The grassroots campaign to #SaveYouTube rolls on
The YouTube community’s campaign to force the Google-owned company to address bugs and other site issues has continued into a second week.
The effort, called Save YouTube, has been minimally successful so far, though many say the company’s response is inadequate and more than a little insulting.
Starting on May 18, six-year YouTuber and teen heart throb Onision galvanised the community with a series of videos pointing out flaws on the video sharing site, and how they were negatively impacting top YouTubers, many of whom have millions of subscribers. He encouraged the community to make videos addressing the problems and to repeatedly tweet the hashtag #saveyoutube, which they have faithfully done to date.
YouTube originally denied many of the problems even existed. Now it’s gone silent. The YouTube Partners twitter account, for instance, which was very active in engaging the community’s concerns in the first week of the campaign, has stopped responding entirely.
The community has a litany of complaints, including the homepage layout and site redesign (known as Cosmic Panda), bugs that cause actual subscriber losses, monetization bugs, Google+ integration, and a recently rewritten related-videos algorithm.
The subscriber bug is similar to Twitter’s unfollow bug, in that it unfollows, or in this case unsubscribes, users without their knowledge or permission. YouTube initially claimed the bug did not exist, implying its users were “confused.” It later changed its mind in the face of overwhelming criticism.
Despite the setbacks, Onision seemed positive about the progress. In an email, he told the Daily Dot that progress has been made, especially in terms of Google+ integration and avatar selection, which he said were “two major issues I covered regarding new users to the site.”
He was less pleased with progress on the subscriber bug, however.
“YouTube continues to deny a problem exists despite the hundreds of statements/complaints I've gotten” Onision wrote. “In this I ask you, what is the next step if they are not willing to acknowledge the problem exists?”
William Hyde, a self-made YouTube journalist, thinks the problem lies in the disconnect between YouTube and Google, its parent company.
“It’s two different worlds,” said Hyde in a Skype conversation with the Daily Dot. “The YouTube team is great, and responsive, but the minute it gets out of the hands of that team...it’s obvious [there’s a disconnect].”
Some of Save YouTube’s agenda is pointless, Hyde said, especially criticisms of the homepage and other coding and layout issues. Hyde said the people who have the power to make those changes “are so far removed from the Partner community” and deep within Google’s layer that “they don’t care.”
If Hyde is correct, then Google’s apathy could wreak irreparable damage on YouTube.
Photo via Spricket24/YouTube