To quit Youtube isn’t an easy transition. But it’s a necessary one.
I quit Youtube as a primary video platform after ten dedicated years of grinding. Since before getting paid for vlogs in your room was a thing. My following watched the 11-year-old that made paper guns. The 15-year old-ranting about pet peeves. The 17 year old making amateur webisodes action-packed with martial arts in the hood. The 18 year old satirist comedy sketch director. The 20 year old political ranter. All life transitions loosely documented through videos on my channel.
However, it never really sat right with me whenever I was recognized on the street as “That Youtube guy.” Especially after the Youtube Ad-pocalypse, I thought to myself…
Here I am– basically an ambassador through my content, pushing all this traffic to YouTube for them to reap all the financial gain. I’ve gone viral quite a few times. I’ve even been on Pix11 News for my viral chopped cheese video. All of this monetized traffic was going to Youtube. While I struggle to pay my section 8 rent in the hood. And although Youtube pays a percentage to creators for their content, being branded as “that famous Youtuber” isn’t very empowering when you look at Vine’s demise. A mere reflection of Youtube’s inevitable doom. When Vine died, most Viners died. When Youtube dies, the Youtuber dies. Unless you…
Quit Youtube and seize the means of your own production.
There’s a lot for content creators on Youtube to complain about. False Content ID. Soft censorship. Demonetization. Views magically disappearing because of years of an unfixed bug. But at the end of the day, Youtube is a private company and they can do with their money as they please. It’s their platform. The only thing you can do is threaten to quit Youtube. And unless you’re someone as big as Pewdiepie, that’s not a big enough threat to make Youtube change their ways. There is always the next big star. But there is always the next big platform. Facebook freebooting has had content creators scrambling for solutions after they released their native video player. And the amount of traffic and shares Facebook video gets is ADDICTING. Naturally people started to just freeboot their own videos and post to Facebook. It feels better to see your video get 10,000 shares in a week on Facebook than to slowly watch Youtube’s shitty algorithm forward your video to a mere 5,000 out of 100,000 subscribers(and make $0 because you’re not ‘family friendly’). Wanna know what feels even better?
Having your own website.
It can get pretty expensive having a native video player when you’re an independent video maker like me. Youtube is a free platform that doesn’t charge you for any video space. They just make the money back easily with ads. If they wanted to, they could just pay you jack shit. Facebook does it. It doesn’t halt creators from constantly uploading content on Facebook. There’s an entire culture of Instagram comedians & models that rely on external sponsorships from apps like Brandbassador and hired commission work. The truth is, Youtube’s terms of service is subject to change without notice. It’s their site. We can complain about how they treat the creators that fuel their money all we want. They’re not obligated to make us comfortable on their site. So investing in your own brand and keeping all the glory to yourself is one of the most empowering things you can do. Not easy. But necessary.
And simply more professional. As opposed to sending someone a Youtube link to your director/actor reel, you can send clients to YOUR website. It adds value to your name to have your own platform. “Youtuber” doesn’t have to prefix your name any time someone talks about you. And you won’t be scrambling to find the next best thing when Youtube dies out.
Having your own platform is hard work. But it is at least more rewarding than working for days on a piece of content only for Youtube to block your video in some countries just because you said a dirty word.