Why I Quit YouTube

Last modified 2 years, 193 days ago

First of all, let me be clear, when I say “I quit” I mean that I’m no longer trying to run my channel as a business. I’ll more often post what I want when I want instead of trying to maintain consistency and follow what my audience wants (sorry).

There are many reasons behind this, all of which add to stress. I was getting to the point where I was in a constant state of distress caused by the schedule I’d dictated for myself that I wasn’t able to keep up with. I started getting physically ill from worrying about it, mainly for the reasons I mention last.

First, the majority of my subscribers are here for Kerbal Space Program only, and my interest in it has been declining slowly for a long time. On top of that, there was a never-ending stream of complaints about the Plane Reviews series; some legitimate, others not so much. I “know” better than to let that get to me, but there’s a big difference between intellectually knowing something and emotionally adhering to that knowledge (but that’s a whole other topic). Despite this, I do highly value that series, and want to continue it.

Related to those complaints were issues I and others had about my other types of videos. Sometimes I felt like I make a great video, spot-on, good quality, etc.. Much more often I was churning shit out just to keep consistency. Quantity over quality. Part of this was a calculated decision, part of it is just my own mistakes. And then there are the times where I have no desire to work on it..which is, again, another topic entirely.

Then I started getting legitimately too busy. I use that excuse a lot, and far too often “too busy” means watching a lot of YouTube and telling myself I’ll work later (procrastination is probably my biggest personal flaw), but then it started actually happening. And has kept happening for a while. For one example, if I wanted to make my channel all about programming, I have a lot of potential content, as I’ve been doing a lot of it.

There’s also personal health issues, some physical - most mental, and the need to get a job ever-increasing (I have $50 to my name right now, and will be spending at least half of that in the next two-three days, with almost no income to replace it).

But surprisingly, the biggest reason is YouTube itself. Not just because of my terrible procrastination habits, but the system just generally getting worse (at least for me..and a lot of others).

First it was ad revenue. I almost had monthly income before it took a dump and cut in half… And then again in half. Some of this is advertisers learning that these ads aren’t worth the money, some of it is self-inflicted (I don’t allow certain ads on my videos, that’s a story for another time though), and some of it is caused by people being outraged that ads are served against disturbing content.

Then, it was their anti-creator policies. Mainly I’m talking about the way DMCA takedowns are handled, and content ID - which have long been an issue - but it’s only more recently I’ve learned just how flawed they are. For example, even if you dispute an invalid claim, companies can steal the majority of your income. You can also lose your channel from one person claiming enough things that aren’t even theirs. I’ve seen channels die from this. I don’t want to become one, but I’m afraid I might. (Oh, and let’s not forget the new minimums they have for even having a partnership.)

The final straw was the new “suitability” measurement of videos, which is entirely automatic, with a farce of ‘manual review’ added on top to insult you. The system is obviously flawed. Videos with not one offensive thing in them are declared inappropriate while older videos that are almost bad enough I want to remove them are considered fine. Worse than random though, this seemed to be targeting the majority of my uploads, and took my already reduced-to-pennies revenue to almost another half of what it was.

So yeah, basically, I stressed myself out too much, paid too much attention to negative feedback, and then got fed up with how fucked up the system was getting. It seems a little better now, but the only way I’ll know if that’s true is if I upload more frequently again.

Originally published March 11, 2018

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