During the YouTube Music Awards, the Trichordist ran a series of YouTube videos that are the kind you never see promoted by YouTube–the ones that tell kids how to shoot crack, for example. We also ran with a post on four of these videos (“@chevrolet and YouTube Monetize DIY Drug Addict Instruction Videos“).
The videos were entitled “How I Inject Testosterone”, “How to Cook Crack,” “Shooting Up Morphine and Oxycontin” and “Shooting Up Dilaudid.” All were monetized.
Repeat: All were monetized.
Today, YouTube pulled down three of the four. Here are screenshots of the three they removed:
Notice that in the upper right hand corner of the linked videos you see the word “FEATURED”. This is a low end promotional campaign usually paid for by the user, apparently on the basis of keywords in the user-generated video title. “How to Cook Crack” was sponsored by National Geographic to promote their TV show “Drugs, Inc.” Tragically, “Shooting Up Morphine and Oxycontin” was promoted by the Minnesota Department of Health to feature a video about drug addiction from the people who try to help addicts. “Shooting Up Dilaudid” was sponsored by the Canadian TV program Intervention Canada. Again, a show about helping addicts being used to sponsor a video demonstrating how to inject the drug Dilaudid.
But YouTube did not take down the fourth video “How I Inject Testosterone”. Why not?
Aside from the general level of debasement that would permit anyone to show these videos in an online video emporium targeted to kids, this selection of which videos to delete demonstrates another inconvenient truth.
When I spotted the “How Do I Inject Testosterone” video it looked like this:
Notice: There are three paid ads here. The first is the pre-roll ad for Chevrolet. Yes, that’s right. Government Motors paid your tax dollars to promote “How I Inject Testosterone”. The next ad is from The CPAP Shop (CPAP machines are medical devices that are used to treat sleep apnea). The third “featured video” is on “How to Use Steroids”.
Today when I looked at the video on YouTube, it looked like this:
That’s right, Google is serving an ad for Tiffany Alvord and “Disney Side” next to “How I Inject Testosterone”. Tiffany Alvord is a “YouTube star”–and this is how YouTube cultivates her image?
So YouTube took down the sleazy videos that they could only sell cheap user generated video promotions against, but kept the video that–for some unimaginable reason–was acceptable for the more profitable pre-roll videos for an artist who no doubt has no idea her name, likeness and music are being sold to promote a DIY video on injecting testosterone. Very likely illegal testosterone.
At first, it would appear that YouTube was “doing the right thing” by taking down these sleazy videos. But given that the fourth video attracted more profitable advertising, they were not doing the right thing at all. They were doing the thing that made more money for them.
Artists participating in the YouTube Music Awards–and all other artists who participate in YouTube–need to understand this. These people do not care about you at all and will use you to sell anything–literally anything.
This also demonstrates yet again how Google has put a product into service with a major design defect. You simply cannot operate YouTube under the current set of rules because there will be tens of thousands of examples like these if not more.
But unfortunately it also demonstrates that advertisers will be duped and ripped off again and again until they demand accountability.
Try watching this video on YouTube to see what ad they will serve up next from some other unwitting artist or advertiser.