Content Creators Relieved by Susan Wojcicki's Departure From YouTube

Amrita Khalid
Amrita Khalid is a tech journalist based in Los Angeles, and has written for Quartz, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Inc. Magazine and number of other publications. She got her start in Washington, D.C., covering Congress for CQ-Roll Call. You can send tips or pitches to or reach out to her on Twitter at @askhalid.
Content Creators Relieved by Susan Wojcicki's Departure From YouTube

When YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki announced her departure from the world’s largest video platform in a letter to its employees last week, she also issued a separate note to its millions of creators.

“Today, the YouTube community is incredibly strong. You are building businesses and following your dreams,” wrote Wojcicki.

The company began splitting its ad revenue with creators since 2007, long before rivals like Instagram, Twitch and TikTok began offering five and six-figure payouts to its most popular users.

But many creators who spoke to dot.LA say they’re relieved that Wojcicki is making her exit, citing numerous policy changes under her nearly decade-long tenure that they feel ruined the platform’s culture and made it harder for creators to earn a living. Once a destination for homegrown content, many independent creators have long felt that YouTube has abandoned them in favor of the brands and legacy media companies.

Zac Morris, who has been running the horror history YouTube channel CZsWorld full-time since 2017, said, “as a horror content creator, nearly every policy and change introduced under Wojcicki has been tumultuous.”

According to Morris, Wojcicki’s philosophy seemed to favor the creation of new products and services instead of maintaining existing features citing YouTube Shorts as one example.

“It's hard to be excited about YouTube Shorts when most viewers claim that notifications still don't work, the caption editor is nearly impossible to use and the mobile app for creators is still missing key features,” said Morris.

While YouTube has invited Shorts creators to its paid Partners program, some say the additional revenue isn’t worth the amount of labor. Animator Terminal Montage noted on Twitter that a video he posted that had over 650,000 views earned just a total of $18.51 in revenue.

“Shorts seem like a good way to build an audience but as someone who has a community and also hires people to help me, Shorts don't seem worth it,” he tweeted.

Other creators felt that Wojcicki hadn’t done enough to change YouTube’s copyright claims process. YouTubers who use popular music and movie clips in their videos risk getting flagged by Google’s Content ID system, which regularly scans for copyrighted material. As such, users have been forced to take down their videos, shut down their accounts or cough up hefty settlements, thanks to the seemingly all-seeing system.

“I felt that YouTube’s soul left during Queen Susan’s reign,” said English YouTuber Vee3rdeye. YouTube’s removal of the dislike button last year — which Wojcicki argued would reduce bullying — took away “the public’s voice,” he said.

Some creators also felt that their own voices had been taken away in light of a platform-wide effort to purge the site of less wholesome content and curb online harassment. While creators admit that some measures were necessary to prevent YouTube from becoming a cesspool of Russian propaganda or medical misinformation, many believe the platform has gone too far. YouTube made a drastic shift to family-friendly content in 2017 to appeal to advertisers and tightened its advertiser-friendly content restrictions, which forced many creators to scrub their content or risk demonetization. Many creators were unable to “clean up” their offerings and went offline altogether.

“What was meant to prevent videos promoting terrorism turned into a policy where only the most squeaky-clean family-friendly creators could survive. YouTube is interesting because of its diversity of talent, so forcing everyone into the same tiny box of guidelines is a terrible move,” said Morris.

Creators who let out a swear word or two in a video may wake up to find out their channel had been demonetized. YouTube updated its profanity policy last November to include the thumbnail, title, and first seven seconds of a video. The new policy also treats all curse words equally (regardless of their severity) and applies retroactively. As Polygonreported, some creators found that YouTube flagged old videos for “limited ad revenue” or classified them as “age-restricted” after the profanity policy went into effect — despite the fact that the content was perfectly kosher when published.

For years, LGBT creators have criticized YouTube for restricting and demonetizing their content. “Under Susan’s ‘rule’, creators suffered. YouTube went from a golden age to an ad apocalypse where LGBT terms like “trans” or “transgender” would get your video (..demonetized or restricted),” said Matthew Lush, one of the earliest gay Youtubers.

Meanwhile, following the 2016 presidential election, YouTube became known as a hotbed for extremist content, misinformation, and propaganda. While YouTube doubled down on efforts to combat misinformation and online harassment, creators say the current atmosphere is less than inviting and that there’s still widespread uncertainty amongst creators about what kind of content is allowed on the platform.

“What was meant to prevent videos promoting terrorism turned into a policy where only the most squeaky-clean family-friendly creators could survive,” said Morris. “YouTube is interesting because of its diversity of talent, so forcing everyone into the same tiny box of guidelines is a terrible move.”

Wojcicki will be replaced by YouTube’s chief product officer Neal Mohan, whose division oversees YouTube’s many products, from Shorts to Gaming to Kids.

In interviews, Mohan has made clear that he doesn’t see YouTube as competing with other platforms for creators.“I would argue that all of these platforms, while they might seem similar in many ways, are fundamentally very, very different, but I actually think that’s great for creators because it gives them a diversity of options,” Mohan toldThe Verge.

That said, while some creators are hopeful that a new leader will usher in a new era for the platform, others have little faith in a platform it feels has long forgotten independent creators.

“I really hope the new CEO can return YouTube to its previous glory,” said Lush. “It’s clearly been copying TikTok and Instagram with Shorts in a desperate need to keep viewers. But I’m optimistic and I know that many creators would love to create content again.”

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“Millions of Dollars Completely Wasted”: Without Neuromarketing, Tech Firms’ Ads Get Lost in the Noise

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Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

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How Token and Tixr Plan To Take on Ticketmaster in L.A.

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Andria is the Social and Engagement Editor for dot.LA. She previously covered internet trends and pop culture for BuzzFeed, and has written for Insider, The Washington Post and the Motion Picture Association. She obtained her bachelor's in journalism from Auburn University and an M.S. in digital audience strategy from Arizona State University. In her free time, Andria can be found roaming LA's incredible food scene or lounging at the beach.

How Token and Tixr Plan To Take on Ticketmaster in L.A.
Evan Xie

When Taylor Swift announced her ‘Eras’ tour back in November, all hell broke loose.

Hundreds of thousands of dedicated Swifties — many of whom were verified for the presale — were disappointed when Ticketmaster failed to secure them tickets, or even allow them to peruse ticketing options.

But the Taylor Swift fiasco is just one of the latest in a long line of complaints against the ticketing behemoth. Ticketmaster has dominated the event and concert space since its merger with Live Nation in 2010 with very few challengers — until now.

Adam Jones, founder and CEO of Token, a fan-first commerce platform for events, said he has the platform and the tech ready to take it on. First and foremost, with Token, Jones is creating a system where there are no queues. In other words, fans know immediately which events are sold out and where.

“We come in very fortunate to have a modern, scalable tech stack that's not going to have all these outages or things being down,” Jones said. “That's step one. The other thing is we’re being aggressively transparent about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. So with the Taylor Swift thing…you would know in real time if you actually have a chance of getting the tickets.”

Here’s how it works: Users register for Token’s app and then purchase tickets to either an in-person event, or an event in the metaverse through Animal Concerts. The purchased ticket automatically shows up in the form of a mintable NFT, which can then be used toward merchandise purchases, other ticketed events or, Adams’s hope for the future — external rewards like airline travel. The more active a user is on the site, the more valuable their NFT becomes.

Ticketmaster has dominated the music industry for so long because of its association with big name artists. To compete, Token is working on gaining access to their own slew of popular artists. They recently entered into a partnership with Animal Concerts, a live and non-live event experiences platform that houses artists like Alicia Keys, Snoop Dogg and Robin Thicke.

“You'll see they do all the metaverse side of the house,” Jones said. “And we're going to be the [real-life] web3 sides of the house.”

In addition, Token prides itself on working with the artists selling on their platform to set up the best system for their fanbase, devoid of hefty prices and additional fees — something Ticketmaster users have often complained about. Jones believes where Ticketmaster fails, Token thrives. The app incentivizes users to share more data about their interests, venues and artists by operating on a kind of points system in the form of mintable NFTs.

“We can actually take the dataset and say there’s 100 million people in the globe that love Taylor Swift, so imagine she’s going on tour and we ask [the user], ‘Would you go to see her in Detroit?’ And imagine this place has 30,000 seats, but 100,000 people clicked ‘yes,’” he explained. “So you can actually inform the user before anything even happens, right? About what their options are and where to get it.”

Tixr, a Santa-Monica based ticketing app, was founded on the idea that modern ticketing platforms were “living in the legacy of the past.” They plan to attract users by offering them exclusive access to ticketed events that aren’t in Ticketmaster’s registry.

“It melts commerce that's beyond ticketing…to allow fans to experience and purchase things that don't necessarily have to do with tickets,” said Tixr CEO and Founder Robert Davari. “So merchandise, and experiences, and hospitality and stuff like that are all elegantly melded into this one, content driven interface.”

Tixr sells tickets to exclusive concerts like a Tyga performance at a night club in Arizona, general in-person festivals like ComplexCon, and partners with local vendors like The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach to sell tickets to the races. Plus, Davari said it’s equipped to handle high-demand, so customers aren’t spending hours waiting in digital queues.

Like Token, Tixr has also found success with a rewards program — in the form of fan marketing.

“There's nothing more powerful in the core of any event, brand, any live entertainment, [than] the community behind it,” Davari said. “So we build technology to empower those fans and to reward them for bringing their friends and spreading the word.”

Basically, if a user gets a friend to purchase tickets to an event, then the original user gets rewarded in the form of discounts or upgrades.

Coupled with their platforms’ ability to handle high-demand events, both Jones and Davari believe their platforms have what it takes to take on Ticketmaster. Expansion into the metaverse, they think, will also help even the playing field.

“So imagine you can't go to Taylor Swift,” Jones said. “What if you could purchase an exclusive to actually go to that exact same show over the metaverse? An artist’s whole world can expand past the stage itself.”

With the way ticketing for events works now, obviously not everyone always gets the exact price, venue or date they want. There are “winners and losers.” Jones’s hope is that by expanding beyond in-person events, there can be more winners.

“If there’s 100,000 people who want to go to one show and there's 37,000 seats, 70,000 are out,” he said. “You can't fight that. But what we can do is start to give them other opportunities to do things in a different way and actually still participate.”

Jones and Davari both teased that their platforms have some exciting developments in the works, but for now both Token and Tixr are set on making their own space within the industry.

“We simply want to advance this industry and make it more efficient and more pleasurable for fans to buy,” Davari said. “That's it.”