Lack of AdSense

YouTube Stumbles with Monetization Policy.


Marley Bauer

Youtube has come a long way from its humble roots. The video sharing site has grown from a place to find Saturday Night Live clips into a fully fledged brand, and it has become a platform on which entertainers can make a comfortable living. YouTube has even expanded into paid content recently, with YouTube Red offering premium content for a monthly fee, in the vein of Netflix or Spotify Premium.

Most content on the website remains free to view, at the expense of an advertisement before the video. To most of us, the ads are just a nuisance that we need to suffer through in order to watch some cats do something cute. To YouTubers, however, the ads are their livelihood. According to, in 2013 YouTubers would make $7.60 for every 1,000 views. This means that a video with a million views would generate $7,600. This is called AdSense.

This system is what allows for YouTubers to make a living off of the site. Larger YouTubers, such as PewDiePie or Markiplier, can make millions off the website. There are restrictions, though. Copyrighted music uploads don’t get AdSense, and YouTube has guidelines to ensure that violent or otherwise unsavory content doesn’t get money.

However, YouTube’s way of doing this has its drawbacks. The official page reads that any and all content that is “considered ‘not advertiser-friendly’ “ is ineligible for AdSense, and if the creator wishes to have the ads restored, they must request a review of the content, and even then they may not get ads.

This process is already subject to quite a bit of skepticism, due to the extremely restrictive rules that it sets up – one of which says that swearing in a video or using any profanity may cause the video to become unmonetized. The reason that YouTubers have been speaking out about it  recently, however, is because only recently has YouTube begun to tell creators that their videos were being unmonetized.

What this means is that, ever since the policy has been in effect, YouTube has removed AdSense from videos without telling the creators that they were doing it. After they started informing YouTubers of the process, a hailstorm of bad press ensued. Many larger YouTubers, such as PewDiePie, h3h3 Productions, and others created videos which pointed out various problems with the policy and its enforcement, all of which asked the same basic question: Why weren’t we told?

This bad press only got worse when several users noticed that videos that touched on political subjects were apparently being censored through the demonetization policy. “Political” subjects included videos both political in nature (as in election topics) or videos that criticized the website.  This has only served to make creators angrier, as the YouTubers feel that YouTube hasn’t been treating them well. If the two sides are unable to reconcile, the divide between the website and its creators may be rendered irreparable and the content we all love will disappear.