Youtube has made changes to their policy–or, actually, they have made changes to their algorithm that has caused a higher number of “controversial” videos to be blocked from receiving ad revenue. Since I’ve spoken frequently about Youtube’s ad policy and the sickening way that Youtubers turn their viewers into commodities and sell them to advertisers, I’m going to give an anarcho-capitalist perspective on these changes.
Now, I shouldn’t have to say this (but evidently do–again), but no. If you are watching someone’s video and using an AdBlocker, you are NOT stealing from them. They do not have the right to sell you, and at no point while searching Youtube for videos will you ever be presented with a TOU that says “I agree to be sold as a commodity to advertisers.” Clicking play on a video does not mandate that you watch an ad, as many videos are ad-free (my own will always be ad free, of course), just as watching a show on TNT does not mean that you have to sit there and watch the commercial.
This was a battle that was fought when the DVR started making its rounds in home entertainment systems, and courts universally decided that consumers are not required to watch commercials, and that software that allows ads to be bypassed is acceptable, because no part of watching the content requires one to watch ads unrelated to the content. You do not enter into any kind of agreement by clicking Play on a video, except the agreement you have with yourself that you will watch the video for as long as you feel like watching it. Under no circumstances did you agree to let the channel owner sell you like a commodity to marketers.
Youtube is a free platform. We are not talking about you finding a way to watch videos on Netflix without paying. We are talking a platform that is 100% free. You CANNOT steal stuff that is given to you for FREE. That is the bottom line, and I dealt with that previously, when I first mentioned AdBlock Plus. There, a writer at a website was arguing that if you browsed his website with an Adblocker, you were literally stealing from them, and this little gem came just a few paragraphs after he explicitly said that his website had been serving free content for years.
It’s amazing how quickly people lose perspective when money becomes involved, and this is why I just do what I do, and have avenues there for people who want to give me money. I will be beholden to no one but myself, and I will not allow anyone to owe me anything. My work is, and will always be, 100% free (excluding novels, because a girl’s got to make a living, you know?). However, I would love nothing more than to be able to earn $3,000-$5,000 just through Anarchist Shemale, and would, at $5,000 a month, release all novels for free.
I will never sell you as a commodity, because you will never be a commodity. You will be a colleague, a comrade. You will never be a sheep who unwittingly signed their soul away to be sold to advertisers generally without your knowledge about what is happening, and I will never support someone who does this. If you are on Youtube and you want to make money, then Patreon is the only noble way for you to do it. Otherwise, you are treating your viewers like a commodity, and you are a disgusting toad.
Seeing as I’ve been running AdBlock Plus for so long, I couldn’t tell you what Youtubers run ads and what Youtubers don’t. But do not submit to their attempts to sell you, and do not let them browbeat you into selling yourself because they gave you something for free. Never forget that. They chose to create their video and upload it to a platform where it cost nothing for anyone to watch it. You owe them nothing for watching that video. They don’t owe you (unless they’re on Patreon and you’re a supporter, in which case they owe you content as they’ve described on their page), and you don’t owe them.
One last time: you cannot steal anything that is FREE.
You can’t steal intellectual property anyway.
Rights of Individuals –> Rights of Businesses
Now, I’ve extensively talked about how there is no such thing as a business or corporation, and how there are only people. This is true, but it is also true that sometimes people come together in groups and choose to act as a single entity, with one or a few people with the authority to make very large decisions that affect the whole group. Seeing as no one enters into such a group involuntarily, there’s nothing wrong with this, and it doesn’t mean the “entity” is real, or that the entity has rights. It doesn’t.
The people who are in charge of making such decisions, however, do have rights. The executives of Marking Firm A have entered into an arrangement with 170 other people, and the 160 people who aren’t executives have agreed to abide the decisions of the executives, and to enact the decisions of the executives. This creates the illusion of a single entity, but obviously the entity isn’t a real thing.
So these ten executives decide that the products their firm provides advertising for would be unhappy to learn that they are appearing on videos made by Killax_the_Raging_Racist, The Amazing Atheist, ThereIsNoGod666, and The Anarchist Shemale. Quite rightly, in fact, because I can’t imagine that Kleenex would be too happy to appear on one of my videos. So for Marking Firm A to keep its customers happy (Kleenex, Kelloggs, Quaker Oats, Downy Fabric Softener, and Apple, Inc.) happy, they decide that it’s best to contact Youtube and ensure that their ads don’t appear on controversial videos.
All well and good, right? Nothing untoward has happened. No one has done anything wrong. No one has committed an act of force, violence, or aggression. Individuals simply made a decision.
But Entitled Youtube Babies Got Whiny
Evidently, changes to Youtube’s algorithm as it searches for videos that are controversial has gotten better recently, and the result is that videos that once had ads… no longer do. The people who now do not have ads on their videos are screaming and crying about how it is censorship, how they are being told they have to change their content if they want ad money, and how it is blatant extortion and coercion. That sounds really fucked up, for sure.
It’s just too bad none of it is true.
No one who ever uploaded a video to Youtube was entitled to have ads appear on it. Whether ads appear on your video is, and has always been, solely up to Youtube’s discretion. Sometimes ads won’t appear for one reason or another and you can do nothing about it, and sometimes ads will appear for one reason or another, and you can’t do anything about it. This is because you voluntarily agreed to use Youtube’s platform, and in so doing you clicked through a number of EULAs and TOUs and you clicked “Accept” to all of them.
You agreed to Youtube’s terms of service.
This is an enormously different thing from consenting to state authority. For one, the state does use force, violence, and coercion. Youtube does not. Youtube has never forced someone to create content, coerced someone into using them, or inflicted violence on someone for not complying with their rules. As I began to point out to TylerPreston20 in a video that I never uploaded, Youtube is 100% voluntary. Absolutely nothing forces anyone to use Youtube. If you don’t want to submit to Youtube’s authority, you don’t have to. You can turn and walk away at any time.
“But we have employees! We’re a legit business now!”
You may be a business with employees now, but I hardly think you qualify as a legit business if you have all of your eggs in one single fucking basket like a retard. At no point in the past few years, did you stop to think, “Wait a minute… We have a lot on the line here, and we are totally at Youtube’s mercy… We should be doing something to try to establish some independence away from Youtube, so that we aren’t totally at their mercy”? If you didn’t, then you’re a fool.
Jim Sterling himself is a wonderful example of this. He went independent and is supported entirely by Patreon, and he makes more than $10,000 monthly doing it. Youtube can fuck right off and it won’t hurt his bottom line. Jim Sterling does not need Youtube. Jim Sterling is not at Youtube’s mercy. Jim Sterling is not a fool.
I cannot be swayed by your lack of thinking, planning, and foresight. You didn’t just put all your eggs in one basket; you put all your eggs in a basket that you didn’t even own.
Censorship, Coercion, and Extortion
It is only extortion if they have something of yours and are demanding something before they’ll give it back. Advertisers have nothing that belongs to you. As we cleared up earlier, advertisers have every right to determine what type of videos their ads will appear on, and they have sole discretion to determine that. The limit of your power here is to either make videos that comply with their criteria, or to not make videos that comply with their criteria.
If I tell you that I will only let you have sex with me if you learn to play the guitar, I am not extorting you, because you have no rightful claim to me in the first place. Even if I did let you have sex with me in the past, this implies nor suggests that I thereafter become your property, and that you continue to have the right to have sex with me. And that is what you are arguing here–that you have the right to continue running their ads, because you used to be able to run their ads. Fine. I used to be able to have sex with my ex-wife. Does that mean that I can still have sex with her–even if she says “No,” as the advertisers are now telling you?
Nor are you being censored. Goddamn, people are quick to scream and bitch about censorship. Honeybun, no one is censoring you. If they were editing your videos to make them compliant with their ad policies, then they would be censoring you. If they were lowering your search ranking because they don’t agree with you, then they would be censoring you. If they were deleting your videos unjustly because they don’t agree with you, then they would be censoring you. Please, cupcake… Please learn what censorship is.
I left coercion for last, because, in a way, yes, they are coercing you. But not really, because they aren’t punishing you for not complying. They are offering to reward you if you do comply. That’s a huge difference. If I said “I will only kiss you if you brush your teeth,” I wouldn’t be punishing you for not brushing your teeth; I would be offering you a reward if you did brush your teeth. This is an enormous difference, and far more significant than splitting hairs. Immense research has gone into what is more effective: offering rewards or threatening punishment. The basis of it is this, though: are you entitled to kiss me? If you are so entitled, then yes, withholding a kiss would be punishing you for not complying. If you are not entitled to kiss me, then I am offering you a reward for complying.
All three of these criticisms are dependent upon the idea that the youtuber is entitled to ad revenue.
You’re not entitled to commoditize your viewers and sell them to marketers.
You aren’t entitled to have videos on Youtube.
You aren’t entitled to monetize your videos by turning your viewers into assets and selling them to advertisers.
You aren’t entitled to be paid for content that you give away for free.
You aren’t entitled to force other people to do things they don’t want to do.
And that’s what it boils down to, really. You want to force them to continue running ads on your channel, even though they don’t want to and even though there are countless good reasons that they wouldn’t want to. Those 10 individuals who made the decision to not run ads on controversial videos? They have the right to make that decision. They have the right to not run ads on videos that they don’t want to run ads on. You unequivocally do NOT have the right to force them to run ads that they don’t want to run. They are not your property, and you are not entitled to them or their money.
Check yourself, sunshine. You’re an arrogant, entitled brat.