Was it only a week or so ago that we were discussing the potential power of advertisers to help the major social media platforms see the error of their ways in promoting hoaxes and so-called “fake news”?
At that time, we noted a growing trend toward advertisers pulling their accounts from sites like YouTube and Google, as they didn’t want their business brands to be associated with the lies, misinformation, propaganda, and general dishonesty peddled by certain YouTube channels.
In the past month or so, various advertising agencies have started making good on their threats to pull their money out of adverts that appear on offensive or extremist videos on YouTube. Google and its subsidiary, YouTube, have been dealt a number of devastating losses. For example, The Guardian reports that Havas, the world’s sixth largest marketing services group, which spends about £175 million per annum on digital advertising on behalf of its UK clients, has pulled its business from Google and YouTube.
The trade journal Silicon Valley Business Journal states, “McDonald’s UK, retailers Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Argos and banks HSBC and RBS have stopped ads on Google sites, according to Reuters. The British government also suspended ads on YouTube after its public sector ads showed next to videos with homophobic and anti-Semitic messages. Others brands, including Vodafone, Barclays and Tesco, are reviewing their ad policies”.
And Tech Crunch reports, “AT&T and Verizon are the latest companies to pull advertising from Google’s display network amid concerns that it does not do enough to prevent ads from appearing on YouTube videos promoting terrorism and hate speech”.
It hasn’t taken long for YouTube and Google to realise which way the wind is blowing, and now certain YouTube channels which rely heavily on revenues from advertising have begun to feel a distinct chill.
SGTReports, which readers will remember as the not-at-all-linked-to-Russia conspiranoid channel which has featured two interviews with Ella Draper over the past couple of weeks, is complaining bitterly. In a video titled “Help!! You Tube Wants to Kill My Channel!”, Comrade Sean No-Last-Name-Given noted that YouTube has told him to shape up:
In wounded tones, he states that “YouTube is changing the rules of the game, it’s not (sic) longer a level playing field. Not only are they flagging more and more videos as “not advertiser friendly”, for the past few days they have turned off ALL of the advertising on my videos. They want to kill my channel and they want me to go away”.
He points to notes that YouTube has placed on certain of his videos, which state that they are “Not advertiser-friendly. Request review”.
Oh, dearie dearie dear. It seems, in fact, that one of the videos YouTube has flagged might be familiar to our regular readers:
Here’s that thumbnail in close-up:
Gosh, is Comrade Sean saying that YouTube thinks his slavishly sycophantic interview with wanted criminal suspect about how she and her boyfriend tortured her children into repeating horrific lies about their father, their teachers, their church, their schoolmates and families, and even businesses in their former neighbourhood is “not advertiser-friendly”? Really, we cannot for the life of us think why that might be. (And thanks to all our readers who wrote to the advertisers, by the way.)
But YouTube’s reaction to the exodus of advertisers doesn’t end with warnings on offenders’ videos. Comrade Sean whines pitifully that his actual daily income has been sliced to a mere US$3.39 per day:He states that he earned US$4.52 the previous day, noting that this is a “97 or 98 per cent decrease” from his average daily YouTube revenue. We scratched our heads, took out our pencils, and calculated that he had previously been earning in the range of US$150 per day from his YouTube video channel. Not a fortune, but nothing to sneeze at either.
And now it’s gone, all gone. Can we hear a big “Awwwwwww” for Comrade Sean?
But never fear: he has a backup plan in mind. He is going to count on the
gullibility generosity of the hopped-up hillbillies who listen to his videos: he’s opening a Patreon account, where he hopes to recoup at least some of his lost earnings.
He may well do it, too. He’s carefully listed only the number of supporters who’ve agreed to fork over tuppence a month for the privilege of listening to him interview people like Ella, but he’s not displaying the actual amount they’ve pledged, nor the total received. This is a clever tactic whether he earns a great deal or nearly nothing: it prevents his supporters from thinking, “Oh, he’s making bucket-loads of money, he doesn’t need mine”; and in the event that the plan fails, it prevents anyone from realising that he’s only managed to scrape together a pittance.
The start of something big?
It’s frustrating to watch Comrade Sean immediately set up shop, but he is far from the only YouTube channel owner who relies on advertising revenue. A myriad of conspiranoid sites such as “UK Column”, “Above Top Secret”, and Alfred Lambremont Webre’s “Exopolitics” will feel the pain as well. Will all of them expect their viewers to support them via crowdfunding?
Ultimately, we’re looking at a marketplace that’s saturated with conspiranoid crackpots and cranks, whose viewers will likely tire very quickly of being asked to hand over larger and larger portions of their benefits cheques for something they’ve always been able to watch for free.
And meanwhile, with advertising revenues shrinking for certain types of YouTube channels, it’s likely that YouTube’s parent company, Google, will adjust its algorithms to downgrade videos that have been flagged as “not advertiser-friendly”. They’ll start showing up lower and lower in Google searches, which as any online marketer knows is the kiss of death for a brand.
All we can say is that it’s about bloody well time.