YouTube is a subsidiary of Google, and serves as their primary video hosting service. Since its creation in 2006, YouTube has been one of the most popular video websites in the world. At this point, it is undeniably one of the most profitable services on the internet. YouTube is attractive because of the sheer volume of content creators that flock to the site to create their channel or brand. With recent expansions into live-streaming, YouTube rivals Twitch in that respect as well. As one of the most visited sites in the world, YouTube reasonably should be making money.
Google uses the AdSense formula to monetize YouTube, and the algorithm theoretically shows viewers advertisements they would like to see. Now, it is a truth that nobody wants to watch a fifteen second red lobster ad before seeing their music video. Personally, whenever I see an advertisement, I take note of it, and consciously avoid ever buying it in the future. While the actual efficacy of advertisements in their current form is another debate entirely, YouTube has recently come under fire from the advertisers themselves. Apparently, these firms do not want to be associated with certain channels, generally producing controversial content or having been involved in scandals. In reaction, Google has taken a heavy handed approach and begun automatically demonetizing channels en masse.
Content creators are reasonably upset by this process, as there is essentially no human review before they could be hit with demonetization. When the YouTube model has allowed people to base their entire livelihood off of a channel, demonetization can be much worse than losing a bit of extra pocket money. In addition, YouTube tends to be incredibly inconsistent with their community guidelines and content strikes. With these factors in mind, the YouTube career path doesn’t seem quite so lucrative. Although there is animosity from both users and advertisers, YouTube nevertheless persists as a hugely valuable venture from Google. No matter the complaints of users, YouTube has an effective monopoly on content that no other service comes close to rivaling. If Google continues to invest in original content for YouTube Red, a Netflix-like venture, we could see the internet giant dominate just one more piece of the puzzle.
Michael O’Malley is a Business Administration/Theatre Double major sophomore at USC. He enjoys long walks on the beach, screaming into the abyss, and dancing with friends. He grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and does know how to read.