I uploaded my first ever video to YouTube in 2006. This was around the same time that I started my professional blogging career and it was also around the time that I met John Chow for the first time. From what I can recall, I also had an account with the now defunct Google Video, as well as other video streaming platforms like Viddler and Vimeo. YouTube was not yet the undisputed king of online video just yet.
For years, I treated YouTube as simply a convenient place to share videos online. It was great that I could not only upload the videos there for free, but I could also embed the videos in blog posts. While we may take this kind of functionality for granted these days, it was groundbreaking technology at the time. Somewhere along the way, I qualified and applied for the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).
It’s through the YPP that YouTubers can monetize their videos and get a cut of the advertising revenue. Even though YouTube (and Google/Alphabet) is notoriously secretive about how those dollars and cents are doled out, getting something is infinitely more than getting nothing. I didn’t really take YouTube seriously for years, uploading videos sporadically as inspiration struck and opportunities arose.
Some of my videos got barely any views. Others, like a video of an animatronic Albert Einstein at the Consumer Electronics Show, racked up hundreds of thousands of views. Go figure. In the winter of 2016, I decided that I’d give weekly vlogging a go. It was just one grand experiment in what would happen if I was more consistent with the platform and developed more of a standard schedule and format.
The weekly vlogs generally don’t get a lot of views, but I did experience some of my fastest growth in terms of subscribers. The original plan was one year of weekly vlogs. When the Christmas 2017 and January 2018 rolled around, I had planned on taking a bit of a break. Then, YouTube decided to change the YPP rules on me.
The original requirements to get into the YouTube Partner Program were that you needed 10,000 lifetime views on your channel. With the changes, you need 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours (240,000 minutes) in the last 12 months. I did not satisfy those requirements and they said that they’d give a little bit of a grace period to catch up.
I didn’t catch up. So, I got kicked out and it felt like the end of the world. It was the apocalypse for YouTube small creators. Sort of.
So, instead of taking that break from vlogging that I was planning to do, I kept on trucking. I kept up with the weekly schedule. You see, I already satisfied the requirement for 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months by a reasonably comfortable margin, but I was about 100 subscribers shy of the 1,000 mark.
In the end, with my weekly vlogging and constant pushes for organic growth, it ended up taking several months before I cracked the 1,000 subscriber mark. And it felt good. So good.
There was some good news and some bad news at that point. The good news is that because I was previously accepted into the YouTube Partner Program, my re-application back into the program was automatic and soon as I met the new requirements. I didn’t have to do anything and the process got rolling on its own. That’s good.
On the day that I met the requirements, the monetization settings page said that I should hear back from them via email within a week. When I went to check again the next day, it said that I should get a response within a month. Apparently, the human workers at YouTube have been very, very busy dealing with a backlog of re-applications.
Eventually, it took right around three weeks to get the reply via email and my YouTube partner status was reinstated. From what I can gather, most of my original monetization settings were also re-enabled and the default settings were applied to everything newer than when I was booted out of the program. This required some manual review on my part as I dug through my library of over 500 videos.
And that’s about it. The re-monetization process really is pretty seamless and automatic. Now, I can’t say if it’d be the same if you were applying for YPP for the first time ever and whether YouTube prioritizes re-applications or new applicants. What I can say is that I’m happily enjoying my tens of cents from the revenue share.
Maybe it’s about time I explore more of those monetization alternatives to AdSense, eh?