The YouTube Subscriber 2012 Fiasco Continues…

Ahhhh YouTube.  The fun never ends does it?  😛

Since my last extended hiatus from YouTube I’ve noticed that things have changed quite a bit since the last time I had regularly messed around with making videos on there.  For one thing, I came back to a massive dropoff in activity.  No matter what I posted, videos would maybe clear 50 views in the first few weeks if I was lucky, down from the numbers I used to see earlier.

Then the subscriber numbers started dropping.  I thought nobody gave a darn anymore, until finally I found out that YouTube’s been working on fixing one of the longest-running problems with that site that I’ve ever seen.

I’ve never been one to get too caught up in the subscriber number bragging that’s gone on over the years on that site because I knew it was all nonsense to begin with.  First, not every subscriber subscribed because they were a fan.  I remember the heady days of troll and spam armies where some troll/spam army leader would have a bunch of people subscribe to someone they hated to pester the heck out of them or downvote their videos, etc.  Then there was the issue with ghost accounts where someone would create bogus accounts to boost their own numbers.  Then we had the shady services where someone could pay money to gain subscribers, views, etc., which YouTube disapproved of.

At the pinnacle of all this nonsense though was a long-running bug where if a subscriber’s account was closed or suspended they wouldn’t disappear out of anyone’s subscriber lists.  Beginning in February, YouTube started working on trying to fix this issue, and apparently they still are.  😛

http://youtubecreator.blogspot.com/2012/05/update-on-subscriber-counts.html

Thus, if anyone has been dejected lately about “everyone unsubscribing to me” it may not be the case that their audience is truly abandoning them.  😛

Despite the lower numbers of course, I’m glad YouTube’s finally getting around to doing this.  First, there are some people who’ve been gaming the system that are long overdue for a rude awakening and being smacked off of their shady pedestals.  Secondly, just about everyone I know of on YouTube has had a massive discrepancy between their subscribers and actual video activity.  Usually the difference is one power of ten over, so people with thousands of subscribers get hundreds of views, tens of thousands get thousands, etc.  My channel’s the same way.  I allegedly have a few hundred subscribers but I’m lucky if my videos ever clear 50 views, except for huge outliers like my Play Some Schtuff video of My Fitness Coach on the Wii, but that’s something else altogether.  I knew the MFC video would do really well because it was filling a niche that back in 2009 hadn’t been filled.  I went looking for videos about the game and didn’t really find anything, so I figured I’d make one.  🙂  Nearly 55,000 views later…..  😀  Of course, 55k is a drop in a bucket, but then again, so’s the game in the world of exergaming.  That’s beside the point though.

Lastly, there are other factors that have no doubt led to the situation we’re in today.  First, YouTube itself is about 7 years old, so it has been around for awhile, so of course there’ll be inactive accounts just from that.  Then you have to factor in that there are other video sites out there these days, including more specialized video sites like Twitch.TV for gaming videos, so YouTube’s audience may have dropped a bit as other sites have gained viewers. Also, back when I was first getting started on YouTube the Great Recession hadn’t started yet.  What do people need to get really involved with YouTube?  Broadband.  What’s the state of broadband in America?  A royal mess, right along with the economy itself.  People have less money than before, so of course as people have had to back off on broadband YouTube might gain some inactive accounts that way.  All of this of course adds up to a problem that YouTube would have to address of course.  🙂

Also worth noting is the cold hard fact that if they didn’t address this problem now, they would have had to address it eventually.  YouTube has wound up having to work somewhat like a traditional media outfit where advertising revenue pays the bills, and you can’t exactly negotiate up on ad revenue because of a “larger audience” when your audience numbers are inflated.  😉  Some people like to forget that YouTube is essentially a business that up until Google bought them out didn’t have much in terms of a sustainable business plan, so it’s good that they’re taking steps like this to not cause a bigger mess down the road in terms of them being able to stay afloat financially.

Hopefully they don’t mess everything up.  🙂

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