YouTube has issued new guidelines for monetizing videos. A single wrong word in the wrong place can cost you revenue – even if it’s just on a t-shirt and even if the video now being de-monetized was shot months ago.
What are these guidelines? The video platform YouTube has certain guidelines that creators must follow when creating a video in order for them to be able to generate revenue from a video. When a video is eligible for monetization, the creator gets paid.
If a YouTuber uses obscene language in his video, the monetization for the video can be canceled: This is called “de-monetization” and it’s the nightmare for anyone who wants to make money with YouTube: All the many thousands or even millions of clicks are suddenly worthless.
Stricter rules against swear words – even against relatively harmless ones
What is changing in the guidelines? Up until now, the main rule for YouTubers was that they couldn’t say profanity like “f*ck” or “sh*t” in the first 30 seconds of the video.
However, with the new guidelines, no obscene language may be used at all in the first 7 seconds of a video, title or thumbnail. Likewise, swear words should not be repeated several times in the first 8 to 15 seconds.
In addition, all obscene expressions are treated equally, there is no longer a gradation as to what is bad or less bad.
In general, the new guidelines should not only affect new videos, but also old videos that were previously monetized.
YouTube probably cuts revenue with no apparent violation
This is what the new guidelines trigger: IIn a video about the new guidelines, YouTuber moistcr1tikal says his channel has been “extremely hard hit” by the new guidelines, adding: “It’s just really confusing what’s triggering this new wave of de-monetization that’s plaguing us ( via YouTube).”
At the same time, two wordings in the policy are causing some confusion, as some videos are not in violation and have still been de-monetized.
- “This Content May Bring Limited or No Ad Revenue: Commonly Used Profanity in a Video.” – Gaming and Monetization (via support.google.com)
- “Content that contains profanity or profanity at the beginning or for most of the video may not be appropriate for advertising.”
- “The occasional use of profanity (e.g. in music videos) does not necessarily make your video unsuitable for advertising.” – Guidelines for Advertiser-Friendly Content (via support.google.com)
Both phrasings suggest that a video can be de-monetized outside of the first 15 seconds if profanity is present in a majority of the video or used frequently.
At the same time, however, it is said that the occasional use does not necessarily preclude monetization of the video. Despite this, YouTubers “Stan from Poland” and “RT Game” have been hit by the de-monetization wave, although judging by the wording they appear to have committed no offense.
Printing on a t-shirt costs YouTubers money
YouTuber Stan from Poland tweeted that one of his videos was de-monetized because a Chinese word on a friend’s t-shirt was deemed “extremely profane”.
The scene in question is not in the first 7 or 15 seconds of the video, nor does the video contain more obscenities. The YouTuber even explains why the word isn’t even profanity and what it means.
The RT Game channel is also affected by the new guidelines: On Twitter the YouTuber reports that 12 of his videos have been caught in the meantime. Other creators ask YouTube in the comments Twitterto re-enable monetization for RT Game’s videos as RT Game’s videos are “clean”.
RT Game itself contacted the video platform, but received a reply that YouTube would not change its status. He himself feels “completely let down” by YouTube. The YouTuber also says, “I’m absolutely devastated.”
Another content creator is faring well on YouTube: MrBeast. His channel is growing steadily, and it wasn’t until November that he surpassed PewDiePie as the YouTuber with the most subscribers.