Saturday, 11 May 2013

Charging For YouTube Is A Catastrophic Idea

This isn't completely new news as the fact that Google will start charging users for YouTube was revealed a good few days ago. However I'm just here to point out why it is such a catastrophically bad idea. I'm not gonna use thousands of words to give my opinion and I'm gonna keep this pretty short. Here we go. Oh also note that no one is 100% certain about what this new system is going to do or mean so not everything I say below may turn out to be correct. Google may reveal that it is actually really way more basic than everyone is making out. However for now I'm just gonna cover what I think on the entire 'concept', as it were.

What is it & what does it mean?

YouTube will offer channel owners a chance to make money from people paying directly to see their videos and YouTube users the option to pay for YouTube subscriptions for £1.28(ish)/$1.99 a month (per channel). 

What does this means for YouTube video makers? 
Well it means that they get their money in a more direct form and don't have to rely on people watching the ads in front of their videos, which will no doubt make sure they actually DO get paid. Ultimately it will simply mean that the pay that these YouTubers receive is more secure. Unlike with ads, which can be skipped or blocked completely by adblockers, paying for subscriptions means that YouTubers get their money no matter what. It also means that views on mobile devices are irrelevant because as it stands at the moment, YouTubers don't get paid for mobile views on their videos. Obviously this would change if it was payment based.

What does this mean for users?
Well it means you have the option to pay for your favourite channels. Now I say option, and I've been careful to use that term consistently because I'm dead sure it IS an option. Yes, paying is NOT compulsory, however knowing Google no one is making promises it will stay like that.

Basically it seems as simple as this: you pay and you get access to the channel without ads. You don't pay and you still have to watch the ads. At the moment at least that is how it seems to work.

Why it's such an atrocious idea

As the title suggests, I'm really against this new payment option. 

I know what you're thinking though:
Mike, if it's just an option, why is that bad? An option is, surely, exactly that: an OPTION.

Here's why.

First of all 'options' tend to lead to compulsory guidelines that you have no say in. Especially on the internet where Google is concerned.

You know that 'option' you have/had for adding in your mobile number or an extra e-mail address to your Google or Hotmail or whatever account? Right? Now you remember how that so-called 'option' turned compulsory, right? When Google said "OK, times up. No more games. Add your fucking phone number or we will screw you." It's the same here.

I'm almost certain that unless the feedback Google receives from the new payment scheme is absolutely TERRIBLE (which I hope and kind of think it will be), in 6 months times, or maybe a couple of years time even, it will no longer be an option. YouTube will be completely payment based. Options tend to be just an illusion of what IS to come for certain. They're there to lure you in to a sense of security that is then broken by you being forced to comply.

This new payment option also sucks because YouTube is a free, community based, video watching website. That's not Google's description of it by the way. That's mine. That's everyone's. That. Is. What. YouTube. IS. The whole point of YouTube, the thing that makes it its own thing is the fact it is free and community based. You could say it's free because it's community based. Or vice versa. Payment/money and community do not go hand in hand. Not most of the time anyway.

YouTube is a job. People like Smosh, KSI, WoodysGamertag, Ray William Johnson; that's their job. They make money off of it. That's OK though. Because we don't pay and the money they make has little to do with us. However the moment, the very moment you bring in what I'll call 'real life money', then it changes. You shove costly subscriptions in people's faces and then that attachment, that 'community spirit' is as good as dead. 

Money is not a good thing. It is what fuels greed and crime. It breaks the community feeling, the connection with people that you have.

Imagine this.

You go to a FREE palm reader. In fact, imagine there are LOADS of free palm readers. There is a massive campsite full to the brim of tents full of palm readers, all reading people's palms for free.
 You get your palm read every day, which is something that you love - for free remember. The palm reader who serves you and all the other palm readers who you love just as equally do get paid though. Just not by you. They get paid by advertising a news TV channel on a banner above their little tents that they do the palm reading in. 

You go there and you have a laugh. You like this person who is reading your palm. You like ALL of them. They like you too. You feel a real connection with them, like you can go there and hang out, get your palm read and have a great time. You feel like they are there, doing what they do, because the love it to bits. And money? pfft. Fuck money.
And when they say 'I'll see you tomorrow!' you know they really mean it, like they WANT to see you tomorrow.

Now let's say that the advertising banner is gone. Who knows why? It's just gone. You go there the next day and the palm reader welcomes you at the front of the tent but stops you from entering saying you now need to pay a couple of pounds/dollars for your palm reading session. 
You look around and see every palm reader is requesting money from their 'customers'.

Where is that sense of community now? You can still laugh and chat but it's all part of the deal right? It's like getting a lap-dance. Is that beautiful girl laughing at your jokes and dancing around you because she actually likes you? Maybe. Who knows? But probably not. But if you had a lovely girlfriend who you loved who gave you the same treatment MINUS the money, who is being more, or at least who is appearing, more genuine? Her, or the lap-dancer?

I know that YouTubers get paid via ads anyway, but what I'm trying to say is it is all about the way and manner in which they are paid. And this new subscription based cost will kill, instantly, the community sprit. Remember that they do get paid, sure but at the moment it's free for the user. It's FREE for the user. That's key.

Why else does it suck? Well who is going to pay for YouTube anyway? Pay for channels like Smosh? Nope. Pay for BBC and ITN? Bahahahahahahaha no. We already pay the TV license anyway.

YouTube won't work as a TV-esque service. It just won't. It was popular because it was free and community based. Money won't help that one bit. It will kill YouTube. 

One thing got me thinking though. Do these YouTubers even THINK they're good enough at  what they do to get paid directly by their subscribers? If they do then I've got to admit, that just killed the community spirit right there. Because money was always a side part in my opinion. It was never the focus or aim of it. If these YouTubers actually think that they should get paid by their subscribers then I'm afraid I've just lost all respect for them. They're supposed to just like you and me, aren't they? Just some guys and girls making videos and, oh, would you look at that, making some money at the same time. But the moment they start classing themselves as 'in with the big boys' and worthy of subscriber payments, then they've got a problem. 

I've got no problem with YouTube being a job. I love it. But as Woodysgamertag said: "If we're not connecting, then you're doing it wrong. You suck." 

It's not about being a big celebrity or making a shit ton of money, guys. It's about being an awesome community driven person/service that makes people's days and entertains them. Do it fucking right.

What do you think of a payment based YouTube service? Remember it's supposed to be 'optional', so would you 'optionally' subscribe? Do you even watch YouTube? It's more important to me than TV if I'm honest. But what's your take on it all? if you're against it voice your opinion as loud as you can because if everyone against it stands up and shouts out, then the there is more chance that Google will do something about it!

But do you like it? Do you agree with it? If so, why? Please explain exactly what you're thinking about this in the comments! 


  1. I love your point of view on this, but at the same time, there is a side to each story. I think that Youtube becoming a paid subscription service could be either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how it is received and to what extent it is used.

    For organizations such as National Geographic and BBC, a payment option almost makes sense. After all, these are reputable, established groups that are professionals at what they do and the information they cover. I wouldn't have a problem paying for something like that; it's not like you're paying for the opinion of some forty-year-old man who lives with his parents. You expect a certain quality from such organizations.

    Do they need paid subscriptions? Not necessarily. I'd love to not have to pay to learn about dinosaurs or whatever. But I'm also happy to support them and know that I'm helping to guarantee more content in the future.

    But I'm more apprehensive when it comes to having to pay for non-professional channels, like RayWilliamJohnson or Smosh or PewdiePie. Don't get me wrong, I love all of these guys. They're hilarious, spontaneous, and great at what they do. But I wouldn't pay for them, not even if I watch 5 or more of their videos a day. Why?

    Take PewdiePie. A great, great Youtuber. But his videos, unlike the BBC or whatever, are created at his house using a webcam and a Windows computer. It's a hobby for him. He's not trying to get rich, he's probably not even trying to be the most popular Youtuber. At the end of the day, he's just trying to have fun. I worry that by throwing money into the equation, his videos will lose their charm. No longer will it be a hobby; it'll be a business.

    He wouldn't have to make as many videos as before because people are under a paid subscription. He wouldn't have to listen to feedback because he's being paid and his subscribers are going to swallow whatever he feeds them. Heck, once he has subscriptions, he could make fewer/lower quality videos and not be penalized by losing subscriptions, because he's being paid.

    Now, I'm not trying to bag on PewdiePie, because his videos are awesome and he seems like a great person. I'm not saying that he would do any of that. But if you look at Youtube as a whole, there are some people who are going to do that.

    If Youtube became entirely paid, I actually think it would do great from a business perspective. After all, Youtube is one of the few community based video sites left. Where else would people go? Vimeo? Dailymotion? Youtube is the most well known, and while some would switch to smaller sites for their videos, they also would risk losing their Youtube fanbase, which is every bloggers worst nightmare. As I see it, Youtube will never "fail", simply because it can't.

    That's my personal opinion, anyways. Again, great article! If anybody has any opinions, I'd love to hear them!

    1. Thanks for the awesome feedback and comment dude!

      I definitely think, like you said, that YouTube becoming a business is not good. It needs to stay community focused.

      One thing I will just correct you on is the hobby thing. YouTube is a job for people like PewdiePie, YouAwaysWins (run by GUUNS4HIRE & MeatWagon22), Woodysgamertag etc. It may have started out as a hobby but it's definitely a job to them now, so from that perspective it is kinda a business, but not in a normal 'business' like sense. Like you said, it revolves around the community and community feedback at the moment which is the way it should be.

      A quick note about YouTube being a job is how much it pays. It's not something YouTuber's can talk about (due to Google's T&Cs) but a rough estimation on how much YouTubers make is something like this:

      Ray William Johnson gets around 3-5 mil views per video. He probably gets paid around $5,000 PLUS dollars. A million views typically and generically = around 1,000 dollars or more. So PewdiePie, KSI, RWJ, Smosh; they're not skint. Far from it. As it stands right now YouTube is a VERY high paying job. But also as it stands it requires skill and a LOT of dedication (look at all the many awful and unsuccessful YouTuber channels).

      This new direct way of paying for YouTube subscriptions turns what these Youtubers are doing from a service for you that pays them via a third party (advertising & views) to being a PRODUCT bought and paid for by YOU. The two are completely different and the latter will kill YouTube. I'm 100% sure of it. No doubt in my mind.

  2. ^ Holy Duck that is an amazing opinion my friend!
    Anyways Michael, What is up with Google? First they say "Hey lets make these stupid looking glasses and sell them for big $$$!" Next they say "Lets make people Hate Blogger!" And now ... "Lets milk the fuck out of the best video service ever! God I love being filthy rich!" If they start charging for surfing on Google Im going to Bing.

    1. Haha the thing about Google is they are a business company NOT a community company. The reason Google+ sucks (in my and many people's opinions) is not because it's a terrible idea, it's because unlike Facebook & Twitter, Google is all about BUSINESS and creating a PRODUCT. They are NOT social media designers. They can market products and create them, but designing them for the public is, well, another issue. G+ is good and functional but messy, unattractive, unclear and hard to use. It's NOT user friendly straight from the get-go.

      I mean just look at the Google search engine itself. Is it pretty to look at? Well, no. Is it functional? FUCK YES. They're a business company who makes money and creates working products. Not products that necessarily appeal to the public in design or actual userbility ways. Both of those latter things are key though, which is why in some way things like Android are so much better when used and edited by the likes of Samsung & HTC. Android itself has taken YEARS to become even remotely and properly user friendly, which is why Apple has stolen the mobile market from them.

      Google are big and brilliant but greedy and flawed. It's just the entire business mentality that Google has really.

      Side note: I actually like Bing LOL

  3. As for the Pewdiepie bit, I love to watch the guy, he is great. But he cant just keep doing this forever, whether we can tell or not he is getting tired of it. And one day, he is going to quit doing what he does to live his life with Marzia and have children ETC. I think if he really does this for fun, then either he will quit doing what he does, or he will donate most of his funds to charity. Option 2 would be great, but he will get tired of it. And one day, he will quit. It's inevitable.

    1. I agree but luckily he is so popular and earns so much money he'll be set up for life by the time he is 35 if he is still as popular then.

    2. Yeah, hopefully the guy will keep doing videos for a couple of years.
      P.S Michael have you ever played Borderlands 2? If not I recommend you do! It is one of the best games ever created!

    3. I've heard it's pretty good, why is it so great do you think? I was thinking about getting it but don't know much about the series.

    4. Every gun you get is completely randomized. You will NEVER get the same gun twice. read about it here:


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