YouTube’s intentional disconnect from its customers

So the other day a YouTube employee announced they are removing the private YouTube creator thread (used for many years by long-time Partners to have intelligent discussions) and posted this,

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 10.25.34 AM

After we gave our feedback, ytCheryl edited her post to remove the request for our opinions,

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 10.28.13 AM

Of course, unless you subscribe to that Google Product forum to receive email alerts from new posts (like I do) you’d never realize she edited her post. Fortunately I am able to show the original version of her post where she asked us to voice our opinions.

This is typical of Youtube. They ask us for our opinions, and when they don’t get the answer they expect, they pretend they never asked us for feedback in the first place. And this time it was unanimous that nobody wanted this change.

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 10.33.03 AM

This is my final post in the private Youtube Partner forum Iv’e belonged to for years, and that Youtube has decided to eliminate.

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 10.18.02 AM

Here’s the full copy ( since the image might be hard to read):
You know, one day you guys at Youtube are going to wake up and discover you’re not doing as well as you thought, and it will be solely because you stopped listening to the creators.
How can you ask us for our opinions on the forum staying open and then later change your post? We get these posts via email, you know? It’s not like you can hide that you originally said “Feel strongly that this one should still be alive? Let us know why! ” and then deleted it after we gave valid reasons for why it was a bad idea.
This is just like the Google+ integration. I, along with others, came to Youtube’s offices to give feedback on the proposed feature and changes, and when we voiced concerns they were basically ignored. When the beta for the feature became available and we voiced valid confusion and frustration over the changes, they were ignored.
And when the Youtube layout changes were implemented, we voiced disapproval for multiple valid reasons, but we were ignored.
And now Youtube has levels of complication that lead to INDIVIDUAL CHANNELS having less watch time and less views. Sure, if you’re being promoted on the front page or your channel is one of those that brand new users are forced to choose to subscribe to, you’re doing pretty damn well. But everyone else has seen dramatic drops in viewership. This is an ecosystem guys, and you’re burning down the rainforest. You don’t realize the damage you’re doing because the negative effects take a few years to kick in and you’re too busy looking at all the money you’ve made by tearing down trees (in this case, ignoring the majority of creators so you can focus on promoting the really big ones), but they are coming.
I’ve been using Youtube pretty much from the beginning. My oldest account is 2006. I’ve been a Partner since 2009. There are a huge number of critical problems with Youtube’s service, and you don’t recognize it because Youtube is currently able to leverage Google Search to ensure a reliable stream of world-wide traffic to the platform. But here’s what you’re not seeing; Google Search is going to be replaced by social networks engines, and Google+ is not one of them, because it has major design problems. It turns people off, that’s why the majority of people stay with Facebook. 
If you keep ignoring the professional creators who have been using your platform for years, you leave yourself vulnerable to competitors. No, I’m not talking about Vimeo or Dailymotion; it’s very clear they don’t have their act together either. But if I really wanted to create a video sharing site, I could do so very cheaply by leveraging MediaGoblin, or hell just use one of the many white label solutions. Maker went and bought blip, they might surprise everyone by making it better for creators. 
I know this post will likely be ignored, but you really shouldn’t ignore what I’m saying. History will vindicate my points to be correct. What I’m saying isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s a historical fact: when you blatantly ignore your customers they will leave for your competitors.
And Youtube creators are indeed your customers. They are the most important customer. Advertisers are trying to reach targeted demographics, not just anyone who happens to watch a video. What you’ve been doing to Youtube has depreciated its value to advertisers, and we as creators have to follow the money in order to keep our own businesses thriving. This relationship between creator and Youtube must be mutually beneficial, and right now it’s not. 
And whoever is the guy calling the shots at Youtube about ignoring the majority of creators while catering to the handful of rock stars, and just doing what you want after interpreting statistics to see the conclusion you want and ignore the writing on the wall, you will be held liable by Google’s shareholders when that new challenger appears who diverts all the quality creators away from Youtube’s platform. It will happen in the next two years if you persist down this path of ignoring creators to achieve short-term goals. Because in the changing online advertising world, you’ll come to realize you really did need all the creators you had in order to stay profitable. You couldn’t afford to lose any of them. But you lost our trust and we left, and won’t come back. Someone else who has no history of treating us poorly will get our business, and maintain it by providing all the things you hate to give: excellent customer support, control over ad inventory, email lists and co-branding tools to make collaboration easier. 
Youtube isn’t internet television. It is fundamentally still just a site designed for sharing home movies, and we creators have been trying to make do with that feature-set to create internet TV shows. But it’s not anywhere near optimized for television audiences. 
Maybe you don’t get what I’m saying right now and just think I’m saying ridiculous things out of frustration, but that’s not what I’m doing. I’m giving you one last chance to re-examine your current path. One more chance to correct the gross missteps Youtube has made that is driving creators away from the platform. 
In the past you’ve always ignored us, so I fully expect the usual silent treatment. But I guarantee by this time next year you’ll deeply regret having ignored us creators. You’ll regret having killed a forum like this through negligence. The actions you are taking is just encouraging creators to come up with solutions that don’t involve Youtube, and where Google ultimately won’t get a cent from them anymore.

 Carey Martell

CEO, Martell Brothers Studios

http://www.linkedin.com/pub/carey-martell/37/b20/9b4