actors can’t hurt our ecosystem or take advantage of you, while continuing to reward those who make our platform great.

"Back in April of 2017, we set a YPP eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views. While that threshold provided more information to determine whether a channel followed our community guidelines and policies, it’s been clear over the last few months that we need a higher standard.

"Starting today we’re changing the eligibility requirement for monetization to 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. We’ve arrived at these new thresholds after thorough analysis and conversations with creators like you. They will allow us to significantly improve our ability to identify creators who contribute positively to the community and help drive more ad revenue to them (and away from bad actors). These higher standards will also help us prevent potentially inappropriate videos from monetizing which can hurt revenue for everyone."

YouTubers, particularly advocates for smaller creators, reacted negatively to policy change as they see this update as creating more challenges for creators with few viewers to become a part of YPP and monetize their videos. That day, YouTuber[10] Kayleigh Kill published a video called "The End Of Smaller Creators | New Monetization Guidelines." The video (shown below) outlines the criticisms against the change and received more than 14,000 views in less than 48 hours.

Following the backlash from various YouTube creators, the company released a statement detailing their motives behind the updated guidelines. They wrote:

"Our recent changes to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) are designed to curb bad actors, stabilize creator revenue and provide greater assurances to advertisers around where their ads are placed. By making these updates to YPP, we aim to help creators of all sizes find more success. We have many free resources in place such as our Creator Academy and YouTube Spaces to help those just starting out build a community around their channel so that they can ramp-up fast and monetize their videos."

Several media outlets covered the policy change, including Polygon,[11] CNET,[12] TechCrunch,[13] Gizmodo,[14] The Daily Dot[15] and more.

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