YouTubers: the Good, the Bad and the Tana Mongeaus (2024)


YouTubers are a fascinating species, aren’t they? When I was in high school, Zoella’s career was just starting to take off, Smosh was still relevant and JoJo Siwa was probably still learning her ABCs. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to find a YouTuber with more than one million subscriptions that haven’t had a lovely controversy or two attached to their name.

I told my brother that I was writing an article on YouTube drama and his response was: ‘Let’s watch Jake Paul’s newest video. Don’t worry, I have ad-block on, he ain’t getting any money from my view.’ This got me thinking, when did YouTubers go from beloved role models to cashed-up, cringe-worthy 20-somethings? When did people start avoiding Youtube ads for the sole purpose of spiting Youtubers they dislike? YouTube used to be drama-free — a platform that encouraged creativity. Now it seems to be just clickbait and children’s toy videos.

Personally I believe all the drama really started to ramp up when advertising on Youtube became popular. In 2010–2011 Youtube display ads alone increased tenfold. Youtube isn’t very forthcoming with their ad revenue stats, but it’s estimated that their revenue has increased from $5.6 billion in 2013 to $14 billion in 2018, and is expected to increase to $24.7 billion in 2020.

Advertisers evidently love Youtube as a channel to distribute their media, but it isn’t a foolproof platform. What has now been labelled the ‘Youtube Adpocalypse’, in the beginning of 2017 advertisers began to boycott Youtube advertising due to algorithms that failed to identify appropriate content for advertisem*nts. In February of 2017, it was found that advertisem*nts were being displayed before extremist and hateful content. Youtube was quick to try to adjust their algorithm to please advertisers, however content creators suffered.

Initially, the new strict guidelines surrounding the demonetization of Youtube videos caused many Youtubers to lose significant amounts of ad revenue. Creators were not being notified why their content was being demonetised, so many were left confused and without answers. Thankfully, the wonderful thing about algorithms is that they learn over time, and YouTube was able to tweak their algorithms accordingly.

But here’s the little detail we’ve been missing. Naturally, the algorithm Youtube uses to suggest content to the audience is created to favour content with high ad revenue (amongst other things such as demographics and search history). So how do you create content that isn’t going to be demonetized and will be watched by millions you ask? Well, all you’ve got to do is find create some petty Youtuber drama, and make a video about it.

YouTubers: the Good, the Bad and the Tana Mongeaus (3)

Take Tana Mongeau for example. In the past year alone she has created the YouTuber convention’s equivalent of Fyre Festival, and married Jake Paul out of nowhere. What better way to create viral content then marrying one of Youtube’s most hated? Rather than working hard to create interesting and engaging content, some influencers seem to prefer creating controversy. If you know anything about this couple, you will be pleased to know that Mongeau’s 55 minutes long (yes, you read that right — 55 MINUTES) wedding vlog was demonetized. While Mongeau didn’t make money from ad revenue on this video, she did Livestream her wedding and charge viewers to watch. When all creativity fails, (allegedly) pretending to marry a man-child prevails.

As we saw earlier this year with the James Charles fiasco, drama can have a massive impact on YouTuber’s followers. Charles lost 3 million followers within a matter of days after Tati Westbrook posted a 40-minute video explaining why she was no longer friends with him. Just like Tana’s wedding vlog, both Tati and James’ videos released about this issue were demonetized. While I don’t believe this was a fabricated situation created for views, I do think that this situation could have been handled privately.

In both of these examples the videos were demonetized and couldn’t make any ad revenue so how are they relevant? Well, I’m glad you asked. Within every great Youtube, scandal lies countless, ad revenue-earning reaction and commentary videos surrounding the subject. Take a look at the screenshot below, notice the ‘up next’ video? This video had two advertisem*nts in it within the first five minutes alone!

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What was once a platform for creators to share their content with the world has become a multi-billion dollar advertising industry. Issues and events that used to be private, are now seen as potential sources of revenue. In desperate attempts to remain relevant and favoured by Youtube’s algorithms, Youtubers are almost being cornered forced to create drama and controversial (but not too controversial) content. On the other hand, other Youtubers are being encouraged to comment on the dramatic, clickbait-y content created by others for easy views and revenue.

While I have no issue with creators using their platform to make a living for themselves, I do however have an issue with Youtubers willing to turn their whole lives into clickbait for money. Youtubers alone aren’t to blame, we also need to look at the pressure Youtube and advertisers place on creators. Youtube has changed a lot from the simple, video sharing platform it started as, and it’s certainly going to be interesting to watch it continue to develop over the next few years, for better or for worse.

YouTubers: the Good, the Bad and the Tana Mongeaus (2024)
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