YouTube has undergone a lot of changes over the past few months, from a new design to the launch of new professionally-produced content channels and more, but at what cost? Many of the most popular YouTubers have reported that since YouTube has started rolling out these new “upgrades” their subscribers, view counts and overall satisfaction with YouTube has been declining…big time.
Over the past week or so, YouTuber Onision has emerged as something of a voice for the YouTube partners that are suffering losses in viewership and subscribers, starting with a post he wrote on Crovati.com. He writes:
“Since the big layout change in recent months, I have noticed an incredibly depressing viewership shift on YouTube. This shift has caused various well-known YouTubers to experience a major decline in views (often losing half their expected audience, per video, if not more) despite them being consistent with the quality of content they produce.”
The Crovati post was paired with a video that Onision posted the same day, ‘ATTENTION: @YOUTUBE STAFF #SaveYouTube’, in which he talks about how “YouTube is very, very unfair.” He explains that it has gotten much more difficult for new video creators to achieve success on the video site, as well as how it has become harder for veteran YouTubers to maintain their success. He says, “I fear that we’re all doomed.”
One of the biggest issues that Onision brings up is that YouTubers (and especially top YouTubers) are losing subscribers in massive numbers. He points to a VidStatsX chart of the ‘Top 100 Highest Subscriber Losses in the Last 7 Days’, which is led by some of YouTube’s biggest stars, with Fred at a loss of 138,008 followed by nigahiga with 98,462 and ShaneDawsonTV with 94,373.
Now, it should be pointed out here that earlier this month YouTube posted the following ‘update on subscriber counts’ on the YouTube Creator blog:
“Over the past couple weeks, we’ve heard from creators who have seen decreases in their public subscriber counts, so we wanted to keep you in the loop about what to expect on your channel.
“This February, we began a process to improve the accuracy of subscriber counts, to give you the best data possible on your channel. Recently, we’ve extended this process by removing additional closed and inactive accounts from our system, which means these closed accounts are being deducted from subscriber counts. None of the accounts we’re removing from our system are active, so these changes to subscriber counts will not cause any change in viewership.”
However, in his most recent video on the matter, Onision reports that what YouTube claims is, in fact, not the case. He says, “YouTube decided that it was best to start removing ‘dead accounts.’ The problem is that I’m getting tons of reports that YouTube is actually automatically unsubscribing ‘active accounts.’” In addition, he reports that he’s been noticing a steep decline in channel views for big YouTubers as well.
Onision is not the only one to notice something strange going on. Back in March, MysteryGuitarMan reported that his YouTube views dropped 60 percent after the redesign. The question is, is the drop in views connected to the unsubscribed users or is it simply due to the homepage redesign? And what do YouTubers want YouTube to do to fix the problem?
Twitter is currently seeing a constant stream of #SaveYouTube tweets, as YouTube creators and viewers alike rally against the mighty force that is YouTube. One user tweets, “YouTube is turning into Myspace. Views are declining, and thousands are leaving. Google is killing YouTube for money.” Cory Williams of SMPfilms tweets, “Some of you may not understand what #SaveYouTube is really about but you will when your favorite YouTubers are gone. It’s serious.”
With all the effort they’re putting into their new professionally produced content channels, is YouTube neglecting their old partners? What do you think? And what do you think should be done about this mess? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Update: Fruzsina Eordogh of The Daily Dot points out that a subscriber glitch seems to have been messing with YouTubers’ subscriber counts for the last couple of months now. This could have something to do with the recent drop-offs. Fruzsina reported on this bug last month.
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.