Saturday, December 28, 2019

YouTube Monetizes YouTube

-Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay-

This is a weekly column consisting of letters to my perspicacious progeny. I write letters to my grandchildren (who exist), and my great-grandchildren (who don't) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups or I'm deleted.
Warning: This column is rated SSC — Sexy Seasoned Citizens — Perusal by kids, callowyutes, and/or grups may result in a debilitating intersectional triggering



Erratically Appearing Hallucinatory Guest Star: Dana — A Gentlerreader

"YouTube is the hippest network, and they abuse copyright right and left." 

Dear (eventual) Grandstickies & Great-Grandstickies (& Gentlereaders),

From what I can tell from my exhaustive research—my normal 3 to 5 minutes of in-depth web surfing via YouTube's owner, the Goog—YouTube starting monetizing YouTube sometime back in 2018.

I don't know if they saved, um, demographically and economically challenged areas of the USA like mine till now or they just got tired of me rejecting their offer to sign me up for YouTube premium.

Regardless, in the good old days, having to watch a commercial for a few seconds before I could choose to opt-out seemed more than fair, in fact, downright cutting edge cool, almost woke...

X39!@GRa13$, Chief Algorithmite, YouTube Division, speaks:

"We hate to risk offending your delicate sensibilities, and once upon a time even we used to claim that 'information wants to be free' with a straight face, but would you mind taking a few seconds to determine if this advert is something you might be interested in?

We realize you're in a hurry to watch some cute kitty videos as well as all the copyrighted content posted by people claiming fair use so that they (and of course us, your benevolent supplier of free software and services) can make money from other people's work." 

Now, having lived long enough to confirm that there really is no such thing as a free lunch, I didn't even mind when they started running a single, 15-second mandatory commercial at the start of some videos.

A small price to pay for a free product.

YouTube Monetizes YouTube
Recently, adverts, often slick and professionally produced, have begun popping up at random when I'm watching something on YouTube.

I don't have a problem with advertising per se, the no free lunch thing again. While I confess to having downloaded, and use, an app from DuckDuckGo that lets me selectively block ads, I use it, well, selectively.

Being a current events junkie, freak actually, I access a bunch of carefully chosen sites on a daily basis to get my fix. On all but one, The Wall Street Journal (I pay a hefty subscription fee) I submit myself to advertising. I don't think that I'm entitled to view someone's hard work for free.

I have it set to block ads for all the random sites that I stumble on. This is because the app has made me aware that beyond the minor annoyance of ads there are potentially dozens of Botmonsters, Data Dragons, and Algorithmites (trackers) anxious to report every click and keystroke back to headquarters.

Any site that has become one of my regulars will find my blocker turned off. I know, I know, it's screaming into the wind. The sites that I leave it turned off for are gleefully hoovering up as much data as they can and selling it to the highest bidder.

But denying a bit of ad revenue to the Goog provides the illusion of privacy and control and there's a lesson to be gleaned here about getting what you're willing to pay for—real journalism created by real journalists—as opposed to what you get when you're not willing to pay anything at all.

The reason I'm on about YouTube monetizing YouTube is because of the clumsy and heavy-handed way they've gone about it (unusual for the Goog I know, but still...).

Are they tone deaf? Are they oblivious? Are they trying to sell subscriptions?

A highly placed aid to X39!@GRa13$, who spoke to me on the condition that it remains anonymous, claims that at best YouTube breaks even and that the Goog would prefer it to be another big fat profit generator.

Of course, you could make an argument that given how much money the Goog makes selling our data without cutting us in that a service that breaks even is shrewd public relations.

But this column isn't about that so I won't bring it up.

[Clumsy and heavy-handed, remember? Nudge, nudge...]

Right! Thanks, Dana. The Goog is using what I call the 8-track system to randomly place ads within a given video. The logic seems to be, let's not just place more ads let's do it the most annoying way possible.

[What's the 8-track...]

Follow the link. Long story short, picture a hooge plastic box of pre-recorded music that every so often, usually in the middle of a song, pauses, makes a loud CLICK-CLICK noise and then resumes playing.

Cutting edge tech for playing music in your ride... in the late 1960s.

Fast forward (which you usually couldn't do with an 8-track player) to the late 2010s and now we have the Goog inserting commercials, at random, into a given video.

"So tell us, professor Einstein, what thought was the seed that led eventually to the theory of General Relativity, and what... "

"Hey there, I'm just driving to my new house in Palm Springs in my new Ferrari. How would you like to be as rich as me without having to leave your house?" All ya gotta do... "

The 8-track system. Hoo-boy.

Poppa loves you,
Have an OK day

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Cranky don't tweet.


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