CloudOps Analyst @ Datadog. I also write plays.
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★ Thoughts on an ‘Apple One’ Subscription Bundle

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A few big scoops from Mark Gurman yesterday that got lost in the shuffle a bit after Epic went to war against the App Store:

The bundles, dubbed “Apple One” inside the Cupertino, California-based technology giant, are planned to launch as early as October alongside the next iPhone line, the people said. […]

There will be different tiers, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private plans. A basic package will include Apple Music and Apple TV+, while a more expensive variation will have those two services and the Apple Arcade gaming service. The next tier will add Apple News+, followed by a pricier bundle with extra iCloud storage for files and photos.

“Apple One” passes the sniff test as a credible name for the bundle. But this description, if accurate, seems contrary to the spirit of the name. It’s not just one bundle, which to me is what Apple ought to offer. What Gurman describes is a frustrating jumble of à la carte offerings that seems no different than the current situation, where every Apple subscription offering is a standalone service, other than some sort of discount for subscribing to more than one service, but only if you subscribe to them in certain predefined tiers.

What Gurman is describing would offer nothing, for example, if you want Apple Music/TV+ and additional iCloud storage but have no interest in Arcade or News+.

The company is also developing a new subscription for virtual fitness classes that can be used via an app for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, the people said. That service will be offered in a higher-end bundle with the rest of Apple’s services. Codenamed “Seymour,” the workout package would rival virtual classes offered by companies including Peloton Interactive Inc. and Nike Inc., according to the people.

Total scoop for Gurman here if this pans out — this is the first anyone has reported this, I believe. This service simultaneously seems like a very keen offering from a company that is focused more and more on health and fitness features across its platforms (especially Watch) and more fuel to the fire that Apple unfairly competes against popular services from third parties.

The new bundles will be geared toward families, meaning they will work with Apple’s Family Sharing system that provides access to as many as six people for each service. The offerings are designed to save consumers about $2 to upwards of $5 a month, depending on the package chosen. For example, if a family subscribes today to all of Apple’s major services plus the highest iCloud storage tier, that would cost about $45 a month. A new bundle could knock more than $5 off that.

That’s not much of a discount. To me the whole point of a bundle should be twofold: a greatly simplified offering (“Just buy Apple One and get it all”) at a very compelling price (“Even if you don’t think you care about, say, Arcade and News+, hey, you’re effectively getting them for free”.)

That’s the secret sauce to Amazon Prime. It’s a simple decision — get Prime or don’t — at a compelling price that makes everything other than the free shipping on Amazon purchases feel “free”.

Peter Kafka, on Twitter:

The long-awaited/predicted Apple bundles, coming this fall. The problem: Bundles work when they include the thing people love/want/need — sports for cable tv, free delivery for Amazon. These bundles — per Bloomberg, are made up of Apple’s side gigs.

A great bundle offering does have a lynchpin. And while Prime and cable TV are good examples of that, they’re at extremes pricing-wise. Prime makes it feel like a good deal for shipping and everything else is free; cable TV makes it feel like you’re paying a ton of money for a bunch of channels you never watch just to get the ones you do (sports or otherwise).

So let’s think this through and figure out what Apple One “should” include and cost.

The big difference with Apple’s services is that everything is a standalone service, with reasonable à la carte pricing. Arcade and TV+ are just $5/month, including automatic family sharing. News+ is $10/month, including sharing. Music is $10 individually, and $15/month for a family sharing account. Music and News+ cost more (and Music, alone among Apple’s content offerings, charges extra for family sharing) because Apple doesn’t own the content.

Then there’s iCloud, the paid storage tiers for which haven’t changed in years. Right now in the U.S.:

  • 50 GB: $1/mo
  • 200 GB: $3/mo
  • 2 TB: $10/mo

My back-of-the-envelope proposal is that Apple One should cost $15/month for an individual and $20/month for family sharing, and include: Music, TV+, Arcade, and the top tier of iCloud storage. Make News+ a $5/add-on.

Basically: start with Apple Music as the lynchpin service in the bundle, charge $5 more than they currently are for Music alone, and include everything Apple owns the entirety of: TV+, Arcade, and iCloud storage. I think they have to charge extra for News+ to pay the participating providers — News+ is more like a bundle unto itself. And that still leaves TV Channels as extra monthly add-ons, too.

That’s a simple proposition at a compelling price.

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dannberg
638 days ago
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As someone who currently only pays $3/mo for 200 GB of iCloud storage, I'd totally purchase the $20/mo family sharing plan Gruber proposes.
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An exhaustive list of my favorite things in 2018

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Hello. I’m doing something a little bit different this year for my year-end wrap up post. I’m going all-in with recommendations this year, rather than releasing another boring post listing stuff I’ve created, sharing stats, and setting goals. Yawn.

This article documents a year’s worth of consumption. It’s a lot. I consumed a lot in 2018. But I also wrote a full-length play with my wife this year, so I’m not feeling that bad about my level of consumption. Only a little bad.

Some of the product links are affiliate links, meaning I’ll get a small amount of money if you make a purchase after clicking the link. If you like something and want to buy it, feel free to click the link to go directly to the product page. Or don’t. Just Googling it works, too. Whatever.

With that out of the way, here it is: an exhaustive list of my favorite things in 2018. Enjoy.

Books

This was a good year of reading for me. According to my Goodreads account, I read 5,735 pages across 15 books, although that doesn’t take into account a few books that I started and never finished. The top two books I read this year would probably be Bad Blood by John Carreyrou and The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. Both tell incredible true stories with a gripping narrative that reads like fiction.

After reading Conspiracy by Ryan Holiday (about the fall of Gawker at the hands of Peter Thiel) I decided to pick up Thiel’s Zero to One. It was an interesting (and short!) read. I found myself often agreeing with his premises, but strongly disagreeing with the conclusions he draws. It was interesting to finally take the time to get into his head a little bit, if only because most of his public behavior has had me absolutely baffled.

I also really enjoyed Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, which I hadn’t read until this year. Pick it up if you haven’t yet, because they’re releasing a movie remake next year. It’s an easy read.

Writing around the web

This seemed to be the year of the Oral History. It was a little overwhelming, given the sheer length of the average oral history article. Not all of them are worth reading, but I certainly had fun with the Oral History of the Double Dare Obstacle Course. Likewise, the Oral History of ‘Too Many Cooks’ was a fun read, but feel free to skip it of the original video wasn’t really your thing. They even made an oral history of Mary-Kate and Ashley’s “Gimme Pizza” this year, which either sounds amazing to you, or seems odd. It’s both.

When it comes to long-form journalism, there’s one story from The Atlantic that’s still on my mind: Why Are Young People Having So Little Sex? I don’t know why the article hit me like a gut punch, but it did. Likewise, the New York Times’ The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail was a heartbreaking profile of an NYC erotic masseuse’s tragic death, diving into both the sex work industry as it exists today, and the (possibly shady) circumstances surrounding her untimely end. While we’re on the topic of sex, The Cut explored how Larry Nassar got away with his crimes for so long by exposing the “medical practices” behind his “therapy.” It’s a good behind-the-headlines look, but also pretty disturbing. Read at your own risk.

After sex comes drugs, right? You’ve probably seen the headlines about El Chapo being on trial in Brooklyn, but it’s the story about how the kingpin was finally captured that’s truly compelling (a set of twins in Chicago worked their way to the top ranks of the international drug trade, only to flip at the very height of their success). Speaking of international drug trade, Ross Ulbricht — currently in jail for being the man behind the notorious Silk Road deep web blackmarket — presents a compelling alternate narrative to the plot that eventually ended with him in prison. It’s a great pairing to the popular book American Kingpin by Nick Bilton on the same topic.

Not all drugs are bad, however. I’ve had been taking a low 1mg dose of melatonin every night before bed after reading Gwern’s piece on the sleep supplement a few years ago. This year, I learned that even that one milligram was way too much. It’s all thanks to Scott Alexander’s Melatonin: Much More Than You Ever Wanted to Know. I’ve been getting my 0.03mg pills from Amazon for about $0.02 each. After reading Scott’s article, you may want to start, too.

I always like articles that help me Keep Up With The Cool Kids™. Like the New York Times’ profile of Gwyneth Paltrow and her bizarre company Goop. Or The New Yorker’s look at Ice Poseidon, a guy who basically carries a camera with him at all times, live-streaming his entire life (which can get dangerous when viewers keep SWAT-ing you). And if you’re unfamiliar with the story of Anna Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin) and how she manipulated and conned her way in with the NYC media elite, you should read the article from The Cut before it becomes a Netflix series soon.

And finally, let’s end this section with something shorter and a lot more fun. I expected to quickly skim and discard Esquire’s article about the top cruise-ship performers, but the article pulled me in and had me smiling the entire time.

Products

I’m always on the hunt for new products that I can easily work into my daily life and that will provide a significant amount of value. Here’s some of the physical products that I either got or used significantly this year, and that provided the highest returns.

I like my drinking water to be cold. Probably more so than most people. That’s why I’m absolutely in love with my 17oz S’well bottle. I like the texture of the Smokey Quartz bottle better than the smooth options, and I find the name-brand S’well bottles to keep cold drinks colder than cheaper alternatives. For warm drinks, I have a YETI mug which I like, but not as much as I liked the YETI lowball (which was sadly stolen from me last year).

I’ve got two items I love that fall into the EDC (Everyday Carry) category. Life has been so much better since moving all my keys onto a leather Orbitkey. Any my favorite holiday gift this year came from my wife, who got me this nifty rechargeable hand warmer. It works really well, although I do wish the battery lasted just a little bit longer.

This is also the year that I became a proud bidet convert. I just went with a cheap $22 bidet toilet seat attachment, not wanting to shell out the money for a super expensive model without trying it first. But now that I know I love it, I’m lusting after Wirecutter’s top pick: The Toto C200 Washlet.

Speaking of keeping things clean, I’ve been using the Quip electric toothbrush since 2015, and I can’t recommend it enough. They send you a new brush head and a fresh pack of toothpaste every few months, which is a perfect reminder to change things out. And the fact that it’s battery powered means that it doesn’t take up an outlet in the bathroom and that it’s perfect for travel.

If you enjoy board games and haven’t yet played Terraforming Mars, do yourself a favor and purchase it now. It’ll seem complicated at first (you may want to find a good YouTube video tutorial) but you’ll pick it up quickly, and then want to play it again and again. We played it a few dozen times this year, and every single game is different. There are so many different strategies to win.

On the digital gaming front, I’m still really enjoying my Nintendo Switch. If you’re new to the platform, definitely pick up Zelda — it really is as good as everyone says it is. I’ve also really been enjoying Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna the Golden Country, which is technically DLC for the original Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but plays more like a completely different (and more accessible) game. I know this recommendation is a bit old, but South Park: The Stick of Truth is available on the Switch now, and is a surprisingly good game. And make sure you play Stardew Valley, whether it’s on the Switch, or iOS, or a PC. Great game.

Smarthome

My wife worries that robots now outnumber organic beings in our apartment, and she’s not totally wrong. I’ve been slowly building up an army of electronics to do our bidding, and am pretty happy with the setup I’ve been able to put together this year.

For voice commands, we’ve got an original Amazon Echo in the living room, and a older Dot in the bedroom (but if you’re thinking about purchasing, I’d go with a newer Echo and Dot). These allow us to control various lights throughout the apartment (as well as our bedroom fan) using multiple TP-Link Mini WiFi Smartplugs. I also found an amazing deal on the Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifier last spring, which can also be voice controlled with Alexa.

Even though none of these devices are technically HomeKit enabled, I’m still able to connect everything to my iPhone seamlessly with HomeBridge, which I have running on a home server. Also running on that server is Plex, allowing me to effectively run my own Dannflix service. All the media files are stored on a years old 4-bay Synology NAS, which I can’t recommend enough. I’d pick up the DS418play and three or four 4TB WD Red drives if I were purchasing it today.

Unlike most other fellow millennials, we do still have a cable TV subscription. However, we’ve ditched the cable box in favor of an HDHomerun Prime, which allows us to access all our paid cable channels on any digital device. This means our Apple TV is the single source for all our TV viewing needs: live TV streams through the Channels app, plus Plex, Netlix, Hulu, HBO, etc are all right there. It’s great having a single tvOS for everything.

The final piece of our smarthome is for our two cats. After they destroyed several cheaper automatic feeders, I finally caved and purchased a Super Feeder Cat Food Dispenser. This was a few years ago now, and it’s still holding up strong. A couple summers ago, my wife and I won a free Nest Cam IQ, which we now have pointed at the cat feeder so we can make sure they’re getting fed. That’s a good use for it, right?

iPhone/macOS Apps

I’m a mobile app fiend, and my phone is filled with more apps than I can count. For calendaring, I’m a big fan of Fantastical, and Outlook for iOS is still the best email client for the iPhone. Personal Capital is a fantastic (and free) way to view and manage all your bank/investment accounts. For todo lists, I keep coming back to the simplicity of Clear. I think 1Password is the best password manager, and switched from Uber to Lyft and haven’t looked back. This year, I was finally sold on CARROT Weather, which also makes great widgets for the Apple Watch. I also still check Timehop every day, and my streak is now more than two years. If you use Reddit, skip the official app and download Apollo instead.

For quick games, I typically open Egg, Inc or Diamond Diaries (which I think is way better than Candy Crush). Monument Valley 2 is beautiful for when you want to have longer and more meditative gaming sessions. I downloaded Donut Country after it won Apple’s Game of the Year, and it was fun but I wish it was longer.

I’m still a Chrome user on my Mac, but mostly because I have it set up exactly how I like, and my muscle memory is strong. For plugins, I recommend uBlock Origin for adblocking and Quick Tabs for great tab management. I also love using The Camelizer to check the price history of items on Amazon, and I use it to get alerts when an item in my wishlist goes on sale.

I haven’t found an email client I like as much as the regular Gmail interface, so I use Mailplane to manage all my gmail accounts. Bartender 3 is a must for keeping my menu bar organized, since so many apps seem to want to use that space. I find Alfred better than Apple’s Spotlight for my needs. I use Sublime Text as my primary text editor, although I’m sure I’m not even scratching the surface of what that app can do.

For privacy, I use Little Snitch to monitor and set rules for all my computer’s network activity, and enable my PrivateInternetAccess VPN if I’m ever on an untrusted network.

TV Shows

I’ve found 2018 to be a pretty strong year for both SNL and Real Time with Bill Maher. I try to watch both each week, when new episodes are available. Barry was fun, but not necessarily what I would consider to be must-watch. In terms of light comedies that don’t require much brainpower, my wife and I have been enjoying Superstore, which I describe as “The Office, but optimized for product placements.” My unpopular opinion is to not waste your time with The Good Place past season one (we couldn’t make it through season two).

Back on HBO, both Succession and The Deuce are well worth the time. Especially Succession, which I feel didn’t get enough attention. Jumping over to Netflix, the documentary series Wild Wild Country is a must-watch, the re-boot of Queer Eye is great because it presents masculinity in such a positive way, and Dark Tourist (from the guy who made Tickled) is a really enjoyable show.

I haven’t had a chance to catch up with the most recent season of BoJack Horseman, but if any of the previous seasons are an indicator, it’s great. I’m saving the new episodes for when I have enough time to binge them. The first season of Big Mouth is fantastic (especially the first few episodes) but it loses some of the magic as it keeps going.

The biggest TV loss this year was the cancelling of The Last Man on Earth. I simply cannot understand how that show wasn’t more popular. Oh well, such is life.

I don’t really watch reality TV, but do love me some Survivor. The most recent season was fantastic. I’m going to finally create an audition video next year, so wish me luck.

Movies

One of my favorite movies that I saw this year was Brigsby Bear, which came out in 2017 but I finally got around to watching. The trailer intrigued me, and the actual movie pleasantly surprised me. I was incredibly uncomfortable during all of Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham’s directorial debut, which captured the awkwardness of youth in a painfully-honest way. Another top pick was Thoroughbreds, which reminded me a lot of Heavenly Creatures (in a good way).

I was actually kind of nervous to see Hereditary in theaters (because I’m a big wuss), but I’m glad I did. What a great and surprising horror film. I also really enjoyed Annihilation, but that’s not a surprise because you can always count on Alex Garland for a fresh and interesting story. While The House That Jack Built wasn’t quite as disturbing as I was expecting (especially compared to Antichrist), I am glad I saw it. What an ambitious ending for a Lars von Trier film, despite the film’s constant naval-gazing.

It was great to hear the full story behind The Dana Carvey Show in Too Funny to Fail: The Dana Carvey Show, which had me laughing out loud. The documentary Gilbert, about Gilbert Godfriend was both touching and irreverent (and worth watching, whatever your opinions on his act). Jeff Ross and Dave Attell got their own three-part Nexflix special called Bumping Mics, and they absolutely killed it. And I really liked Derren Brown’s The Push, a wild and crazy social experiment, but I guess I can see how it’s not for everyone.

YouTube Videos

In another attempt to Keep Up With The Cool Kids™, I started watching more YouTube videos a couple of years ago. There’s actually some really great content being created there. I’ll admit to watching every new David Dobrick video (it doesn’t hurt that they’re only 4:20 minutes, so it’s not a huge commitment). He’s my vote for best creator of 2018.

Casey Neistat lost some of his juju this year, but I’ll still throw on an occasional new video of his. I enjoy Philip DeFranco‘s perspective on the news, and he keeps me up-to-date with any YouTube drama, which always find wildly fascinating. It’s fun to watch celebrities eat progressively spicy hot wings on First We Feast’s Hot Ones, but you should only throw on an episode if you’re actually interested in the interviewee.

For tech news and opinion, no one beats MKBHD. I’m not really a big video game person, but watching Videogamekunkey‘s short and entertaining videos makes me feel up-to-date on that whole world. If you like your comedy to be timely, relevant, and under 30 seconds, you’ll enjoy Ian Kung.

And I strongly believe that watching Bill Wurtz videos is better than doing acid. He’s the guy who made the epic history of the entire world, i guess, and I still have La de da de da de da de day oh stuck in my head.

That’s all, folks. Have a great 2019.

And if you think I got anything wrong, let me know in the comments.

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dannberg
1231 days ago
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Dear Young People: “Don’t Vote”

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I love this ad. Share it far and wide.

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dannberg
1329 days ago
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This is great.
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New Logo and Identity for Library of Congress by Pentagram

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This new identity is a horrendous mistake. The old identity was perfect.

The new identity doesn’t look bad in and of itself, per se, but it doesn’t fit the Library of Congress in any way. The Library of Congress is majestic, historic, dignified, authoritative. A new or tweaked identity for the Library of Congress should be for the ages, something designed to last for a century or longer. This feels like an identity that will last 10 years. I love orange and black as a color scheme, but why in the world would you choose those colors for the United States Library of Congress?

This is so wrong it breaks my heart.

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dannberg
1362 days ago
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Yuck.
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Firewatch Is Coming to the Nintendo Switch

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Campo Santo:

When will it be out? All we can say is “soon!” Reengineering the sprawling meadows and towering trees of Firewatch’s wilderness to play perfectly on new hardware is no small engineering task. We’ve been hard at work stripping much of Firewatch’s tech down to the studs and rebuilding it to render the world more quickly, to stream and load faster, and to generally be more responsive. Nearly everyone in the Campo Santo office has a Nintendo Switch (and the rest want one). We know what a good Switch game feels like, and want to make sure Firewatch feels like one too.

Plus, we’re hoping to throw in a couple surprises just for the Switch release.

I don’t spend a lot of times playing video games, but I absolutely loved Firewatch. It’s great to see so many games coming to the Switch.

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dannberg
1499 days ago
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Damn. That's exciting. Didn't think Firewatch would come to Switch.
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1 public comment
iwhitney
1499 days ago
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Yay! Excited for this one.
Minneapolis, MN

The one percent unfairly hurt by YouTube’s new monetization threshold

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YouTube has recently made some changes that directly affect me and my channel, as well as thousands of other small creators. I made a quick video (above) outlining the changes, which I also summarize below, but I wanted to write this article to dive into the topic in a bit more detail. I’ve seen a lot of articles explaining why these changes won’t actually hurt YouTubers, and I want to argue that some people, including myself, are a forgotten minority.

How did we get to here?

Over the past year, YouTube has been having some problems making both advertisers and content creators happy. YouTube is trying to grow up. It’s been increasing its focus on YouTube Red (a monthly subscription service a la Netflix give provides original series and ad-free viewing) and really trying to make itself a viable competitor to services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, or even cable TV. While this might sound ridiculous to anyone over the age of 20, it’s really not so crazy. Younger people spend all their time on YouTube. It is TV for them.

Many YouTube celebrities are making millions of dollars. They do this by being a part of the YouTube Partner Program, which allows YouTube to run ads against those videos and then share the profits with the creators. But this can get tricky, because some content creators are more “advertiser friendly” than others.

As an extreme example, no advertiser wants to have an ad run against a video promoting terrorism. That’s obvious. But drawing the line between what is and isn’t advertiser friendly is a little hazier. What about a news-style channel that’s covering a terrorist act?

This past year, there was a mass advertiser exodus from YouTube, an event dubbed Adpocolypse. In order to woo these advertisers back, YouTube became more strict with what content they would allow to be monetized. Since there’s so much content uploaded to YouTube every day, they created a computer algorithm to either allow or disable monetization of new content.

The end result, however, was an overabundance of demonetization. YouTube erred on the side of just disabling monetization on videos. Even really big and popular YouTubers had entire back catalogues of videos demonetized. And their new, instantly popular new videos were being demonetized at peak popularity, meaning creators were not getting paid for thousands or millions of views even if the content creator was able to re-enable monetization later by fighting the ruling.

So, that’s basically where we were before this latest change. Advertisers want a guarantee that their ads will not be run against any content deemed offensive. And content creators, especially ones who do this for a living, don’t want to be demonetized. The biggest problem with executing a plan that makes everyone happy, according to YouTube, is that it’s physically impossible to manually review all new content that’s uploaded to Youtube.

YouTube raising the minimum for small creators

Email about YouTube Partner Program changes

This brings us to YouTube’s latest rule change. In the past, content creators could join the YouTube Partner Program and begin monetizing their videos once their entire channel reached 10,000 views. This prevents really new, or really spammy, YouTube channels from creating garbage content and monetizing it.

Overall, people tended to agree that this threshold was fair. It took some work to reach 10,000 views, but it was an achievable goalpost for most people.

A few days ago, many smaller content creators got an email about YouTube’s change. The threshold for monetizing videos would be 4,000 hours of views in the past 12 months, and 1,000 subscribers.

If your channel is not at that minimum, everything on you channel will be demonetized by February 20th. YouTube will stop running ads against your content, and you’ll stop making any money ad revenue off your content.

In a blog post outlining these changes, YouTube claims (emphasis mine):

Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month.

Looking at those statistics, it’s hard to argue against these changes. But, as a content creator who falls into that one percent (I made roughly $600 from ad revenue last year, but am being demonetized with these changes), it’s hard to understand why there can’t be exceptions to this rule.

The One Percent

There is one category of YouTube content creators that’s being hit unfairly with these changes, and I believe that it’s a category that’s extremely important to YouTube: Educational and How To videos.

At the time that this notification went out, my channel had roughly 800 subscribers, roughly 200 below the new threshold. However, my view hours in 2017 were 4,192. The top video on my channel, a tutorial for uploading a theme to WordPress, has over 108,000 views and over 200 comments.

Obviously, this video has been useful to a large number of people. This video, and a few others, make up the bulk of the 4,192 hours of view time on my channel last year. But, for many of these people, there’s no need to subscribe to my channel for additional content.

How To videos are usually found through Google or YouTube search. They solve a problem in real time, and then people can be on their way. They’re extremely helpful, but are forgotten by these new YouTube benchmarks.

I think that the availability of this kind of helpful niche content is the very soul of YouTube. I can’t count the number of times I’ve turned to YouTube when I’ve wanted to know how to do something, and found some obscure video that solved the problem. The video was almost never created by one of the “big guys.”

There has to be some way to keep these types of creators incentivized. Some of the most useful videos on YouTube are from smaller content creators who aren’t regularly updating (and thus not building a huge following).

Why the money is important

A year ago, at the close of 2016, I had earned a meager $60 from my YouTube channel. It made me happy that I posted useful videos that was helping people, but those numbers didn’t really drive me to create new content. In 2017, I posted just one new video.

But at the end of 2017, as I was looking over stats and numbers from all my online content for this past year, I realized (much to my surprise) that my YouTube channel balance was nearly $1,000. I didn’t realize I had made so much money because I hadn’t even properly verified my bank account in order to accept payouts, since I wasn’t even close to the payout threshold.

The discovery of these funds made me realize that I really needed to put more focus on YouTube content in 2018. One of my goals for this new year is to create at least one new video per month. For video topics, I planned to dive into the commonly-asked questions on my current videos, in an attempt to help even more people.

And then came YouTube’s change announcement on January 16th. Despite having a helpful library of videos, and earning a hundreds of dollars per year from ad revenue, I was being demonetized.

As of right now, things are looking good for me in terms of hitting this new subscriber count threshold. I was at 800 subscribers when I first got the announcement, and I’ve been able to bump that number up to 937 as of this article’s publication. However, I know that there must be other channels that are in a similar situation as me. And demonetizing all their existing content is a great way to remove the motivation for creating new content.

How YouTube can fix this

While I do believe that this new threshold is a bit high, I understand YouTube’s perspective on this change. It will allow the company to provide better support for creators in the YouTube Partner Program by limiting the amount of content that needs to be screened for monetization. It will also help declutter certain categories of videos, as it will be a lot more difficult for spammy channels to get paid for filling the site up with junk.

But, as with the Adpocolypse, I think the biggest problem here is communication and support. For content creators who do fall into that one percent (making hundreds of dollars a year but still being demonetized), I think there should be some sort of manual override process. Allowing this one percent of users affected by this change to appeal the demonetization decision would be a great way to show continued support for the smaller creators who make the site great.

If a content creator’s videos are getting thousands of hours of views, and have lively comment sections, there should be some way to have a human review the channel and possibly make an exception.

There have been several new policy changes that YouTube has implemented throughout this past year, and each time it has alienated a large number of content creators, both big and small. I feel like several YouTubers are ready to jump to the first viable competitor. Let’s say some big company, like an Amazon, releases its own video streaming site with a monetization model similar to YouTube’s. Why would anyone stay on a site that doesn’t seem to care about messing with creator’s paychecks without proper communication or transparency? There are already smaller guys nipping at YouTube’s heels (i.e. Steemit, Brave).

YouTube is struggling to find the balance between keeping content creators happy and remaining marketable to advertisers. As of now, it seems to be pissing off everyone.

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dannberg
1573 days ago
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