YouTube is Dead (How Google Killed It and the Dreams of YouTubers Worldwide)
I USED TO BE BIG ON YOUTUBE
Okay, well, not BIG big, like PewdiePie big, but pretty big, especially considering that I was working within the confines of what is colloquially known as “the YouTube fitness community”.
As Low Carb Cory, I grew my original YouTube channel to over 8,000 subscribers and was pulling in over $600 a month in Google AdSense revenue (from the ads that Google would show before and during my videos), before it was unceremoniously deleted for apparent violations of what are called YouTube’s “Community Guidelines” (which are basically really vague, open-to-the-interpretation-of-whichever-broke-intern-is-monitoring-videos-flagged-for-violations-today clubhouse rules).
After several months of what I would call undiagnosed clinical depression, spent struggling with what to do with my life, since the thing I loved the most (helping people through my YouTube videos) had been taken away from me, I decided to recreate my entire channel, which focuses on a specific weight loss tool known as intermittent fasting, from scratch. And when I say “from scratch”, I really mean from scratch, as in, I had to literally re-record all 150+ of my old videos from memory, as I’d never had a chance to save or download them before they’d been deleted by YouTube and it’s army of idiot interns who knew not what they were doing when they deleted them.
That new channel, which I started in 2012 under the name Respect the Vessel (which is now going by “Low Carb Cory a.k.a. Cory Groshek“), has since grown to nearly 17,000 subscribers and nearly 3 million video views, despite the fact that I operate within a very small niche within the “fitness community” and despite the fact that I haven’t recorded a new Low Carb Cory video since the year 2014 (which a plethora of my beloved YouTube trolls who are apparently quite upset about, even two years later, as evidenced by the fact that they continue to “thumbs down” any new YouTube videos I put up on my new Manifestation Machine YouTube channel within a minute of me uploading them).
And that really brings me to the point of this blog, which is really addressed to anyone who is still trying to make money with or earn money from what I would once have called a “traditional YouTube channel” (where you basically plug in a decent camera, hit record, hit stop, and then upload), or anyone thinking about doing so:
YOUTUBE IS DEAD
Let me say that again: YouTube. Is. Dead. And that’s why I don’t make videos for the Respect the Vessel channel anymore and why I never will again–at least not with the intent of earning a living from them. When I say it’s dead, I mean it’s dead to those of us who are great talkers, skilled video editors, extremely knowledgeable with regards to a particular subject or two, or who ooze charisma, but whose talent will never be appreciated by the “traditional job market”—so-called non-jobbers, as fitness YouTuber and philosopher Elliott Hulse would refer to them.
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Whereas YouTube was once fertile ground for the most creative “hidden gems” amongst us who saw YouTube as a way out of their shitty, 9-to-5 day jobs and a way to earn a living doing something they loved—whether it was entertaining or educating people, without the need to seek approval from some “higher power”—it is now a desolate wasteland, like some abandoned ghost town from AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Don’t believe me? Don’t have to take my word for it: Plenty of “big” YouTubers, including PewdiePie (the first YouTuber to reach the 50 Million Subscribers milestone)—who became famous solely because of, as he would put it, acting like a “retard” while playing video games on YouTube—and a handful of “smaller” YouTubers, have created videos on YouTube lamenting it’s fall, as though it (at least for them) were an event akin to the Fall of the Roman Empire. And I can’t blame them, because for them (and to a much lesser extent, people like me) YouTube was more than just a way to express ourselves creatively, or to give voice to opinions and commentary that would otherwise go unheard; it was the Holy Grail of opportunity. But now? It’s nothing but another arm of the corrupt mainstream media (MSM) and a cacophony of clickbait.
YOUTUBE HAS BECOME A COFFIN FULL OF CLICKBAIT
YouTube used to be full of entertaining and educational videos about things that we actually care about, but as Google, the publicly-traded parent company of YouTube, has become, over the last couple years, far more concerned with its “bottom line” (i.e.: generating a profit) than it is about making the world a better, more enjoyable place to live, it has become nothing more than a repository for the only type of content the company apparently feels makes money these days: Clickbait-y prank videos and fail videos…videos about celebrities who are essentially famous for being famous or for being Instagram whores…pointless and inane videos not intended to teach us anything, but rather to simply distract us long enough so that we might accidentally (or if we’re completely brain dead zombies, purposely) click the ads that are run before and during them.
Now, don’t get me wrong: It’s not just YouTube that is worshiping at the altar of the clickbait gods. Even so-called “legitimate”, mainstream media (MSM) websites are getting in on the action. I can’t even go to news site anymore without being bombarded with photos of nearly-nude women, Kim Kardashian’s big, fat ass, or some picture of some weird or exotic food that’s supposed to be the cure for everything that physically ails me. And I am fucking sick of it.
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Look, I get it, Google: You like money. You want to make money. But guess what? SO DO I. We ALL do. But the difference between me and you is that I actually want to help people and make the world a better place while I’m doing it. And the thing is, you could, too—quite easily, I might add, because you’ve done it before. You already know how—probably better than I ever will. And really, that’s what’s most disturbing/sad about whatever-the-hell-it-is that you changed recently about your YouTube-related “algorithm”, which ultimately decides which videos get seen, promoted, or pushed (as my overly bullish investor friends might say) “to the moon”.
You have obviously changed something about your algorithm in such a way that not only do old friends of mine, like Keith and Kevin Hodge (a.k.a. the Hodgetwins of the TwinMuscleWorkout channel), who literally QUIT THEIR DAY JOBS TO FOR YOU (to become “full-time YouTubers”) and who were wildly successful on YouTube until recently, have absolutely no way to compete with the clickbait bullshit you now sponsor, but people like me—people who are exponentially talented in ways that a traditional employer could never possibly appreciate—don’t even have a chance anymore.
Prior to the year 2016 (and although obviously a far cry from the $600+/month I used to make on YouTube), I was generating about $150-$180/month from the videos I still have on YouTube—not too shabby, if you ask me, for a guy who hadn’t made a new video for over a year—but as of January of 2016, I noticed the same thing that many much “bigger” YouTubers have noticed: An increase in the likes, dislikes, and shares of my videos (a major indicator that my videos are actually engaging people emotionally), coupled with a major drop in overall video views, a nonsensical loss of about 100 or subscribers anytime I’d upload any new video (which I eventually stopped doing, because who wants to lose subscribers every time they upload a new video, right?), and my YouTube-related AdSense revenue being cut in half.
For me, someone who wasn’t depending upon YouTube as my primary source of income, being cut from, say, $160/month in YouTube-generated revenue to $80/month, and seeing it take two months, as opposed to the one I’d been used to, for me to get a direct-deposit payment from Google (because they have a $100 threshold people with AdSense accounts must meet before they will be paid) didn’t affect me all that much…but for people like the Hodgetwins? It must have hurt them big-time. As for PewdiePie? Well, he is a multi-millionaire, and I’m quite sure he can “weather the storm”, so to say, and afford to “wait it out” while YouTube decides whether it will or won’t ever get its algorithmic shit together (which I doubt they ever will). Most every other YouTuber is not so fortunate, and may very well find themselves back at their old day jobs sooner than later, or in an unemployment line very soon.
HEAVEN IS FOR REAL…OR AT LEAST IT WAS
All I can do now is look back at what I call “the glory days” of YouTube as though they were some warm, fuzzy, sun-drenched utopia, where people like me, PewdiePie, and the Hodgetwins could, to borrow a term from pro wrestling/the WWE (which I am a lifelong fan of), “get over” (or, in other words, become extremely popular) with an enormous group of people who’d otherwise never even known we existed—a utopia that no longer exists, and which I can never get back, like the feeling of freedom and having the world at our fingertips that almost all of us probably associate with our childhood.
When you changed your algorithm, YouTube, you didn’t just take YouTubers’ video views and subscribers from them, you took their dreams. And then you threw them onto the floor, stomped on them as though they meant nothing to you (because apparently they didn’t, as it was always just about the money to you), and shattered them into a million tiny pieces, leaving wonderful and amazingly talented YouTube creators like CinnamonToastKen and Julia Graf (Embedded videos below, for your reference) to pick up the pieces and figure out what the fuck they’re supposed to do now.
And really, YouTube, what are they supposed to do now? Go get a “real job”, flipping burgers, busing tables, or sitting on their ass in a customer service call center for eight hours a day (like I did for a decade before YouTube gave me me a light at the end of the tunnel to pursue)? Have you no compassion for the people who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears—their hearts and their souls—into making videos for you for the last ten to fifteen years or so? Have you no empathy for the YouTubers that made your company what it is today?
If it wasn’t for people like me, collectively, companies like you wouldn’t exist. We are the heartbeat and the breath that gave life to YouTube. We, and not you, are the reason it’s been successful. Unfortunately, you probably won’t figure that out until every last one of your moneymakers, the “big” YouTubers who made YouTube a household name and the video juggernaut it is today, has left for “greener pastures”, such as perhaps Vimeo, TwitchTV or, if you don’t stop shitting where you eat while simultaneously taking food off your YouTubers tables, Facebook, or even Amazon.com.
GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDDANCE
So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, YouTube, I’m not coming back to you, no matter how many of the 17,000 subscribers or trolls I have beg me to, at least not in the way I used to be a part of you.
Sure, I may use you for advertising my new children’s book, ‘Breaking Away: Book One of the Rabylon Series’ (which, by the way, is available now on Kindle, as an Audible audio book, and in paperback), or to promote this amazing website of mine here, but I will never again dedicate myself, as I once did, to helping you make money off of my hard work and that of my friends, just so I can watch you buy some bullets with it and take us “out back”, behind the proverbial barn like Old Yeller.
Oh, how fervently I wish that in the heyday of YouTube that YouTubers big and small would have formed something akin to the player’s union that the National Football League (NFL) has, so that we could have all banded together to ensure that you wouldn’t have been able to do what you’ve just done without a fight, or at least without some kind of negotiation. Had YouTubers done that back in the day, they wouldn’t be where they are now, “holding the bag” (to lift another popular phrase from my investor friends)—a big, fat, empty bag—while you take your ill-begotten clickbait money to the bank, laughing all the way, and then return home to bathe in the blood, sweat, and tears of the men and women who have given their lives to YouTube for the last decade or longer.
HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS
In conclusion, for anyone reading this who is here because you legitimately enjoyed my Low Carb Cory videos, who donated to me, sent me questions and left me comments over the last four years, I love you and appreciate you (unlike YouTube/Google) for everything you’ve done for me, and for you helping me to become the man I am today. I couldn’t have done any of this—ManifestationMachine.com, my children’s book, etc.—without you.
For anyone out there considering starting a YouTube channel, my advice is simply this: Run–don’t walk–away, and don’t look back. There are far better companies out there that will actually appreciate and support you and your talent and nurture your creativity.
And for any existing or O.G. YouTubers reading this who are feeling the emotional and/or financially pain right now, the best advice I can give you (and really, you should have done this years ago) is to do what I’ve done with this site and my new book:
Look for ways to apply your God-given talents to other areas, other forms of media, other websites, etc. Whatever you do, do NOT pigeonhole yourselves into just being “YouTubers”. You’re better than that. And I know this, because I’ve been fortunate enough to watch both your rise and your fall on YouTube—and I believe in you, even if Google doesn’t.
R.I.P. YouTube (2005-2016)
Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here today! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!
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