YouTube tightens the rules around creator monetization and partnerships

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In an effort to regain advertisers’ trust, Google is announcing what it says are “tough but necessary” changes to YouTube monetization.

For one thing, it’s setting a higher bar for the YouTube Partner Program, which is what allows publishers to make money through advertising. Previously, they needed 10,000 total views to join the program. Starting today, channels also need to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of view time in the past year. (For now, those are just requirements to join the program, but Google says it will also start applying them to current partners on February 20.)

This might assure marketers that their ads are less likely to run on random, fly-by-night channels, but as Google’s Paul Muret writes, “Of course, size alone is not enough to determine whether a channel is suitable for advertising.”

So in addition, he said:

We will closely monitor signals like community strikes, spam, and other abuse flags to ensure they comply with our policies. 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.

Muret also described changes planned for the more exclusive Google Preferred program, which is supposed to be limited to the best and most popular content. Vlogger Logan Paul was part of Google Preferred until the controversy over his “suicide forest” video got him kicked out last week — a story that suggests some of the limitations to Google’s approach.

Moving forward, Muret said the program will offer “not only … the most popular content on YouTube, but also the most vetted.” That means everything in Google Preferred should be manually curated, with ads only running “on videos that have been verified to meet our ad-friendly guidelines.” (Looks like all those new content moderators will be busy.)

Lastly, Muret said YouTube will be introducing a new “three-tier suitability system” in the next few months, aimed at giving marketers more control over the trade-off between running ads in safer environments versus reaching more viewers.

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