If you have a YouTube channel, you will have undoubtedly been contacted many times about joining a YouTube network. These networks are sometimes referred to as MCNs; which is an abbreviation of Mutli-Channel Network.
I am contacted on a regular basis by these Multi-Channel Networks asking if I want to sign up for them. They have contacted me directly through my blog contact page, via private message on YouTube, and by posting comments on my videos.
These large networks represent thousands of channels and their members range from small to large YouTube channels.
In my opinion, there is only one reason to join a YouTube network. I discuss this in the video below.
If you prefer to read my thoughts on this issue, keep on reading :)
What Do YouTube Networks Offer?
The default way of making money through YouTube is Google Adsense. When you join a YouTube network (MCN), you sign a legally binding contract with the network saying that for a defined period of time, they can gain access to your channel's data. You also agree that all of your revenue will flow through the network's Adsense account instead of your own.
In other words, the network takes a cut of your earnings. How much they take depends on the contract you sign.
In exchange for giving the network a cut of your earnings, they provide you with various video editing tools and services. Most of these tools are very basic in my opinion.
I have never understood why anyone would want to join a YouTube network. If you look at the monetisation room in the YouTube community YTtalk, you will see thousands of disgruntled YouTubers talking about the problems they are having with their MCN. Problems range from networks not paying the rates they promised, not providing good support, and not promoting their channel in any way.
One of the biggest problems is non payment. Despite the fact the YouTuber is doing 100% of the work, some channels pay late or just do not pay at all.
You may be wondering why anyone would join a YouTube network. I did too.
However, they remain popular.
SocialBlade has a list of the top 250 YouTube networks. The list shows how many members (YouTubers) each network has and the total number of subscribers and views of those members.
The numbers illustrate how popular networks are.
So Why Join a YouTube Network?
I have never had any reason to join a YouTube network. Google pays directly into my bank account every single month. Google take a 45% cut of the money I generate, but I do not have another party taking another 10 or 20 or 30 percent off that.
Despite taking a 45% cut, Google provide zero support. I cannot stress the word ZERO enough. Their support is non-existent.
I talked about this last week in my article “The YouTube Strike System Assumes You Are Guilty“. In the article (and video) I talk about the fact YouTube's system for flagging videos is completely flawed and assumed the YouTuber is guilty from the start.
When you receive a strike, YouTube not only removes the video, it also gives you a strike. If you receive three strikes, your channel is automatically deleted and you are not permitted to ever use YouTube again. You are punished for a single strike. I reviewed a screwdriver kit and someone said that I was being spammy and deceptive about it and due to this I am not allowed to live stream video for three months. The whole system is infuriatingly stupid.
Small and large channels are affected by this.
Eli the Computer Guy, who has over 825,000 YouTube subscribers, was punished multiple times for…well pretty much nothing. He had a video taken down and was not allowed to upload videos over 15 minutes for six months. If someone with close to one million subscribers can be treated in this way, what chance do less popular YouTubers like me have?
Eli had a discussion about this with Jerry Berg, who is more commonly known as Barnacules Nerdgasm.
Like me, Eli is not a member of a YouTube network. Jerry, who currently has over 900,000 subscribers, is a member of a network who takes 10% of his earnings.
Jerry explains that he does not use any of the tools or services his network provides. The only reason he uses them is to protect his channel from strikes.
Networks frequently have good contacts at YouTube. If one of Jerry's videos is flagged and taken down and his YouTube features are limited, it reduces the income Jerry makes. In turn, this reduces the income he generates for his network.
The network therefore has a vested interest in protecting his channel.
You can see Eli and Jerry discuss this issue around the 1:09:00 mark in the video below.
Jerry noted that his network were able to remove strikes against him quickly. In contrast, my attempts of speaking to Google about my strike has resulted in nothing but generic automated replies.
A Good Network Provides Security
In Jerry's opinion, a 10% cut is worth it as it protects his channel from getting strikes.
Networks proudly state that they will promote you and give you access to video tools and services, but the real reason for using a network is security. A network is like paying insurance. You may never need to use them, but they are there when you do face trouble.
The fact that the only way a YouTuber can be protected from others abusing the YouTube report system is to pay someone a large chunk of their earnings is frustrating. It illustrates how flawed the whole system is and highlights that something needs to change.
I am not sure at this point whether I would ever join a network or not, but I do at least now understand why others do.
Until YouTube fixes how they handle reported videos, you will have to pay a bribe to a Multi-Channel Network in order to get help and support on any YouTube channel related problems.
Thanks for reading.