Feeling conflicted about some Youtube stuff/ I will now complain about YT for 30 000 characters

Is youtube… bad now?

I love YouTube, I mod it like Skyrim.

Today I don’t even want to touch click-through rates, retention optimizations, how live streams and VODs play into this. I don’t know anything about that, probably by design, it’s like Valve Anti Cheat, people aren’t supposed to know how it works because they would game the system. Fair enough, when the target is to keep cheaters out of my ranked games.

But… At this point it feels like the target is to hide the channels from me, and hide my comments from them. I get that writers switching up their topics can lead to unsubs, people joining for the iPods probably don’t care about the drums museum but… yt is way over-correcting. My go-to example is IT and privacy channels, since roughly all of those sooner or later run for the woods. If the guy writing the videos is getting sick and tired of the industry and started a little farm, I’m pretty sure the viewers are feeling that too.
I can fix my homepage and replace it with the subscriptions box. I can’t fix… this mess.

Monetization.

“Take the Money and Run”: A COOL CRIME In The Art World - Weekly Weird News. (archive? there are 5 snapshots and none of them can play the video…)

I spent a good chunk of this post complaining about monetization. It’s easy, in the open source space they do it so much there’s no acceptable answers left. Not even t-shirts.
Let me be absolutely clear, I don’t intend to call-out people for being “sell-outs” or anything, “Every time a maintainer finds a way to get paid, it’s a win.” I’m just feeling some confliction as a viewer about the website I spend too much time on.

Let’s start with that Info and Tech example. It’s generally pretty clear where the facts end and the entertainment begins. No one would confuse a benchmark result with how many FPS do you get by running doom on an iPod. A guide on how to do back-ups has a clear end and the ad for a NAS has a clear beginning. It only gets murkier from there.
Skipping past the embedded sponsor spot hurts retention, and with it views, and regular ad revenue.

Ad supported media sucks.

As far as I know, ads on youtube only “count” if I watch the whole thing. No ads get watched, really. Between entire podcasts getting pushed as “ads” and pre-rolls, I think everyone spams that skip button. I clicked Pewdiepie and you’re showing me TEMU, you’re taking my controls away. The only ones that matter are the 5 30 seconds unskippable ones, and there’s no way but up for those. Wasn’t yt testing 8 pre-roll ads at one point?

“We want users patronizing content creators. We do not want to see a world that is only ad supported, because we’ve been seeing that world for the past 15 years. And I’ll be honest with you, it kind of sucks. It results in the most sensationalist bullshit content always rising to the top. And it results in a system where if Coca-Cola says, I don’t like this, 10 years of somebody’s life just kind of goes down the drain. And that’s just, it’s in my opinion, a crap system. (Coca cola is merely being used here as a catch-all term for “bland advertiser selling lame pop culture product that demands any and all ads appear on lukewarm, boring-ass content”, I do not know if coca cola has or does not have a have a positive view of destiny or eli the computer guy, but hopefully you get the point. ty.) We want to see users patronizing content creators directly. And we want to see them patronizing content creators in a privacy respecting way that is not annoying. Grayjay is designed to try to make the use of every one of these platforms here easier or better than it is with the stock application. It is open source. It is paid, but literally will work if you don’t pay. We are really trying to push the ball forward here in a way that is respectful of both the content creators and the audience members who are asking to take an interest in this application.” ~ The best way to watch online video; my yearlong project is finally done!

" first, platforms are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die. It doesn’t have to be this way." ~An Audacious Plan to Halt the Internet’s Enshittification and Throw It Into Reverse | by Cory Doctorow | Medium ~DEF CON 31 - An Audacious Plan to Halt the Internet’s Ensh*ttification - Cory Doctorow - YouTube

Advertisers aren’t having any fun either

“Many media buyers were surprised to learn that the majority of their ad budgets against a so-called “walled garden” environment was spent on muted, auto-playing video ads on third party websites such as lebanonfiles.com and freewebnovel.com, or on foreign-developed Android mobile gaming apps for toddlers.[…] Many TrueView skippable “in-stream” ads that Adalytics reviewed were delivered on sites and apps in which the ads were rendered in a method that violates Google’s own definitions of in-stream.” ~ Did Google mislead advertisers about TrueView skippable in-stream ads for the past three years?


adtech bro trying to distract you with that extra finger; generated by MidJourney

Refuting Every Lie, Misdirection, and Non-Answer in Google’s Response to YouTube Scandal

"This has nothing to do with ad blockers. Here’s the thing: with Adblock you don’t see the ad, the advertiser doesn’t pay Google for the ad. They don’t care about that, dare I say it I don’t believe advertisers themselves actually care about Adblock. What they care about are their ads that they paid to be over here under these circumstances showing up over there under those circumstances. Where these ads at least have a chance of being listened to and seen, these do not. These will never convert, these will never get that brand any loyalty, they’re literally throwing money away. At the very least, when you are using an ad blocker, they are not paying. The advertisers have a serious reason to be pissed here and by YouTube going to war with ad blockers it makes it seem like they’re doing “something”. It makes it seem like they’re doing something that is pro advertiser, when in reality this could actually be worse because what that means is that your ads will continue to show up in areas where the viewer has absolutely zero chance of ever seeing them, in a tiny video player, showing up on a site that is playing two videos at the same time without viewer interaction, with the ad muted, so that your money is literally pissed down a drain. "

The best way to get ̶m̶y̶ his product across to the general consumer

I have no problem with using it for seeing actual conversion. If you don’t have a way to very very carefully track your ad spend and figure out exactly how your YouTube ads that you’re paying for are converting over into actual business for you. Read this report and look over your ad spend. Because again, in the past I have paid Google for advertising, I’ve paid Facebook for advertising, and I have found time and time again. The best way to get my product across to the general consumer was to be the best at what I do, show people how to do what I do, and not ask for anything in return. So that the nerdy tech person that was friends with the normie, that was trusted by everybody as the tech guy, would be the one referring business to me. That worked. These types of video ads, random pay-per-click crap, I never got a genuine good return from that. And I really do kind of wonder if this is going to be the kick in the nuts for Google that finally pulls YouTube down a notch. One of the things I’ve mentioned in many of these recent videos is that with interest rates going up, more and more companies are going to be shaving away the projects that don’t actually make more financial sense. And if Google has a product that’s just kind of been piddle-paddling along that doesn’t really make them money, that has now been revealed to be screwing their top advertisers out of hundreds of millions of dollars… Bruh. This is not gonna go well(…)

The media buyers responded:

“I would demand a refund of all impression and third party costs associated with buying those ads. I would also demand that youtube/google block buying of these placements by default.”

“Cheated by Youtube. Not confident in future Youtube buys without plans to improve ad placements.”

Sponsors?

A new public enemy arrived after the Adpocalypse. Youtube themselves added fuel to the fire by claiming they have to censor stuff on behalf of the advertisers.
It has come to my attention that demonetization affects youtube premium views too. Viewers pay to see the stuff, and the creators get nothing because this “advertiser” boogieman decided they were swearing too much. Even though they didn’t, it was all automated. And the disputes are rejected automatically too. (no source for this, I’ve read it in a random yt comment :man_shrugging: Please correct me if it’s wrong).
I just want to point out that the sponsors have a much higher tolerance for family “unfriendly” stuff than they’re given credit for. Sorry to shift the tone like this, but here’s Incogni sponsoring pixelated footage of mass murders in China. It’s Murder Season in China . Over a million views!
Funding for journalism has been a spiky issue since the 2008 financial crisis, I’ll come back to this in the conclusion. For now, I wonder if disabling the ads on this particular video actually helped the algorithm filter to whom it should show it.

Direct donations and payments?

Ideally, yeah, this is the purest form of the “attention economy”. Turning views into cash within the least amount of steps. I can only talk from my own experience, but I don’t always cough-up for the “best” stuff. Sure, I give to the open source tools that I use daily. Like, $3. Once. Not even to all of them. Still, there is power in doing it once. Thunderbird pushed one notification, around Christmas, asking for donations. I think it went pretty well. Thunderbird Is Thriving: Our 2022 Financial Report
I don’t know, I feel like at some point direct payments devolve into microtransactions, I’m more likely to pull out my Pokemon card to make annoyances go away, than to genuinely help causes I believe in. I’m not proud of that, hopefully discipline can go against the basic human nature.

Then there’s the issue that paywalls make stuff impossible to “discover”, and so we’re back to marketing. Not everything can have a demo on Steam.

The payment processors

Recently, loads of drama has been pointed at the payment processors, for trying to be the morality police. The EU commission keeps promising that their electronic payment system will give us the moon from the sky and offline support, while avoiding questions about privacy and mumbling something about national security. Lovely.

This doesn’t apply to youtube, Google isn’t getting kicked off SWIFT anytime soon. It’s an attractive offering with guaranteed income, that pushes even more creators through yt’s censorship filters.
Expensive things like morality and free speech aside, internet payments are simply impractical. Here in my corner of eastern Europe banks have been buying out each other, and someone had the curly idea to move from SWIFT instant messaging and doing the accounting at the end of the day, to instant direct transactions 24/7.
Special mention to Stripe. Every time I use it, my card gets locked down due to “unusual traffic”, then Stripe also gives me a cool-down of a few days for trying to pay with a blocked card. Joy.

YouTube Premium

The :elephant: elephant in the room. Yes, I want it to be good. This is the dream, I pay youtube to keep the lights on, and the rest goes to the creators, seamlessly, based on who I watch and for how long. (Rip short animations).
Given how much I stressed about money stuff in here, this is the solution to make the problem go away. I do wish there was an open metric of sorts, with stretch goals and bonuses like, at 1 000 000 paid members we bring back the dislike bar, at 10 M subscribers we disable mid-roll ads for everyone and so on. Patreon proved there’s demand for this… “Hype-train”? “I don’t get it either”

I also wish for videos that were taken down to still show up in history, it’s a bad feeling to try and reference something that fell down the digital memory hole.
I joined YT premium, for now. 2 months for $5, it has regional pricing. I get some peace of mind, as I write this, and a vote. I can cancel it during the next google fuck-up.

How does that interact with the yellow dollar sign?
A perk from premium is downloads and offline play, but they put DRM on downloaded videos…

They keep coming up with ways to ruin the experience on mobile, in the hope that it’s annoying enough to push people over the edge and buy their solution. But on mobile I’m limited by battery, data-rates and my eyeballs, I don’t want to look at a tiny screen for a long time, and I definitely don’t want half of that time going to ads.
I have a de-googled phone. I had installed the yt app. I tried to log into my google account, on PC. It tries to use the yt app as a 2 factor authenticator. The yt app can’t display the log-in request. I log out of the yt app on mobile. Now I can access my google account no questions asked. I changed my passwords on google accounts, with the option to sign-out of all the devices. I still get notifications on that double-logged-out phone.


I still get notifications on that double-logged-out phone. Nice security model. Honk honk.

floorp_pK8SvIhfWN

You have to use Google Wallet Pay. They don’t even let you me choose a payment processor, it’s the magic numbers on the debit card or nothing. (It’s a good time to mention that debit cards have less protections than credit cards).

“federal contempt of business model” ~Cory Doctorow

Bro you’re overthinking this, all you need to do is watch and share with your friends

I used to let the ads play as I left for lunch. In current year, it can be harmful to creators for you to watch their videos. It’s not any more healthy for the viewers either…

Extra discussion and Archives

Google ordered to unmask certain YouTube users. Critics say it’s ‘terrifying’ - #8 by TheBlankSpace - News - Techlore Discussions
https://archive.ph/iLsdT
Feds subpoena YouTube viewers for certain videos | PCWorld
https://archive.ph/VG5wT
https://archive.ph/8K6eP
If you watched certain YouTube videos, investigators demanded your data from Google | Mashable
Authorities reportedly ordered Google to reveal the identities of some YouTube videos' viewers
Google ordered to unmask certain YouTube users

The court orders show the government telling Google to provide the names, addresses, telephone numbers and user activity for all Google account users who accessed the YouTube videos between January 1 and January 8, 2023. The government also wanted the IP addresses of non-Google account owners who viewed the videos. The cops argued, “There is reason to believe that these records would be relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation, including by providing identification information about the perpetrators.”

In the past, Google changed things internally, to avoid dragnets like Geo-fencing. Like, a few years after the fact, usually.

In the guide, I pointed to alternative, private front-ends.

“it doesn’t AT ALL load, it says failed to get media. Tried Invidious since all piped instances are down at the moment. When I switch on Proxy on invidious it says: The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported.” And seems like all YT proxies are having problems right now, I don’t know why for sure."

Happy days…

No comment.

Just… look.

(back-up YouTube’s Bizarre Comment C̶e̶n̶s̶o̶r̶s̶h̶i̶p̶ Problem - Neat.Tube )

"Even though I’m complaining, I actually still think YouTube’s overall done a decent job of giving creators access to tools that no other video platform has done. My core complaint here, just to set the record straight, is that YouTube’s moderation tools are no longer being done in a transparent way where we the creators are in control of what’s happening. There’s no reason whatsoever why these ghost comments shouldn’t appear in our “held from review” section. It means we can’t override this. It means we don’t even know what’s going on and why your comments were removed or what they even said. So we can’t really help you and tell you what to avoid posting to avoid getting caught in YouTube’s filters. We just don’t know. "

I remember how TotalBiscuit used to lock down youtube comments and just pin a link to the associated reddit thread.

“Besides recommending stuff I’d also say that perhaps detaching from certain amount of interaction through comments would in a sense solve the OP’s issue too. I rarely comment and if i do, it’s mostly casual or for laughs. The time and energy might be better spend elsewhere in my opinion.”

but…

after youtube

I’m not ready to “give up” youtube, not yet. And I don’t think “the end is coming”. Even if it were to “end” it has to stay up as a museum of sorts, it’s simply too big to fit inside the Internet Archive. Grayjay makes it easy to seamlessly fit alternative open/interoperable platforms into my usual watching experience, and fortify against sudden bans. I think of it more like “a Surprise Tool That Will Help Us Later” than a way to discover stuff.
Youtube offers free unlimited storage forever, tries to deliver the best stuff, and is so adaptable, it can seamlessly accommodate Vine and Twitch refugees. Not to mention the real ones.

IMG_20240328_231304

I can’t ignore how, out of all the channels I’m subscribed to, 24 got disappeared since October. Only for one of them I’m certain he deleted it on purpose, because he regrets it now. Unlike facebook, there’s no rollback on yt, for better or worse.

I find it hard to express gratitude in general, and for youtube I metronome between “best thing evar” and “para-social relationships are fake and do nothing to help you in life”. Maybe it’s related to that universal “need to be needed”. Between that mess with views doing nothing to help, sometimes even hurting the channels, and my personal interactions with youtubers ending with negative outcomes one too many times, I find it hard to argue out loud “The interaction is what is good about Youtube.” I mean sure, I’m not the reason they deleted the channel, but I’m also not entitled to their errr… life? That would be weird.
This post was built on entitlement. I do believe I’m entitled to Google not burning my phone battery on ads. I am entitled to some privacy, to them not pulling a DragNet over every viewer. But for the comment section, I got stuck in writing. This time is not some mega-corporation being shitty, it’s just me demanding people’s time and attention.

In the past, there was a simple solution to this: Just disable the comments. Maybe use a different platform for discussions, maybe don’t, but no matter what, there was the DISLIKE BAR. Especially for more educational content, if the guy in the video doesn’t want to deal with the comments, fair enough, no need to waste his time, and in return he wouldn’t waste ours with bad info. The dislikes were there as the minimal necessary communication between the viewers. Now, as Techlore mentioned, a guide with no Likes/Dislikes and no comments simply looks weird and untrustworthy.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm2f49P9sBM

“I constantly feel gaslit and that’s like literally the life of a creator if you even bother to look at criticism. Like I’m constantly gaslit because there’s always a little bit of truth I think to every criticism. Like in the proton pass review, literally the same freaking review “you were too nice” “you were too harsh” comments.
Think about that, it’s impossible to be a creator and read those comments and not even give it a shred of a brain cell of attention to see how truthful it is. It’s not possible, there is always going to be a small part of you that at least reflects on it for a split second before you just write it off and be like, “it’s just an annoying person on the internet”. But even for that split second, you’re constantly gaslighting yourself. No matter what you say or what you publish, there’s always going to be two people who interpret it the same way(sic).
And what is really nice for me, and the only thing I really look out for, with feedback, is the like-dislike ratio. That’s by far the best way to know if something I did was good. And it almost always is, because other people are just going to leave a like or a dislike and move on with their day. Because that’s what I do. If I watch a crap video, I’m not going to waste time leaving a comment on the video , who do you think I am? I’m just going to leave a dislike and move on and find a better video. So when something doesn’t have a good like dislike ratio, I look to see why. And this is why I tell you, if I had it my way, no YouTube comments. In fact, like we already did this on Odysee, no comments. Peertube, I already opened an issue on Peertube at some point. They have their forum. I was like “globally disable comments per channel”. As a content creator, I should have the ability to turn off comments on Peertube so that no comments appear on videos.
And I would do the same thing on youtube, but the problem with youtube and the main reason why I don’t disable comments on youtube is because there would otherwise be no way for a new person to our channel to have any kind of feedback to know that it’s legitimate because back in the day people could look at a like-dislike ratio. If a guide, a next DNS tutorial with no comments had a Super good like-dislike ratio you can just write it off and be like “Oh this creator doesn’t like comments, but they have a good like dislike ratio. It’s a good video, I’m gonna spend time on this video”. But now that the dislikes are hidden and if we were to remove comments there would be no instant feedback for people to be able to see that it’s a legitimate video. And we’ve talked about engagement too, and how most likely comments are good for engagement, which YouTube likes, which makes us perform better. But I say for me, the main thing is just… I want someone new to the channel to feel comfortable, and I think the comments are a good way to do that but if it weren’t for that I would much rather just shut off all the instant comments and just ask people to email feedback, if they had feedback, because that’s where you’re going to get real feedback. Someone who takes the time to send an email to someone… um you’re probably still going to get some annoying stuff but if someone actually articulates their complaints in an email that’s something I can work off of. And we do get those by the way, we get really valuable emails from individuals who are like “hey, you covered this, I want to let you know, I have this accessibility issue. I can’t see things. And I want to make you aware of this one problem I have. So you can make this change in your content, because I want to see(sic) your content get better.” It’s very different than “LOL, you’re stupid” on YouTube. And I’m like, well, why am I stupid? Let me know, I want to know, I can make it better. :grin: If you want me to be less stupid, I’ll do it for you. I’ll do anything you want, please :pray:.”

Sorry to keep referencing that clip, it’s the last time, I promise. I also really enjoy the idea of doing reviews on privacy tools alongside the guides because, with all the courses in the world, people aren’t going to use them if they’re inconvenient to use.

I don’t know. I used the word “I” too much in this text already. I remember that as a kid, me and my friends would point and laugh together at the ridiculous guy on youtube. Nowadays, the audience complains that the youtube guy is “too ridiculous” and want him to be their friend, and laugh along with them.

I’ve seen a handful of creators mentioning how the best part is community interaction. So I assume the people making the videos aren’t glad about the comments spontaneously vanishing either.

I’m not ready to admit to using Youtube to find quality Discord servers, but youtubers are pretty good at bringing polymaths together in a place with instant messaging. That place used to be Quora I’m not the first one that thought about it either.

I guess youtubers have bigger issues than me trying to justify comments lol.

Odysee

Countless complaints about the lack of moderation tools, and an uncertain future. It managed to split from LBRY.Inc before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit but as of right now it was auctioned off to an unknown buyer. It’s still the first place I check when there’s something missing from youtube. Free back-up storage, for now.

Rays of sunshine

There’s a bigger talk to be had about internet freedoms and journalism, and there’s more good news on that front. There are some good journalists that use yt as back-up storage for their podcasts or shows, not really focusing on views. There’s internet personalities showing up on TV. And then there’s Recorder, the local kings of social media. (here’s some stuff in english Arhive ENGLISH)

floorp_RhFjlHuscD

Recorder are independent investigative journalists with the most diverse funding strategy I’ve ever seen, from ads and youtube to merchandise and european NGOs(https://eeagrants.org/). And the thing I wanted to showcase: they’re not asking the audience to buy merch, but to fill out a form to redirect a percentage of their income tax to recorder. Support the cause at no cost to the people. Companies can do it too.
Using state funds to investigate state corruption. This is really funny to me.

They’re in such a weird Goldilocks zone, but so is youtube as a whole.

retention
A monument to the Goldilocks zone, with everything from community blog posts to files over a thousand hours long living side-by-side. People chose Youtube over Google Video because that’s where the people and the copy-written content were. I wish and hope it will stay habitable.

Watch next…

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