At the time I write this, there have been 67 comments on my previous post about YouTube Suspending and Terminating accounts. It's a topic obviously near to my audience's heart, so we'll continue to examine here.
There are a couple of major themes that came up during the last week (with some commentary from me):
YouTube isn't specific about anything right now. I really was hoping someone could point me to a specific document that I was missing that spelled things out (in terms of what we can and can't do). Still haven't found it yet, and at this point I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist.
There are several other similar stories from other marketers in there. I don't know if it's the “thousands” of accounts others are writing about, but it certainly wasn't isolated to just my first two examples. YouTube is actively shutting down accounts and has no “you broke rule ‘x'” process when they do. Scary.
YouTube obviously hasn't killed all spammy videos. Here's one that was gutsy enough to be included in my comments. Do a search in YouTube for your favorite “spammy” terms and you'll find plenty.
Some see this as a conspiracy thing. Yup, that's right, some believe they're banning vids that don't make the money. I don't fall into this category.
A number of comments were in the “fine, I'm gonna use someone else as my free host” category. While expected, I think those comments are missing the forest for the trees. People who are using YouTube “only” as free hosting are like people who purchase tickets at movie theaters “only” to watch the previews. Sure, you are free to do so, but this is a really really silly way to take on things.
I don't have enough solid data to make any definitive statements, but I do “sense' a few things that I wanted to write about:
I could only find one story of an active YouTube participant who had their account “shut down without notice.” That was David Jenyns, as you can see, his story ended up a happy one. Everything else that I read (and again, not claiming to have the whole story yet) were from users of YouTube's hosting who didn't participate in the community at all. Even Darren has done little with his account other than put in a background image. Again, there is so much to leverage at YouTube and I'm surprised more marketers aren't choosing to do so.
Many of these stories have ended with the accounts coming back online. While some inferred it was their audience's outcry that helped bring them back, I'm having a hard time believing that YouTube is really tracking these things. If was a betting man, I'd bet big money that someone got a little aggressive a few weeks back and a team came in to undo a bunch of the damage. Again, just a “gut feeling” here but I do think it makes some sense.
As one commenter wrote, “I always thought good content, comments, ratings, subscribers, and views were what YouTube looked at to determine the ‘spammy-ness' of a YouTube video.” I think the same way. With that said and done, I'll bet it was as much Jenyns' participation that got his account back as much as it was anything else.
Another commenter wrote “And what exactly do we learn here, Paul? 🙂”
Specifically, little, and that is a little scary. YouTube doesn't have specifics about what you can and can't do (other than copyright infringement but that has never been an issue to me) and doesn't have to follow her 3 strikes rule for anyone. There appears to be no official process for protesting decisions and, … well, … that's not a smart place to put your business.
However, there is a common sense element here. As examined above, I've never seen anyone who has been an active participant of the YouTube Community get there accounts permanently banned without reason. If you have proof otherwise, please let me know here.
I continue to recommend YouTube to everyone serious about this game. I also STRESS STRONGLY that you need to be a part of the community not just for the benefits such actions provide, but so that you'll have more than an arbitrary chances if you get “flagged” by the machine. It is YouTube's Pool, and I continue to play it it (and invite you to as well), but I'm going to be a bit more focused on making sure I remains friends with the pool's owner.
And here is where you comment …