There has been a lot of talk lately about Youtube’s rather recent change in their monetization rules. Most people (everyone I’ve seen) that made a speech about it has said they are being censored, but that’s simply not true.
Censorship would be if Youtube removed the content, or disallowed it to be on the site in the first place. But that’s not the case. Neither are they saying you’re not allowed to earn money with the content you’re creating. They are simply saying that they won’t pay you for it.
Popular news channel ETC claimed these new rules are threatening independent news sources such as themselves. That’s not true either. The fact that they’ve come to rely on Youtube ads as their sole source of revenue seems rather odd in my eyes. The one thing all online income experts seem to agree on is that you should not rely on a single revenue stream, as rules change often and what is profitable today may change tomorrow.
Aside from that, it is very rare for an independent news source to use advertising, for this exact reason. When you want to fund yourself through advertising, you are agreeing to change your content to fit with that advertising. It could be either by changing keywords to attract more relevant ads, using deceptive titles (like I did here) to get more clicks with so called clickbait, or it could be to change your entire format to fit the rules the advertisers have. Either way, you have strayed away from being truly independent, since you’re by definition dependent on the advertising.
Yes, it is hard to make money online, especially enough money to turn it into a full time job. Advertising has been a good way around that, but in the past few years, online advertising rates have dropped severely. We have seen several ad-based video sites shut down over the past few years, and others are losing users quick because they have to fill their videos with ads just to make ends meat.
One way around having to stuff your content full of ads is to aim your ads to the advertisers that pay the most. This is what Youtube has chosen to do. In doing so, they may lose 60% of the videos that were previously advertised, but instead they may increase their revenue for each advertised video with over 400%, which more than makes up for it.
But there is no censorship going on here. They are not threatening to shut anyone down, they are not threatening to remove any content at all. They are simply doing what all advertiser networks do and regulates the content they chose to advertise on.