Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Recently a lot of YouTube Partners have been complaining about a drop in views and a drop in subscribers. To hear YouTube's explanation of the subscriber drop click here. http://youtubecreator.blogspot.com/2012/05/update-on-subscriber-counts.html Now I support this decision by YouTube, however I have been hearing about some active accounts being unsubscribed. A video about that will be out later this week.

Some people are even posting that this will somehow cause them to stop making videos. Sorry, but I have to call bullwinkle on that. If you won't post videos unless you are popular then perhaps you need to step aside for those of us who realize that life isn't fair and sometimes it takes hard work to get ahead. However I don't intend to claim that everything is perfect and the purpose of this blog is to highlight what I think is not working and what steps YouTube should make to make things better for those of us who post videos.

Point 1
There are a few reasons I have found that earnings are down. The first is YouTube is promoting longer videos which is the opposite of everything we were told to do previously. In the past we were told to keep it short and quick, but now long videos are in. http://adage.com/article/digital/youtube-s-video-views-falling-design/234735/

There are some people who are loving the change. These people are those who specialize in long videos such as tutorials and art type videos. I myself have remained mostly unaffected. In fact my dip in views is mostly due to the fact that I hardly ever post videos any more. I went from several posts per week to just a few per month. My videos have always been long.

However there have been a few changes to the home page that I think have hurt creators. The first is the feed. By default our home page is filled with likes favorites and comments, even if we change those settings, on my end it reverts back to default each time I go to the home page. On my channel I have my likes, favorites, and comments disabled so I don't clutter up my subscriber's home page. All they get from me is my videos and what I add to playlists.

However having comment sharing enabled has allowed many people to bump their videos back to the top every few hours. The home page only holds 14 videos and on my home page right now 8 of those videos are bumped to the top because of comments.

If we could take comments likes and favorites off the home page as the default setting I think that would go a long way to push subscriptions back to the center where they belong. If someone wants to see comments likes and favorites they can view the feed tab on that person's channel. If a user wants a video shown they can always post a bulletin. Here is a screen shot of my home page right now. As you can see only one new is here, the rest is there because of comments likes and other things.

Point 2
The next thing to remember is YouTube is promoting comsumed views more than user engagement. This in part to combat the Reply Channel problem. (Good job on making it go away for about 10 days LOL) Many partners got their fame and success from misleading thumbnails. As such those videos have a very poor retention rate so when the new algorythm went into effect people who depend on misleading thumbnails got the shaft. This includes many of the classic old videos that sadly did get some of their views from using auto-refreshers. An auto-refresher wouldn't consume a video and as such it may not do as well as it used to in the new way YouTube promotes videos.

Point 3
Several partners I spoke to have complained that their view counts were dropping but this is simply due to the viralness of some of their videos wearing off. Last year I had a video Rectal Exam that really took off. It for a while was earning 100,000 views per month. Now it has calmed down. Another video of mine about Lady Gaga was also doing good for a while but it is starting to die down. Viral videos don't last forever. Hopefully another one of my videos will take off, the idea is to keep positive and never give up.

A recent example of this was when Katersoneseven was brought up. She posts long videos, almost everyday, and her format has not changed. So why the sudden drop in views in the past month? Well I found the answer here.

If you take a look at her average video view count before this period and her view count that she has now, you will see that she really didn't get a drop in views, rather she had her views return to normal. She had a couple of hit videos related to the Hunger Games. About a month ago the traffic for those videos dropped off and she returned to normal.

Now there are other users such as CharlesTrippy and Shaycarl who also put out daily vlogs but their view counts dropped off way before this recent change. So their drop in views is caused by something else. Onision however DID have his views drastically cut as his average view count for his videos suddenly dropped by half. In cases like his and some others I can find no other way to explain the drop in views other than the change in algorythm that YouTube put into place to fight the reply channels. However I have also found channels whose views have gone up from this change.

Point 4
When YouTube redesigned the home page, one of the things they did was take the most popular videos of the day and move them off to the side where you have to click a few times to find them. This really hurt people like ShaneDawsonTV and MysteryGuitarman and a few others who depended on that top spot. Subscriptions are now front and center but even those are burried under comments, likes, and favorites. Sadly when they redesigned things they did not add enough grey

Point 5
Many top YouTube partners who have been losing views have either chosen not to or they have not figured out how to enable Autoplay on their videos. I get about 10 percent of my views on average from Autoplay. One of my channels gets almost 25 percent. However as YouTube is now promoting videos with a high rate of consumed views it may not be a good idea to autoplay your best videos, I would suggest to only autoplay older videos that no longer get any traffic.

One of the reasons why I am doing so well right now is because my videos are all linked together in playlists and cross promoted via annoatations. Almost every video of mine you see promotes at least one other video of mine. Now I am not an expert on getting big views, my view count has in fact declined on my more recent videos. However my overall daily views has remained constant because I cross promote my videos so well. Once they find one of them they find others. So even though a newly uploaded video will only get a few thousand views, my overall daily views are about 10,000. Back when I was posting ore frequently it was over 12,000.

Point 6
Sadly piracy has taken a hit on content providers. JeepersMedia has been pointing out the sudden spike in pirated videos being promoted in search results and that many YouTube channels are now competing with auto-generated channels that promote the pirated content. In fact the top 100 videos of the day that used to be where you go when you hit the browse button now takes you to the auto-generated top videos which only feature 20 videos so it is now harder to be found on the charts. Things like the most discussed list and top favorited are hidden away at youtube.com/charts but you have to know it exists to find it. You can't find it by searching for it. I have subscribed to people I found on the most discussed list and people have found me that way as well. Removing the ability for these lists to be found makes it harder to be discovered now. These auto-generated channels are curating everything, even our poop. I swear I am not making this up. http://www.youtube.com/topic/A766gZTnV5w/diarrhea

Now one of the reasons I think these pirated videos are getting a sudden surge is because of the view botting that happened towards the end of February. Here is a bootleg copy of the Mean Kitty song by SMPFilms it currently shows up as #3 on search results.

Number one is the channel TheMeanKitty, number 2 is the video by SMPfilms. However the HD high quality version on TheMeanKitty channel is not even on the first 4 pages of search results.

Now looking at the stats of this video you can see that on February 27th this video got 20,000 mobile views. This is right in the middle of the view botting saga. Now this does not mean that this person did the view botting, he could have been framed like I was. However if you look at the stats for the original video from the SMPfilms channel you can see his video performance leveling off.

It is my theory that the view botting program consumed the entire video and that is why it is being promoted in related videos now over the original real videos which naturally would not be consumed all the way like a bot would. This video is not the only example. The videos that JeepersMedia is highlighting on his Google Plus page have this problem. Most of them were view botted in February. To combat this problem, the content providers need to file DMCAs to get these videos taken down. The problem is, most of these partners have never had a problem with fan reuploads because it never hurt them in the pocketbook.

Now I am not convinced that YouTube staff are laughing and enjoying the destruction of YouTube and their content providers, then again they did give us grey???? However in my opinion they should take some of my points here and try to figure out what can be implemented.

Solutions 1
Promote HD in related videos, pirated videos almost never have HD and this could help those not willing to file DMCAs all day long.

Solutions 2
Allow more partners into Content ID so they can better monetize bootleg videos. Can I haz it?

Solutions 3
Make the homepage about Subscriptions and Bulletins only and get the feed only on the person's feed tab of their channel

Solution 4
Put my video of my balloon Voltron on the YouTube homepage.

Solutions 5
Promote YouTube Charts by putting it back on the Browse button so new content can be discovered instead of just who happens to be already popular.

Solutions 6
On the Rise is a great idea and keep it going, it is wonderful that YouTube is finding new talent and allowing us to discover and vote on them. However make better use of the YouTube Spotlight. Back when it was called Featured, new videos were added every day. Now Spotlight is only used a few times per month. Make the Spotlight an everyday event and make it an autogenerated channel that we can go to and find past spotlighted videos.

The important thing is that we offer our ideas and try to provide feedback to YouTube. Watch each others videos on this issue and most importantly form your own ideas about what would work. Just never give up.

Finally Onision made a good rant about some of the design changes to the home page and how hard it is to join YouTube now. I know many people don't like him but this video I think is worth watching.