If you’re reading this, you probably love YouTube as much as we do.
It’s an endless sea of content about the most obscure topics. Not only that, but anyone can share a video with the potential for it to reach millions. To top it off, it’s not just free; in some cases, they pay you!
Despite this, both creators and viewers seem to hate YouTube. Demonetization issues, controversial personalities on the trending tab and unenforced community guidelines, give us a lot to be grumpy about.
Is YouTube evil? Are they trying their best but being crushed under the endless barrage of content? Or is all the complaining coming from a vocal minority? Like most things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.
The fact is YouTube has no real competition. Vimeo doesn’t share revenue with creators. Vid.me just went under. Vessel went under. There are no viewers on Dailymotion. Normally, when a company annoys us, we migrate to the competition or give up the service in general. But we love the basic service YouTube offers so much, the latter option is no option at all. No more community-generated video? Forget it. We’ll put up with a lot before giving up our favorite YouTube channels.
Creators are in an even stickier situation. They’ve built careers on YouTube. If there was a competitive service that was as good or better than YouTube, moving would still be a financial risk. You simply can’t count on all of your audience to follow you from platform to platform, so despite its shortcomings, staying with the status quo is appealing.
My take is that as long as YouTube allows everyday people to freely upload video content and build audiences, they deserve our support. We can’t expect they will make the right decision every time, nor should we expect every decision to benefit all of their 1 billion active users.
Of all YouTube’s virtues, the most important is that it is a platform that facilitates free expression. Further down the list, but still important, is that YouTube shares its revenue with creators, which no other major video platform does. It’s important to keep this perspective when considering how much hate YouTube deserves.