Tech Focus: The Rise (and Maybe Fall) of YouTube 

By Rob Giuffre 

Last week, we took a brief look into the behemoth media platform that is YouTube.  It is easy to forget that YouTube is still only eleven years old; however, eleven years is a lifetime in the world of tech and the fickle internet use habits of Americans, and YouTube’s key demographic, young adults and teenagers have known a world with YouTube longer than a world without YouTube.  This could be why rumors of YouTube’s downfall have been taken so seriously by its content creators and users.

The rumors and complaints are coming from content creators who claim their channels are losing subscribers, views and likes, which equal ad revenue; and ad revenue equates into income for YouTube personalities.  

YouTube stars like “PewDiePie” (Felix Kjellberg) have alleged that YouTube “is trying to kill his channel.”  Kjellberg, the Forbes-listed top YouTube earner, points towards a large drop in views as evidence that something foul is at play in YouTube land; PewDiePie also claims that his subscribers are not being notified when he uploads new videos to his channel (which is supposed to be standard practice).  

The possible motive? Some have suggested that YouTube is purposely attempting to sabotage PewDiePie because Google executives do not consider him worthy of being the platform’s top star.  Some are even suggesting that Google isn’t comfortable with a white male being atop of the YouTube world amid rapidly changing demographics in America and Europe.  Google and YouTube have addressed the complaints issued by YouTube content creators.  Unfortunately, their statement was generic corporate newspeak akin to an NYPD cop snapping: “Nothing to see here. Keep it moving.”  

In sum, YouTube has denied any sort of change in their internal policies.

This leaves YouTube fans, users and those who earn a living as content creators with the following question: has YouTube peeked and is now on a downward trajectory that will ultimately leave it in MySpace territory; or, is YouTube merely experiencing growing pains, and perhaps the content creators complaining and threatening to delete their channels are merely suffering from a case of Chicken Little by insisting the sky is falling?

In short, the latter appears to be more likely the case.  YouTube is now officially big business.  The executives at Google who are in charge of decision making for YouTube are well-aware of the mistakes of companies that came before them and perished as a result and it must be assumed have the sense to not meddle with their very successful web service and ruin a good thing.

It is unlikely that Google/YouTube would take the time to meddle with individual users.  Why would they?  The reasons being offered  by PewDiePie and others fail to meet the common sense test.

What is likely is that Google/YouTube have recently decided to court larger, household name companies to buy advertisements.  Let’s speculate that this is true.  Let’s also speculate that Google/YouTube is armed with their very impressive market research data and are asking for top dollar for ad buys.  Marketing executives at these large companies might question the validity of said market data.  

To make a long story short, Google/YouTube probably is indeed tinkering with their internal algorithms in order to more effectively bring their advertisement sales to the next level.

YouTube should come clean with their content creators and fans and admit that they are trying out new algorithms to give perspective advertisers the most accurate picture of their user base.  The YouTube community, for the most part is one that is fair and willing to listen to reason.  The executives at Google/YouTube risk diminishing the trust their community has for their web service the longer they insist that nothing is to be seen.  

Rob Giuffre is a Network+ and A+ certified computer/network technician and sole owner of RatCat Computers. Call 347-538-6231 for a free quote and to schedule a service appointment for any computer or network issue.  We appreciate, respect and value all of our clients

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