This is an important milestone as channels typically see a lot more growth once they have reached it because YouTube starts ranking videos higher. This has turned out to be true for me. Over the last two months I have increased my total number of subscribers by nearly 50%.
Unfortunately, I recently faced my first hurdle and got the first strike on my YouTube account.
Why I Received a Strike
Most YouTubers face a strike on their account at one point.
For many people, it is because they used copyrighted video clips or music. Others receive a strike because the content of their video was not favourable. For example, their video included racist material or promoted terrorism or something like that.
So what did I do to get punished by YouTube?
I bought a screwdriver kit from Amazon and reviewed it on my channel. I had pointed out that the kit was half the price of the iFixIt version and was probably the same kit under a different brand and in the comment area someone said that they had designed the original kit.
My video review was later flagged for being deceptive and was automatically removed. I appealed this decision and despite an ongoing appeal going on, my video was deleted just a few days later (the video review of the screwdriver kit that was removed was around 18 minutes long).
I explain what happened in detail in the video below.
The fact that someone can have their video removed and be punished for simply reviewing something they bought on Amazon is both mind boggling and scary.
I am investing a lot of time and money into my YouTube channel. It is a labour of love, but it scares me to think that my videos and channels can be taken away from me at any time for no reason.
The YouTube Strike System
The YouTube strike system presumes guilt for content creators.
I have one strike on my account now. If I receive three strikes, my account and my 400+ worth of videos are automatically deleted and I am not permitted to upload to any YouTube channel again. To say this is extreme is an understatement.
The frustrating part about all of this process is that there is no one to speak to at Google about it. They take 45% of all revenue generated through my videos and yet there is no one I can speak to on the phone and my many emails to them about this issue have gone unanswered. The only responses I have received have been automated.
When a YouTube channel receives a strike, their account becomes limited in some way.
So because I reviewed a screwdriver kit, I am not allowed to live stream through my account for three months. After three months the strike will expire and live streaming will be enabled again.
Without doubt, the punishment does not fit the crime (if you can call reviewing a screwdriver kit a crime).
To add insult to injury, a scammer who has had a vendetta against me since I published an article warning others not to do business with him has uploaded videos with my PayPal information on it. These videos claim I am a scammer and that I am a skinhead racist (I assume the scammer is claiming this because he is from Nigeria and I am a white Scottish man).
I reported both of these videos to YouTube as privacy violations and got told that they could not see anything wrong with these videos.
So to summarise, YouTube has limited my account and deleted one of my videos because I reviewed a screwdriver kit, yet they think it is OK for someone else to abuse me and publish private PayPal transactions from me for the world to see?
The whole situation is ludicrous.
Building a House of Cards
I love recording videos and publishing them on YouTube. It's a fantastic way to connect to people and for me it is a natural evolution of blogging.
Though this whole experience is concerning.
My concern is that I am building a house of cards that can be torn down at any time. I do appreciate that YouTube have to be pro-active against those who upload copyrighted material and hate videos, but their actions against me are very inconsistent. Additionally, the whole system is setup so that content creators are presumed to be guilty and then provide no way of arguing that standpoint.
Yes, there is a link that allows you to appeal the decision, however during the appeal I have received no contact from YouTube and the video I am trying to protect has since been deleted. If the video has been deleted, how am I supposed to defend myself?
I have always been reluctant to invest time and money and energy into building a product on someone else's platform as you have no control over what happens. The problem is that there is no alternative to YouTube in the market. If you want to find an audience online with videos, YouTube is the place to go.
Hopefully a positive outcome can come from all of this, but at this point I am not confident that will happen.