What REALLY Ruined YouTube?


As a frequent user of different video and live streaming sites over the past few years I’ve seen a lot of different opinions on what specifically ruined YouTube for people. YouTube used to be an awesome place to be creative and build an audience. Now it’s all corporate media, or just individuals HEAVILY pandering. I’ve always found many of the arguments people use against YouTube (and often in comparison to other sites) to completely miss the mark.

“YouTube was fine until Google bought it!””

**Google has ALMOST always owned YouTube – Google bought YouTube in 2006, YouTube was founded in 2005. YouTube started going downhill (in my opinion) in 2012-2013 and the first adpocalypse happened in either 2014 or 2015 if I remember correctly. So unless you mean the literal 1 year YouTube wasn’t owned by Google then you’re mistaken.

“Ads ruined YouTube”

YouTube’s leadership ruined YouTube – Ads didn’t ruin YouTube. YouTube ruined themselves. YouTube is owned by Google, one of the richest and most powerful companies on the web. They could’ve VERY EASILY told advertisers where to stick it whenever they came after them. YouTube didn’t really put up a fight. They immediately gave in. They also ran for many years at a loss and weren’t hurting at all, so they didn’t need advertisers to stay afloat. They also could’ve been intelligent and diversified how they make money on the platform by making something similar to YouTube Red many years before they did, but they didn’t. People think ads are to blame, but I believe the root of the problem was never once the advertisers being confused and believing it was 1997 still, it was YouTube’s management being unwilling to stand up to advertisers.

Scorched Earth and treating the creators like trash – Another thing that YouTube’s leadership is incredibly guilty of is scorched Earth solutions to every problem that comes along. There was a point in the earlier days of YouTube where the video responses were filled with “reply girls” AKA women who would wear semi-revealing clothing in their thumbnails and make pretty much valueless content in order to make money and gain views. YouTube’s response to reply girls was to literally change the entire way the whole platform runs. They removed video responses, changed the way promotion and monetization works to instead promote watch time over views and started preferring ads on videos that are 10 minutes or more in length. All of those massive sweeping changes because some random whores wanted to cheat the system.

The Algorithm – A big example of YouTube’s constant scorched Earth solutions to EVERYTHING. The point of websites like YouTube is that you can make content that you’re very passionate about without being a part of some kind of massive corporate entity. I remember the old days of YouTube being mainly people sitting in their bedroom with a camcorder facing them, poorly lit and just having a chat about things that matter to them. The algorithm tells creators that if they don’t want to “play the game” that they’ll never grow an audience on YouTube. You have to worry about asinine things like “audience retention” which has literally nothing to do with the real quality or value of said content and instead is determined by if a person clicks on your video and doesn’t immediately like you. YouTube’s algorithm forces people to pander in order to find an audience as opposed to giving people the opportunity to just naturally be discovered, or to be able to make mistakes or accept that some people won’t like you for incredibly subjective reasons. It’s one of the worst things about YouTube in my opinion.

YouTube ruined notifications – In the early days of YouTube you’d subscribe to a channel and you’d get the person’s videos in your sub box, life was simple. Once everything on the internet began to focus heavily on mobile YouTube decided to add a notification bell. As an idea I think that’s fine, you can sub and get their videos in your inbox without getting a push notification each time a video goes up, or you can sub and click to bell for notifications on top of it going to your sub box. YouTube decided to give you the illusion of choice instead. When you sub to a channel and click the bell YouTube just decides for you when to send notifications which entirely defeats the purpose. For years people have been pointing out how silly this is to YouTube, but it’s management doesn’t seem to care at all. They’re ignoring the criticism and instead saying “I know what’s best for you. You don’t!”

YouTube blamed creators for COPPA – There’s a federal law known as COPPA that states that you cannot use your website to collect data from anyone underaged. YouTube naturally collects data from anyone who’s signed in and minors tend to just use sites like YouTube and lie about their age. When the United States government came knocking on YouTube’s door demanding them answer for their data collection they literally claimed that the creator’s are the ones to blame for this. As creators we had no option to say “don’t collect this data” YouTube was also pushing creators to make “family friendly” content at the time when this had occurred and were demonetizing anything edgy. They forced creators hands then punished them for doing the things that they had pushed them into doing. What an evil thing to do.

This article could be as long as a novella, but I think I’ve made my point. YouTube wasn’t this innocent business that was hurt by the “big bad advertisers” They have been slowly digging their own grave. Look at the root of these problems instead of the symptoms. YouTube’s leadership is terrible at their jobs, they have an algorithm that forces pandering, and they blame creators for things that they’re doing. Find an alternative and vote with your usership. Let YouTube go the way of Myspace and fade into obscurity.

Published by NathanSample

Geek, Gamer, Christian, Funny man, all around good boy.