Not F'ing Ad-Friendly? You're F'ing Kidding Me, Right?

It must have come as an immense shock to YouTube "celebrities" that they cannot both eat their cake and have it. Imagine the poor darlings' surprise that ranting or joking into a video camera with a bunch of unsolicited views featuring a tirade of cursing is not exactly the type of thing an advertiser wants to be seen against.

You see, the more digital "celebrities" are held up to inspection, the more they appear to fail and the more they appear not to like it. We've had YouTubers and social media influencers being warned about taking money to promote goods without disclosing a financial relationship. Now we have YouTube saying those with a potty mouth will feature a warning, barring brands from inadvertently spending money with them.

The thing is traditional media, for us old dinosaurs involved training and perfecting our craft over many years rather than suddenly finding a niche in people liking someone who curses at politicians or makes odd cakes in a cup. In traditional media you are held up to certain standards, not only because it is only right and proper to portray the news in a professional, unbiased manner but also because our employers know there would be no ad money coming in if we just took an opinion and then spat out a stream of curses at anyone who disagrees.

Do not for one second think this is about free speech, as YouTubers who have been raking in the cash would like you to think. Far from it. This is all about brand safety. As media buying becomes increasingly mechanised, it has been all too easy for brands' money to go the way of popular YouTubers without the company having a clue what they are advertising alongside. The numbers look good, and it's the right demographic, so the ad gets bought. The trouble is, the ads can end up supporting the work of people who fall way short of the values the very same brand would expect, as standard, to enjoy from professional media outlets, both in traditional formats and digital.

So, well done, Google and YouTube. There has been a massive, accidental flow of advertising budget to self-elected smart pundits who do little more than trot out the same, typically extreme, view of the world accompanied by language that would make a sailor blush. The YouTubers have had it good because they have built an audience, so well done to them. The question is, do they want to carry on with their principles, of shouting expletives about real celebrities and politicians, or do they want to monetise that audience? There is a choice -- nobody is forcing them to stop, but if they want to make money they certainly need to desist.

For what's it's worth, my prediction is that some will carry on and take a stand against YouTube but many will fold. They will complain and make a lot of noise but expect the expletives to be dropped so they can do what they really set out to do all along. It's ultimately what any other media firm, is out there to do -- monetise an audience.

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