YouTube hits reset on its partner program

When Logan Paul uploaded a video of a dead body a few weeks back, YouTube found itself at a crossroads: the community was becoming toxic, and it was being incredibly light touch about moderating that content.

Today it's responded with... a move, which doesn't appear to be going down well: it's rebooting the 'partner program' which allows creators to monetize their videos.

As of February 20, the company is pulling those benefits from creators with less than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours. Previously, the bar was around 10,000 subscribers and nothing more — which meant that it frequently was exploited for quick money.

I'm not in the YouTuber world so it's difficult to say if this will actually fix much, but what's clear is creators are upset by this. Those who have worked hard to reach the previous tier are having their benefits retroactively withdrawn, sometimes arbitrarily, with little notice.

The biggest issue appears to be tying views and subscribers together. For channels that do things like make content that helps you pull apart some old screen you have lying around, they'll struggle to gain subscribers but likely have millions of views:

For niche channels, like my own, it can be easy to have the views but difficult to have the subscribers. These two should not be tied together for purposes of monetization. — HN

The move won't gain much favor from people who have worked hard to build a community and suddenly have the rug pulled from under them, even if the money wasn't big anyway. It may, however, help clean up the service's image.

If anything, this change appears to be designed to reassure nervous advertisers that they're a safe place to put marketing budget. By restricting the program even more heavily, it's able to more confidently claim that advertiser's cash will only put their brand on 'good' content.

There's a silver lining here for creators: if this does clean up the advertising program, suddenly you're competing with hundreds of thousands less scammy videos for that ad revenue, so it just could work.

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