YouTube Demonetization Controversy

It’s been a controversial month for YouTube. If you haven’t heard, earlier this month people started saying the words ‘YouTube’ and ‘demonetizing’ in the same sentence.

In 2012, YouTube started using an algorithm to monetize videos based on specific guidelines, aka was the video advertiser friendly. If it wasn’t deemed advertiser friendly, the video was demonetized, meaning no money could be made from that video. In 2015, YouTube broadened the guidelines to catch more videos with terrorism ties.

The controversy now is that YouTube is more clearly identifying when videos have been demonetized. Since it had previously been very hard to find out if your video had been demonetized, many creators weren’t aware it was happening at all – cue their freak out at the beginning of the month when notifications started getting sent for each demonetized video.

What does this mean for you? Probably nothing. However, the broadened guidelines do leave some ambiguity for what is appropriate ad generating content and what isn’t. Make sure that any videos created avoid the following things, which should already be avoided from a business perspective:

  • Sexually suggestive content
  • Violence (serious injury and extremism)
  • Inappropriate language (swearing and vulgarity)
  • Promotion of drugs and regulated substances
  • Controversial / sensitive subjects (war, natural disasters)

YouTube offers one final piece of advice for creating ad friendly content, “Context is key. We understand that high-quality content isn’t always sanitized, especially when it comes to real world issues. If your video has graphic material in it, you can help make it advertiser-friendly by providing context.”

If you do have videos that have been (incorrectly) demonetized for your business or personal YouTube channel, there is an appeals process that includes a manual review. If the manual review deems that the video was erroneously demonetized, YouTube will remonetize the video.