2017 has been a disastrous year for YouTube.
As Carlos Maza of Vox pointed out in his article entitled “YouTube’s messy fight with its most extreme creators,” “250 advertisers pulled back from YouTube ” when the so-called “alt-Right” began to use the medium to promote white supremacy.
The response from the video-sharing platform was to introduce a new algorithm which sought to ensure that only appropriate content be eligible for monetization in the future.
YouTube’s new monetization policy would go on to do more harm than good, however, as it has negatively impacted practically everyone using the site varying between “channels within the pro wrestling community” to a gun review hub called the Military Arms Channel. The infamous PewDiePie (Felix Kjellberg) as well as Philip DeFranco of the Philip DeFranco Show were heavily affected by the change. According to an article published by Turbo Filter, DeFranco has claimed revenue generated on his YouTube channel fell 80% in 2017.
Political YouTube was rocked by the “adpocalypse.”
“New safeguards” were announced by YouTube in March designed to demonetize content related to or discussing “tragedy and conflict”’ as well as “sensitive social issues,” essentially cutting off the ability of Right-wing and Left-wing YouTube personalities to cover anything somewhat controversial (such as atrocities taking place in Syria).
Dennis Prager’s online-based “Prager University” and Infowars’ own Paul Joseph Watson are among those on the Right affected by the “adpocalypse.”
The political Left (including people such as David Pakman of the David Pakman show — who lost 99% of all ad revenue as a result of YouTube’s policy switch — and Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk) have also been hit hard by the new algorithm.
YouTube’s change in policy has driven many to seek an alternate way to generate the revenue they need to keep producing their content online.
Co-founded by Jack Conte and Sam Yam in the spring of 2013, the crowdfunding website Patreon has served as a cure for the Adpocalypse for many who create on YouTube.
Conte decided to create Patreon when felt that he was not receiving enough money from YouTube despite the popularity his band called Pomplamoose drew online.
He wondered “What if I just ask my fans for a buck a month, five bucks a month so that I [can] keep being an artist and doing what I’m doing?” — by cutting out the middle-man that is YouTube in the process. Patreon “now enables more than 50,000 creators to receive payments from a million-plus active patrons, double its 2016 base. In May, it announced that it was on track to pay out $150 million” in 2017
One example included in the Fast Company article cited above is Tom Merritt and his “Daily Tech News Show.”
Merritt decided to launch a Patreon campaign to free himself of the burden that is advertisement. Today has “5,000 fans support the show with a total of more than $20,000 in payments a month.”
Tom Merritt is one of the 50,000 creators using Patreon today.
As YouTube is making it increasingly harder to earn revenue, Patreon and crowdfunding in general are proving to be the easiest and most effective way for those who create online to earn money to fund their work and do what they love.