Why YouTube’s ‘Advertiser Friendly’ Guidelines are a Bad Idea

Just as of today, YouTube has seemingly decided to enforce ‘advertiser-friendly content guidelines’ for videos. In other words, if your content violates these guidelines, it can’t be monetised any more. Here’s the list of them right here:


Unfortunately though, these are a terrible idea for YouTube. Or for that matter, for any video posting site.

Why? Because as anyone with half a brain has already figured out, they’re likely to affect about 50% of the content on the site.

Seriously, let’s go through them one by one:

· Sexually suggestive content, including partial nudity and sexual humour

In other words, good luck monetising a video about certain M rated games (think, Dead or Alive), or similar TV shows, films, stage plays, etc. Or any original/indie works with similar content. Congrats YouTube, you’ve killed any interest in your services as far as various artists and film makers are concerned.

· Violence, including display of serious injury and events related to violent extremism

So… what counts here then?

If it’s only real life stuff, then fair enough. But what if someone makes a film or web series episode with a lot of (fake) violence and extremist themes? Is that different?

What about news videos? I’m sure the likes of CNN and the BBC will want to show clips of tragedies and attacks when reporting the news, right? Can they now not monetise as well?

How about video game violence? Can someone monetise footage of say, Call of Duty? Or Battlefield?

Or for that matter, a far more violent game? Because this could kill Let’s Plays and reviews of titles like Hatred, Manhunt, Mad World… Heck, even Mortal Kombat if you twist the definition enough. Even Mario fan games in some cases…

· Inappropriate language, including harassment, swearing and vulgar language

Err, you do know that there’s this guy called the Angry Video Game Nerd, right?

And that he pretty much swears non stop as part of his character? Because your rules seem like they’d ban James Rolfe and Cinemassacre from making money on YouTube…

Or how about Channel Awesome? I’m sure the Nostalgia Critic likes to swear a fair amount, especially if a film is terrible enough…

How about other critics? There’s a whole trope called the Caustic Critic, whose shtick is basically being as negative and (often) swearing as much as humanly possible about bad games, TV shows, anime, comics and films. Are you basically saying they should all pack their bags and leave?

The list just goes on. Members of the Yogscast swear. Members of Game Grumps swear in various situations. If these guys leave, your community is likely kaput, especially in gaming world.

Oh, and harassment. Yeah, it’s bad, but that word has been misused a lot in recent years. What exactly are you referring to there? Who classifies something as ‘harassment’? Because there are a lot of people out there who think anything negative about themselves and their work is because of trolls and bullies and counts as ‘harassment’.

· Promotion of drugs and regulated substances, including selling, use and abuse of such items

Not as huge of a deal as the rest, though there are definitely situations where this could be a problem. Like say, with drugs legal in certain countries/states but not others. Guess the beer makers and breweries need to start thinking about a new video platform too…

· Controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown

But this, this is the real kicker. Why?

Because it covers a massive amount of stuff. As in, about 80% of news media. No advertising on subjects related to war? Well then, guess that means nothing about the situation in Syria should be posted on Youtube, even for a humanitarian cause. The BBC, CNN, Sky… guess they should reconsider any of their news channels.

Political conflicts? That’s even worse. It basically says ‘anything controversial should not be monetised’. Was the Brexit a political conflict? Is the US election one? How about other general disputes between countries? Gee, guess that guys documentary about the middle east and the tensions between Israel and Palestine is a no go on YouTube then!

Natural disasters and tragedies… even worse. You basically just said ‘amateur journalists, please go away and never return’. Guess if another tragedy or terrorist attack occurs, the witnesses won’t be posting their thoughts (or live coverage) on YouTube. Nor will the popular celebrities on the platform be covering the events.

Either way, these rules are a terrible idea, and have basically doomed YouTube to an advertising platform for ‘work safe’ brands and hobbyists. If you keep removing monetisation from videos about stuff like this, you will lose the users with millions of subscribers and the people who actually care about the quality of their work.

Please reconsider them, before they drive away the users and channels that actually bring people to your site.

Thank you.

Gamer, writer and journalist working on Gaming Reinvented.

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