37 votes

The golden age of YouTube is over - The platform was built on the backs of independent creators, but now YouTube is abandoning them for more traditional content

23 comments

  1. [4]
    mb3077 Link
    People tend to forget that Youtube started "getting worse" in terms of content way before the Adpocalypse and the major algorithm changes. But for some reason this is painted as a positive thing...

    People tend to forget that Youtube started "getting worse" in terms of content way before the Adpocalypse and the major algorithm changes. But for some reason this is painted as a positive thing in the article:

    For a while, the creator community, which was thriving, thanks to sponsorship deals and Google’s ad platform, was satisfied. Prank channels like Fouseytube jumped in popularity; gaming became a massive ecosystem; beauty how-tos took off; vlogging went mainstream; unboxing videos became all the rage; toy channels exploded out of nowhere; family videos found an ardent niche; .... 2015 was a year when YouTube was at its most vibrant."

    Already in 2015 the front page of Youtube was full of low quality, cheap entertainment. By this time all the sketch channels and animation channels started dying out, and their communities were complaining about it. But the thing is that, as Youtube went from being a "mainstream website" to "used by basically every human with internet connection", the old tight-knit communities started to fade. The new people coming in preferred to watch "Humans are awesome 2015 compilation vol.21" more than a funny sketch or an educational video. Of course Youtube definitely contributed to this too by encouraging these types of videos. It's not the userbase's fault entirely.
    So what changed Youtube is more (or at least equally) the userbase than the algorithm/policy changes.

    Despite all of this however, I think that Youtube has never been better for the viewers. There are currently so many channels producing top quality videos, especially the educational ones. You just have to ignore all the junk that is trending (I personally use an Add-on to block channels).

    24 votes
    1. [3]
      TheInvaderZim Link Parent
      The adpocalypse marked the fundamental shift on youtube's side from creator-focused to audience-focused. Youtube has always had those types of content, but the adpocalypse was the point where...

      The adpocalypse marked the fundamental shift on youtube's side from creator-focused to audience-focused. Youtube has always had those types of content, but the adpocalypse was the point where google realized, "oh, we can shovel basically endless amounts of the lowest quality junk to people, and destroy the platforms sophistication entirely."

      The heart of the article is that although that content is easy, and things have gotten more ad-friendly, the core of the platform - the things that made youtube what it is - have been neglected and in some cases attacked by corporate. Because of this, creators are leaving the platform and its becoming exclusively a place for people to watch stupid vapid content and jimmy kimmel or steven colbert.

      The result is that the core creators are slowing down, and the core audience that follows them is as well. I myself watch markedly less youtube than i did even 1 year ago, due in no small part to this shift.

      As EMPLemon would say, it all culminates into youtube's downward spiral. The reasons google wants you to watch youtube - to see sanitized, ad friendly hollywood content - is all that was fundamentally rejected by those that first found the platform, and their current direction is not sustainable.

      The only reason youtube continues to exist is its monopoly. As soon as a new platform pops up which offers a better alternative to its creators, those creators will begin migrating in droves, and the users, both new and old, will go with them.

      6 votes
      1. [2]
        mb3077 Link Parent
        I hear this said often but I'm not too sure about it, I really don't think that there will ever be an alternative that will "get it right". The current form of Youtube is the only possible one...

        The only reason youtube continues to exist is its monopoly. As soon as a new platform pops up which offers a better alternative to its creators, those creators will begin migrating in droves, and the users, both new and old, will go with them.

        I hear this said often but I'm not too sure about it, I really don't think that there will ever be an alternative that will "get it right". The current form of Youtube is the only possible one that a streaming website with this amount of traffic can have in order to be profitable, in my opinion. There won't be a better version of Youtube until either copyright laws change or extremely sophisticated algorithms are developed.

        Until then every competitor to Youtube will ultimately devolve into the same sanitized and methodical content that is advertiser friendly in order to survive.

        10 votes
        1. TheInvaderZim Link Parent
          I agree that itll be cyclical, but not that youtube is the end of it.

          I agree that itll be cyclical, but not that youtube is the end of it.

          1 vote
  2. [3]
    xiv Link
    Its a different sort of content, but in the past 4 years Twitch seems to have gradually taken YouTube's place for me at least.

    Its a different sort of content, but in the past 4 years Twitch seems to have gradually taken YouTube's place for me at least.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Papaya Link Parent
      Even twitch is starting to become like Youtube. You can still watch niche streamers, but the increase of overall users is bringing drastic changes. Just like on Youtube, when the number of viewer...

      Even twitch is starting to become like Youtube. You can still watch niche streamers, but the increase of overall users is bringing drastic changes. Just like on Youtube, when the number of viewer increases, the content becomes naturally less chaotic (and thus less creative). You start to see hacky trends of a lot of people doing the same thing. With a big platform, when something works, everybody starts to naturally imitate that thing. We saw that with prank channels on Youtube. At first they were funny and creative, then they became really obnoxious because there were too many of them.

      8 votes
      1. xiv Link Parent
        That's very true, and kind of why I think that if they tweak their platform they could actually serve as alternative.

        That's very true, and kind of why I think that if they tweak their platform they could actually serve as alternative.

  3. [2]
    elcuello Link
    This is the most Internet comment ever and probably the answer to the article and it's in the first paragraph. Although I grew up with the creation of youtube I've never really got into the hype....

    Danny, like many other creators, is proclaiming the death of YouTube — or, at least, the YouTube that they grew up with.

    This is the most Internet comment ever and probably the answer to the article and it's in the first paragraph.

    Although I grew up with the creation of youtube I've never really got into the hype. It was (and still is) just another place you end up while watching a video to me. But if I compare it with my experience with reddit for so many years and how invested I was I completely understand why so many people are angry and feel let down. Since I never really just go to youtube.com but always just end up there my main reason for loathing the site right now is really tainted by AppleTVs youtube app which in its own unique way has managed to make the internet feel like a corporate website and just...small. I feel trapped. Youtube was for me an incredible big place that for some time felt like it actually represented the vastness and dissimilarity of the internet in terms of videos. Now I know that feeling is never going to last on the internet no matter what we're talking about but seeing how the corporate world again and again ruin what the internet once stood for is just disheartening. The internet is the epitome of "This is why we can't have nice things."

    3 votes
    1. DonQuixote Link Parent
      Same here for the way Apple handles YouTube.

      Same here for the way Apple handles YouTube.

      1 vote
  4. user2 Link
    I haven't read the text, but there is still a long way to go for youtube to die. And I hope it dies, as fast as possible. I hate the monopoly that google has on the internet. It's dangerous. An...

    I haven't read the text, but there is still a long way to go for youtube to die. And I hope it dies, as fast as possible. I hate the monopoly that google has on the internet. It's dangerous. An alternative needs to exist, and I hope that alternative is peertube. I am drawn to decentralized systems.

    1 vote
  5. [2]
    meghan Link
    It's been over.

    It's been over.

    5 votes
    1. hoytschermerhorn Link Parent
      It's been over as a community or "thing" for years, but as a consumer it's no less useful and arguably better than ever in terms of sheer volume of content. To quote a 3 year old comment from...

      It's been over as a community or "thing" for years, but as a consumer it's no less useful and arguably better than ever in terms of sheer volume of content.

      To quote a 3 year old comment from /r/nyc that I saved ages ago:

      This is the degeneration of culture, and it happens all the time - it's just a feature of culture itself as the occupants and entrants of it grow larger and more outside entrance displaces self perpetuity.

      It's why middle America freaks out over mass illegal immigration and the fact that white people won't be a majority in 20 years and Spanish is everywhere in consumer markets, it's why people mourn CBGB closing, it's why people get salty over "cultural appropriation"

      Identity (as a material and social thing) is a big deal, and defined identities get that way through being exclusive, and yet people want identities - so they try getting them by adopting that which came before or was discovered elsewhere and "ruin it", etc.

      Happens all the time, it'll keep happening, too."

      3 votes
  6. [7]
    agentseven (edited ) Link
    One platform's loss is another platform's gain. Edit: I'm not trying to imply that it has already happened. But as YouTube increasingly alienates its userbase, I'm just saying that competitors...

    One platform's loss is another platform's gain.

    Edit: I'm not trying to imply that it has already happened. But as YouTube increasingly alienates its userbase, I'm just saying that competitors will rise as a consequence.

    3 votes
    1. [5]
      DrewDru Link Parent
      You would hope so, you really would, but nothing seems to be coming up. YouTube's biggest advantages right now are: They remain the biggest collection of videos online. Most creators, musicians,...

      You would hope so, you really would, but nothing seems to be coming up. YouTube's biggest advantages right now are:

      1. They remain the biggest collection of videos online. Most creators, musicians, entertainers are on it.

      2. They have fantastic servers. Videos load quickly and the platform works pretty well. I don't know of any other website that works as well.

      3. They have Google backing them.

      It will take a massive effort to overthrow YouTube and most of it will hinge on no.1, getting creators and entertainers to abandon the site.

      3 votes
      1. [4]
        alyaza Link Parent
        which is, realistically, probably not going to happen any time soon. youtube could give content creators the shittiest deal possible and i suspect most people would stay on because youtube has...

        It will take a massive effort to overthrow YouTube and most of it will hinge on no.1, getting creators and entertainers to abandon the site.

        which is, realistically, probably not going to happen any time soon. youtube could give content creators the shittiest deal possible and i suspect most people would stay on because youtube has eyes and can make them consistent revenue, which is a reality that that most competing services can't hope to offer right out of the gate unless they're being bankrolled by jeff bezos or some shit. and even the ones that can offer that usually have sustainability problems (i.e. blip.tv, which attracted some content creators back when youtube was being weird about copyright because it offered stability and payouts, but collapsed because it ceased to be sustainable at some point and wiped out a ton of content in the process) or are tiny as fuck (stream.me, which is where a lot of youtube alt-right figures moved their content to when youtube started cracking down on them).

        4 votes
        1. [2]
          KapteinB Link Parent
          Content creators choose YouTube because that's where advertisers are. Advertisers choose YouTube because that's where viewers are. Viewers choose YouTube because that's where content creators are....

          Content creators choose YouTube because that's where advertisers are.
          Advertisers choose YouTube because that's where viewers are.
          Viewers choose YouTube because that's where content creators are.

          But what if we do to alternatives like PeerTube what we did to make YouTube popular in the first place? Piracy!

          If we set up scripts to download all the most popular videos from YouTube and post them to alternatives, viewers will have options, and we may be able to break the cycle.

          3 votes
          1. alyaza Link Parent
            i don't buy this working, personally. it's not like people are going to suddenly switch over to alternatives just because all the popular videos on youtube also get posted on (for example)...

            But what if we do to alternatives like PeerTube what we did to make YouTube popular in the first place? Piracy! If we set up scripts to download all the most popular videos from YouTube and post them to alternatives, viewers will have options, and we may be able to break the cycle.

            i don't buy this working, personally. it's not like people are going to suddenly switch over to alternatives just because all the popular videos on youtube also get posted on (for example) peertube. that's not nearly an incentive enough and, in any case, without content creators of its own, how could a platform like peertube hope to retain the people who do actually make the switch? leeching off other websites might work for a meme website--but i'm not sure it works for a website trying to challenge youtube.

            in essence, i think this all boils down to a multilayered chicken and egg problem. you need creators to come to your site, but for them to come to your site you need incentives for them to do so; conversely, you need people to come to your site, but for them to do so there need to presumably be creators of some sort. and until someone figures out a good way to resolve that in one swoop (and other issues that stand in the way of building a youtube-like platform), youtube will probably remain dominant.

            2 votes
        2. DrewDru Link Parent
          Exactly. The king won't be dying anytime soon. Considering that YouTube has gone down this path to maximize the advertising revenue, any platform that comes up because it was bankrolled by a Jeff...

          Exactly. The king won't be dying anytime soon. Considering that YouTube has gone down this path to maximize the advertising revenue, any platform that comes up because it was bankrolled by a Jeff Bezos scale of investor will likely also take similar actions.

          The only change we can hope for is that this competitor will have open communication, because at the moment, YouTube's communication is incredibly awful.

          2 votes
    2. Grand0rbiter Link Parent
      I hope, but what's the alternative? These days i started browsing peertube and i liked it. It seemed fast and i didn't have any problems, but i wonder how it would work with a gigantic user base...

      I hope, but what's the alternative?

      These days i started browsing peertube and i liked it. It seemed fast and i didn't have any problems, but i wonder how it would work with a gigantic user base like youtube. Maybe better since it's like torrent.

      The major problem with peertube (and riot, and mastodon) is the thing about federation and instances. It's simple, but not that simple for the average user and people will not like the fact that they can't access all content easily because it's on another instance.

  7. [4]
    vaddi Link
    Does anyone know why does The Verge keeps making articles mentioning this Logan Paul dude? Does he pay for this kind of publicity? Because they really seem to like this specific youtuber...

    Does anyone know why does The Verge keeps making articles mentioning this Logan Paul dude? Does he pay for this kind of publicity? Because they really seem to like this specific youtuber...

    1 vote
    1. Deimos Link Parent
      He has almost 19 million subscribers and is one of the most popular YouTubers.

      He has almost 19 million subscribers and is one of the most popular YouTubers.

      2 votes
    2. [2]
      Luna Link Parent
      Logan Paul loves to manufacture drama because he operates on the principle that all publicity is good publicity (and so far, it's worked well for him). The Paul brothers are insanely scummy and I...

      Logan Paul loves to manufacture drama because he operates on the principle that all publicity is good publicity (and so far, it's worked well for him). The Paul brothers are insanely scummy and I would love to see them get nuked from the platform. In a discussion about YouTube creators, the Pauls are bound to come up since their reach is so large.

      1 vote
      1. vaddi Link Parent
        Yeah, I don't follow youtube creators so I wouldn't know. Doesn't seem worth my time.

        Yeah, I don't follow youtube creators so I wouldn't know. Doesn't seem worth my time.