I’ve been reading a bit about the business side of being a YouTuber these past couple of days. And it really doesn’t sit well with me.
Now, let me preface all this by saying I don’t have any problems with YouTubers who monetize their videos. Some make good livelihoods off it; some use it to support their income; some just do it for a laugh. I’m cool with all of that.
I’m not saying you, or anyone, shouldn’t monetize your videos. I’m going to say why I’m not.
You may have noticed I don’t monetize my videos. I do have that whole YouTube Partner thing set up, so, technically, I could. But I only monetized one video (which was obviously a joke), and I only did that so I could get access to the “fancy features” like scheduling video uploads.
Before I get to my point, time for some more disclaiming: I’m what you’d call a complete newcomer. A newbie, even. A noob. At present time of writing, I have 106 subscribers on my YouTube-channel, and I’m grateful for each one of them, but I know it’s hardly a vast media empire I’m in charge of here.
Even if it was, though, I would be very reticent to monetize the rest of my video content. And that’s simply because, well …
I hate ads.
I go out of my way to avoid ads. I rarely watch tv, and when I do, I mute or switch the channel when the ads come on. I’ve got AdBlocker on my computers, and if a website tells me to turn it off before I can view its content, I go find another website.
I realize I’m robbing the content creators I admire on YouTube of earnings. I do feel bad about that, but not enough to sit through ads. I can’t really justify it on an intellectual level, or on any level that makes me come out not looking like an ass. I just don’t want to watch them.
The reason is that ads — the sort of ads that interrupt, interject, precede or otherwise cockblock me from consuming the content I came for in the first place — have nothing to offer me. They’re just noise. And thanks to the way money talks in this fucked up financial society we’ve constructed, it’s loud, obnoxious noise made by people with stratospheric budgets that push out any ads that might, on some off-chance, warrant a modicum of interest by me.
It just doesn’t make financial sense for smaller businesses — such as indie adventure game devs — to invest in YouTube ads, ‘cos it’s so ridiculously expensive.
And that’s especially problematic, because that means the advertisers on YouTube that bring in the big bucks for content creators are the same obnoxious advertisers that shout and scream at me from my tv to buy their idiotic products I wouldn’t waste time throwing in the river if I lived on a houseboat.
I don’t drive, so I don’t care about your fucking car. I don’t play your stupid on-line multiplayer game. And that imbecilic superhero movie you’re trying to foist on me? Don’t make me laugh. I wouldn’t go watch it if you paid me the obscene amount of money it took to make it.
I don’t have a problem paying for content I enjoy, though — I buy my games from GOG and Steam; I buy my music from Bandcamp.com — but I have this weird, defiant attitude towards giving these wankstainy corporations money and giving them the idea that I want to see more of their shit. And I certainly don’t want to give viewers of my content the idea that I was in any way okay with the steaming piles of manure they throw at us.
It got even more weird when I started looking into what MCN’s were. Basically, MCN’s, or Multi-Channel Networks, are like record companies but for YouTubers. Their purpose is to “match talent with attractive advertisers,” which sounds so dirty I’d rather not think about it for too long, ‘cos then I’d have to go take a shower in a fetal position.
Ostensibly, they’re supposed to make it easier for successful YouTubers to find advertisers for their channel in exchange for paying a cut of their earnings to the MCN, but when even YouTube’s biggest star says these more than often peddle in horseshit*, my skepticism about them rose a full DEFCON level. And it was pretty high to begin with.
So, how do I support creators of content I like? Enter Patreon.com. If I support someone on Patreon, I know I’m giving directly to the content creator — supporting the person(s) directly — much like when I buy an album on Bandcamp.com.
To that end, I’ve set up a Space Quest Historian Patreon.
If you like what I do, feel free to throw some dough my way. It’s a monthly subscription thing, and there are some rewards in it for you depending on how much you want to throw at me each month, but you’re free to cancel anytime.
Don’t feel obligated, though. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish I could make a living off doing what I do here, but I know that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. But any scratch thrown my way does make a difference, and it does enable me to do more shit.
I hope this post hasn’t given you the idea that I’m ragging on YouTubers who choose to monetize via YouTube’s ad system. Nor that I somehow have a problem with people who don’t mind ads, or don’t have the same (admittedly somewhat irrational) distaste for advertising in general as I do. Or, heaven forbid, that I’m just bitching about one system because I want you to throw money at a different system.
This is simply my way of saying, “Here’s how you can support me, if you want to. If you don’t want to, that’s fine. Everything I do will remain free** and you’ll never be pestered by ads you don’t want to look at if you don’t want to***.”
* Of course, then he turned around and started his own MCN in partnership with one of the largest MCN’s currently out there (owned by fucking Disney, no less!), but, hey, it’s his party. He can do what he wants. At least he doesn’t appear to be out to scam hopeful YouTubers like most other MCN’s apparently do.
** I do realize there’s a milestone in the Patreon that enables Patreon-exclusive content. This would technically mean there could potentially be content in the future that you’d have to pay for. But the content would be available to all backers, even if they just give me $1 a month. So I still think I’m somewhat morally in the clear.
*** I also realize this page sometimes displays ads below posts. I can’t help that. That’s because I’m using WordPress.com for hosting my site and I’m not paying enough to get rid of them. If the Patreon thing takes off, I might do something about that as well.