YouTube Gets Tough on Creators to Step Up Brand Safety

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YouTube is making it tougher for vloggers and creators (video-makers) to participate in its monetization platform, the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), its latest in a series of steps as it continues to face growing brand safety concerns from marketers.

Under the new rules announced this week, creators will need to have more than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time within the past 12 months to be eligible for ads. Previously, it only required 10,000 public views to enter the program. The new requirements will affect channels in the YouTube Partner Program starting February 20.

In the announcement, the Google-owned video portal also announced “simpler and more transparent controls” over where ads can appear, including the introduction of “a three-tier suitability system that allows advertisers to reflect their view of appropriate placements for their brand, while understanding potential reach trade offs.”

Google Preferred is also being revamped with brand safety in mind, so its algorithm now offers not only the most popular content on YouTube, but also the most vetted.

The tougher guidelines come in the wake of the Logan Paul incident, the American vlogger who outraged people in Japan and worldwide after filming a video that showed a suicide victim.

Marketers have been frustrated too, either stopping or limiting YouTube ad buys or in the case of JPMorgan, developing its own proprietary algorithm that plugs into YouTube’s API to select “safe” channels for it to advertise on.

“In light of recent events, we have decided to remove Logan Paul’s channels from Google Preferred. Additionally, we will not feature Logan in season 4 of ‘Foursome’ and his new Originals are on hold,” YouTube said in a statement.

Google Preferred features YouTube’s most popular content in packages for sale to advertisers. Paul, 22, is one of YouTube’s top content creators, regularly drawing millions of views from his mainly youth-orientated audience.

Late last year, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that “stricter criteria” was in the works and that YouTube would be strengthening its review teams to ensure “bad actors” don’t make money on YouTube.

By strictly enforcing its community guidelines, YouTube is sending a stern warning to video creators and also reassuring viewers and advertisers alike. “We will closely monitor signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure they comply with our policies,” it stated.

“Both new and existing YPP channels will be automatically evaluated under this strict criteria and if we find a channel repeatedly or egregiously violates our community guidelines, we will remove that channel from YPP.

“As always, if the account has been issued three community guidelines strikes, we will remove that user’s accounts and channels from YouTube.”

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