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YouTube tests letting ad bans be appealed by filming a YouTube video

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Making it easier for creators to earn money

The Verge

YouTube is experimenting with a new program that will allow creators whose ad privileges have been revoked to appeal the company’s decision using “short videos.”

A review team will allow creators with demonetized channels to send in a video that discusses their channel’s content and explains their “creative process,” according to an email posted on a popular subreddit. The review team will then make an assessment within seven days about whether monetization should be reinstated, the email states.

A spokesperson for YouTube confirmed the pilot program to The Verge. Creators will be able to submit the video and appeal the decision immediately, instead of abiding by the current policy and having to wait 30 days. The goal for reviewers who watch the video is to make a more informed decision about whether the channel and content should be allowed to run ads.

“As someone who suffered a great deal with demonetization months ago (is fixed now), this is huge,” one creator wrote on Reddit. “Major props for Youtube if they continue doing this. Ability to properly appeal in the form of a video and get a response back within seven days is so, so, so much better.”

YouTube’s moderation team has a high standard for the type of content that advertisements can run on, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said many times in the past. The company has a responsibility to advertisers to ensure their ads aren’t being run on inappropriate videos. This is why there are certain rules surrounding the company’s Partner Program, which creators must be a part of before they can start earning money.

YouTube’s new pilot program doesn't seem to exist as a way for controversial creators who publish harmful or hateful content, and who have had monetization privileges revoked, to earn advertising back. That includes creators like Steven Crowder, a conservative pundit whose homophobic language targeted at Vox journalist Carlos Maza resulted in his channel losing ad privileges. (Disclosure: Vox is a publication of Vox Media, which also owns The Verge.)

Instead, the pilot program seems to be rolling out for people affected by YouTube’s more confusing monetization policies. Creators have noticed an uptick in channels being demonetized for having videos that are considered “repetitious content,” which YouTube’s monetization team has referred to as “content that appears mass-produced in order to increase views without adding significant educational or other value,” according to creators who have posted about the issue on YouTube’s product forums.

This has to do with new rules seemingly implemented by YouTube in October. Frustrated creators were told that YouTube was coming down harder on content that “appears to be automatically generated,” videos that tried to “get around our copyright tools,” and anything that included footage from third-party sources that wasn’t transformed in any meaningful way.

“If you upload content from multiple sources or repurpose existing content, you may still be eligible for YPP [YouTube’s Partner Program] so long as you’re contributing to the value of that content in some way,” a YouTube employee wrote in a thread on YouTube’s forums at the time. “For example, if you add significant original commentary, educational value, narrative, or high quality editing, then your channel may be fine to monetize.”

People have since complained that YouTube’s appeals process is also frustrating. The new pilot program should hopefully help creators move along in their process, and start earning advertising revenue on their channel. YouTube is starting the pilot with a very small group of creators, but is looking to expand it in the future.