I’ve been showing up to work at YouTube for close to three years now on a part-time basis. I didn’t start doing it for the money and I didn’t expect to get paid to begin with. I did it for the chance to get my name out there and reach people who might be interested in reading my blog or purchasing clothing from Threads of a Fairytale and hopefully entertain everyone along the way. I didn’t realise quite how much of my life it was going to consume. Each video takes a minimum of two hours to edit; and the longer ones such as travel vlogs; well that can be up to ten hours. It’s a lonely hard slog.
Filming can take anything from half an hour for a quick sit-down and chat video (plus the time it takes to put on make-up, tidy up around me and sort out lighting) to several hours over a period of weeks for the more in-depth ones. Then there’s the head-space vlogging takes up – working out how you’re going to tell the story of your day; remembering all the little transition shots; giving a good blend of talking and showing; making sure there’s a comfortable mix of slow and fast pace to the video etc.
It was a joy to get to the point where YouTube started to pay me a little money – maybe enough to get the bus to work and go halves on a coffee once a week. It’s not much at all, but it’s a little recognition of how hard you’re working and you start to see a little opportunity – a glimmer of hope that there might be some financial reward for your efforts. And then I received an e-mail from YouTube this morning telling me they are going to take this away…..
I honestly sobbed. It couldn’t have been a bigger kick in the guts from YouTube if they tried. They may as well have said to me, “You shouldn’t have bothered; what’s the point? You’re not worth anything. YOU DON’T MATTER. Your thirty-two months of work here count for shit because you’re just not popular enough.”
Every self-employed small business owner knows how difficult it is to get found in this ocean of online ventures, and YouTube was one of those places where we could build an audience organically and hope to grow. In terms of having our share of advertising revenue, it was about the only place where it didn’t matter as much if we didn’t have fans of Zoella’s proportions – our small, but engaged audiences are still watching YouTube’s adverts, and therefore, the people who have put in the hours to make the videos deserve the money that is owed to us. It may not be much, but it may be making the difference between walking in the rain to work, or being able to catch a bus. It makes a difference to our feeling of self worth and confidence. I’ve been proud to tell my family at Christmas that I’m earning a little bit of money through YouTube. If anything, it’s a mark of proof that it’s not been a waste of time.
So what I’m asking is this: please make some effort to seek out the smaller YouTubers that you might like to watch. And PLEASE click that subscribe button. It’s just one little click that can make such a difference. From the twentieth of February, no-one is going to get paid advertising revenue unless they have over one thousand subscribers and over four thousand of watched hours in the last year. I have no clue as to what the point of this is. I have well over four thousand watched hours, but whereas younger viewers click Subscribe to people almost on whim, the more discerning generation tend to be more considered as to who they subscribe to, so that may be a reason why I don’t come up to scratch on this matter. So on that note, if you watch any of my videos, I really would appreciate it if you follow this link to my YouTube channel and click that subscribe button. And then go to the other small channels with less than one thousand subscribers that you sometimes watch, and click it on theirs too, because you really will be making a difference. And then if you have time, please share this blog post on your Facebook page or Pinterest boards or Twitter so that everyone you know also knows how important it is.
If you’re interested, here is a copy of the e-mail:
Under the new eligibility requirements announced today, your YouTube channel, Helen Hobden, is no longer eligible for monetization because it doesn’t meet the new threshold of 4,000 hours of watchtime within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. As a result, your channel will lose access to all monetization tools and features associated with the YouTube Partner Program on February 20, 2018 unless you surpass this threshold in the next 30 days. Accordingly, this email serves as 30 days notice that your YouTube Partner Program terms are terminated.
One of YouTube’s core values is to provide anyone the opportunity to earn money from a thriving channel. Creators who haven’t yet reached this new threshold can continue to benefit from our Creator Academy, our Help Center, and all the resources on the Creator Site to grow their channels. Once your channel reaches the new threshold, it will be reviewed to make sure it adheres to our policies and guidelines, and if so, monetization will be re-enabled.