YouTube recently announced that it will be removing the links placed within the descriptions and channel page. This of course caused an uproar within the creator space, claiming that this move not only harms many creators who rely on the affiliate links but also can cut down the traffic to sponsored locations. YouTube claimed that the move was to protect the channels and viewers from harmful and spam links but, we’ll have to see how it will all shake out.
Already on your YouTube channel, you will notice those links you had added within the settings page that had been sitting in the lower right corner of the banner are gone. This was the perfect spot for promoting either your Discord server, a website, or a link to a sponsor page. Now though, those links are hidden behind a click. There is now what YouTube refers to as a prominent link just under your channel name, by clicking on it you’ll be directed to your About page in which the rest of your links are displayed. This move drops the ranking of your other links behind a click-on scroll (depending on your screen resolution).
YouTube’s reasoning for all of this is to combat the deluge of spam and scam linking found within YouTube Shorts. I can see how YouTube is placed behind a difficult decision in doing it this way but, I can’t stand with them as the effort of this is to just punish everyone. For a few bad actors who abused the system, it is now prudent for everyone to suffer the consequences of these few.
The big hit is coming to those who place Amazon affiliate links in the description of their videos. Linking to the products that they were probably showcasing within the video and giving their audience a path for purchasing said product that in turn provides a small amount of monetary support. Now that the support system is gone and the financial hit for many small channels will be severe. Another issue that I would like to bring up is for those of us who include source links or even a tracking link to perhaps a game's Steam page. All of these changes affect the links within Shorts videos but, if YouTube is taking this measure now. Who’s to say that sometime down the road they’ll also remove the links from live streams and regular videos?
For a private site, YouTube is completely free to do what they feel is right for the users on their site. This is the distinction in which for being the world’s video archive site, YouTube continues to dictate who or when content becomes more than its intention. The algorithm of YouTube is a very complex animal and just like many corporate-owned social media companies. The focus is on bringing as many eyes to the content within for the sole purpose of increasing ad numbers. Inherent ads are not a bad thing and done smartly, can lead to profits. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the number of ads is increasing. YouTube is also increasing its efforts in combating those who are trying to block said ads by blocking ad blockers. Among the other methods is giving those who are using blockers the ability to only view three videos before receiving a screen informing them of how they are not being a good steward of video watchers.
YouTube is throwing a major wrench into video playback for viewers who are using ad blockers. The company has confirmed to The Verge that it’s currently running “a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium.”
For many who are becoming more and more dissuaded by YouTube and its continuing march towards being the only source for video content, finding an alternative is increasingly difficult. There are places in which people can look into. Sites such as Peertube and Vimeo are just two people who can check out. For the open-source crowd, Peertube would be the ideal selection. This is if what you’re doing doesn’t need monetization as Peertube doesn’t have the audience reach of YouTube. Truthfully no other platform has that reach. Peertube fills the need of those in the open-source community as well as those looking for security-focused video storage platforms.
In the end, YouTube is the mighty elephant in the room that continues to feed the world’s obsession with being famous or gaining notoriety. There are those of us who use YouTube in trying to reach an audience in order to bring to light the option of alternative platforms. We have to use YouTube. We grudgingly go along with the decisions which are made and continue to be angry at being punished by those few who abuse the system as we collectively don’t have the backing to make true change for the better.