YouTube is looking to send a message to content creators who step out of line by disabling ads on videos that infringe on the site’s policies. The punishment is meant to revoke a key source of income, presenting a strong incentive for users to change their behavior. But, as Julia Alexander writes via The Verge, many creators make money through other platforms, rendering YouTube’s punishment largely ineffective. From the report: Selling merchandise and subscriptions through other platforms isn’t just a way for creators to make more money, it’s also a way for creators to insulate themselves from YouTube’s ever-mercurial rules and algorithms. And it means that if a creator’s ads are cut off for whatever reason, they’ll still have a source of revenue. Taking away a channel’s ability to run ads is supposed to send a message that YouTube is punishing creators who severely step out of line. The company stated as much in a June 5th blog post, reiterating that channels repeatedly brushing up “against our hate speech policies will be suspended from the YouTube Partner program, meaning they can’t run ads on their channel.” Creators also won’t be able to use alternative monetization techniques like Super Chat or channel memberships, according to YouTube.
For up-and-coming YouTubers reliant on that revenue, it can pose a huge problem. Many people just entering YouTube’s Partner Program, a threshold that signifies a creator can start earning ad revenue, may rely on that advertising money as they start their career. Channels that face day-to-day monetization issues, one of the biggest issues within the community, are struggling to understand what works and what doesn’t. But for larger creators, who still keep their ability to reach a huge number of subscribers, the punishment doesn’t necessarily accomplish YouTube’s goals. “YouTube isn’t likely to ban high-profile channels, either,” Alexander writes. “If a channel’s content is borderline, meaning that it doesn’t violate YouTube’s rules but is considered harmful, moderators will allow videos to remain up. Demonetizing a channel’s videos allows YouTube to appear to have taken a strong action, even if that action isn’t always effective.”