You Can’t Make The Blind Man See

The other day I wrote about the person who was a Digital Sharecropper on YouTube and had been evicted from their land when his channel was unceremoniously suspended/banned.

I thought I’d take the time to give you an update on this situation and of course, I’ll be making a point of something that you need to pay attention to as we progress.

The person in question really had been guilty of no “real” crime – he was testing out some livestreaming software on his PC and he didn’t realize it was publishing white noise to YouTube Live.

Showing videos of white noise is against the YouTube terms of service and they have automated bots that obviously picked him up for this violation and suspended his account.

These kinds of things happen, so you assume that he would have been able to fill in a form, someone at YouTube would have reviewed it in due course and they would have reinstated his channel.  If there had been anything more nefarious, maybe the review might take longer or whatever.

In situations like this, you have to lodge an appeal which is a combination of begging and explaining to YouTube what happened in the hope that you catch a generous person on the right day and they reinstate your account.

This guy lodged his appeal and within one hour it came back denied – not further appeals, channel gone forever.

As I mentioned in the previous post this channel provided this guy with his sole source of income, so we’re not talking about some inconsequential loss here.  Not only that but once you’re banned by YouTube according to their terms of service you can NEVER again start another channel.

This guy was lucky that his channel was big enough that a number of other significant channel owners and people in the YouTube Trusted Flaggers program lobbied YouTube on his behalf via Twitter and directly with some YouTube trust and safety staff.

The initial feedback he was hearing was that upon manual review, none of these YouTube staff could see why he was suspended and were investigating further to try and figure out what had happened with both the automated suspension and the appeal.

In any respect, he got the channel back which is great news for him.

But some people just never learn – here’s what he had to say.

I found this staggering.  His income was decimated by a crazy automated bot, his “appeal” was denied for grounds that nobody could work out by some nameless, faceless person who was probably paid a couple dollars an hour and his response is to “advocate” for changes to YouTube in a positive way.

I have no words… Actually, that’s not true, I had a few.

His reply to me was trite and rather simplistic.

“Yes, I now realize I should probably be more proactive with driving people to my email list and self-hosting my content, but YouTube is my primary channel, so…”

Blah Blah Blah…

I won’t bore you with the rest, he was trying to make the right noises but the truth is, we all know he’s going to go right back to just making YouTube videos and one day, maybe he’ll get around to that whole email list and website thing.

The point I want to make is, the allure of being a digital sharecropper is strong – you exist in this world where you think that you don’t have to do marketing to grow your business because the platform owner is bringing you your audience as if by magic.

Even when people almost lose everything by building their business on someone else’s platform they will revert back to that immediately if they can.

It’s like Stockholm Syndrome – the person’s first reaction wasn’t to cover his own risk and do what was in his own best interests going forward, it was to “positively advocate” for improving the other person’s platform.

He told everyone that he had stopped eating and sleeping because of the stress of the situation.  He had subsequently lost 12lbs in just a matter of days and had been having anxiety attacks.

Yet there he was, so excited to go back that he was getting ready that morning to make his next YouTube video for his reinstated channel.

Don’t let this happen to you.  I know that you’re sitting there right now thinking, “I’m safe, I’m careful, this will never happen to me” or “Yeah, as soon as I’m done shooting this video / publishing this new course, I’m going to get right onto this whole diversification thing”, but you need to take it seriously.

These large platform owners don’t care about you.  Don’t expect to be treated fairly or for that matter, to be considered at all by these companies.

You need to look out for you.  Hopefully, this example will show you just how bad this problem is, that even when a person narrowly escapes, their first reaction is not self-preservation but improving the other company’s platform.

That’s crazy, don’t end up like this.

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