The Sins of YouTube, Part I

The Adpocalypse

This is the first article, in a series of many, highlighting some of the major problems affecting the biggest content platform on the web.

These stories, 100% based on true events, shed light on the motives and reasons behind Conjure, a decentralized content platform built on the NEO blockchain.

Our story begins in the first half of 2016.

When Google’s algorithm placed advertisements on a racist video, many advertisers were justifiably outraged. The companies reacted by withdrawing their advertising campaigns from the platform, prompting a waterfall effect; one by one, advertisers began to follow each other out the door.

To remedy the problem, Google quickly instituted new guidelines on monetizable content. They set “family-friendly” rules, to ensure advertisers of the wholesomeness of the content.


Google’s updated rules brought with it a huge amount of subjectivity, wherein the issue lies. This subjectivity can be used as justification to condemn any type of content.

Sexually suggestive content may be a benign music video;

Violence may be an innocent gameplay montage;

Controversial or sensitive subjects covers most current events and news.

Under Google’s heavy hand, any content that falls within the parameters of these rules can be demonetized.

The Effects

After YouTube’s new rules were put in place, complaints surfaced across the platform. Creators large and small reported mass demonetization, decreased revenue, and less traffic.

Joe Taylor, who operates a channel focused on motorsports (JoeGo101), has felt the pain particularly hard. His ad revenue went from $6,000 a month to $1,000 a month under the new guidelines.

The Adpocalypse has caused irreversible damage to the YouTube platform and brand — and here’s the kicker: this problem has not been resolved and continues to plague creators today.

In December 2017, Bloomberg journalist Lucas Shaw wrote an article titled YouTube Advertising Crackdown Puts Some Creators Out of Work. He writes, “YouTube’s crackdown on inappropriate material is inadvertently depriving some creators of as much as 80 percent of their monthly sales, a blow to the very people who helped make the site the most popular place to watch video online.” [1]

That’s not likely to change either: “As the company seeks bigger deals with advertisers, it is only natural that some of the sophomoric comedy fades away.”

The Adpocalypse was YouTube’s first sin — of many. It marks the beginning of a string of events that has led to a near total loss of creators’ confidence regarding the direction of the platform.

We will analyze the Adpocalypse in-depth, along with other events, later in the series.

Look out for Part II, which continues the story, in the very near future.