YouTube’s Ad Crisis : What is the solution?

YouTube is a part of Google and their ad crisis is rooted in an outdated media tradition. Interruption is the modus operandi of modern media. Newspaper, Radio, Television and the Internet have used a system where content and ads are always coupled, next to each other.  In the middle of a newspaper page is an ad. You may have to thumb through full pages of ads before reaching an article in a newspaper.

A favourite song on the radio dissappears and a commercial blares through the radio. We open a webpage and it’s littered with banners, cluttering up the screen.

Play a video and there’s some ad that will interrupt getting to what you want to see.

The crisis started in Europe when the placement of ads next to hate content became untolerable for brands.  Firms pulled massive amounts of ad spending from YouTube and Google’s stock suffered as a result dropping  $25 billion during that week in March 2017, and was subsequently downgraded by analysts as reported by CNBC and other mainstream outlets.

Google responded to the crisis by trying to fix the unfixable for them.  Proof that it wasn’t fixable is the side effect of alienating and demonetizing their content creators.

The tinerking caused legitimate YouTube creators, mainly political in nature, to lose their revenue streams from YouTube.

This became an “existential crisis” for YouTube creators. What started as an advertising problem has now morphed into accusations of suppression of freedom of speech.

YouTube is routinely chastised and rightly so in many political videos that I’ve personally viewed.  The content creators have been demonetized without any warning. Suspicion of Google’s motives is a natural reaction due to their opaque response.

Google’s problem is systemic. Their historical momentum won’t let them solve the problem easily. Google has done great work, but human nature in large corporations is to stick with the status quo. They have tried to tinker with their model instead of addressing the real cause.

You can’t keep ads and objectionable content apart unless you keep all ads and content apart. The only solution is to decouple the ads and the content.  This requires a complete re-engineering of the modern concept of an ad exchange.


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