On Monday, the YouTube Channels Team wrote in an official blog post that users would have until March 7 to switch over to YouTube’s new channel layout before being automatically assigned one. The post has since been removed, which made the first, now-deleted comment somewhat prophetic:
"[A] shit storm is coming."
YouTubers have loudly protested the redesign, known as Cosmic Panda, since the changes were first announced last year. But the blog post, which was presumably deleted due to the overwhelming negative comments, has galvanized the community to speak out about the changes once more.
Zanaelf explains in her protest video that the new YouTube “limits freedom of creativity” and questions YouTube’s practice of blatantly ignoring its “customers” wishes. In his video “protest against new channel backgrounds!,” tillyismyfatcat goes into detail into the negatives of the new channel layouts, comparing the current grumbling and protest with what occurred when YouTube updated from its beta site.
There are dozens of similar videos uploaded recently, though the protest against the new channel layouts goes back several weeks—if not months.
Longtime user thomrock opened his Dec. 9 video, “The END OF YOUTUBE!!!- The NEW LAYOUT will KILL it”, by stating “The new YouTube doesn’t want you anymore.” His last YouTube video, from Jan 20, states he is moving over to ZippCast, a video-sharing site with a similar layout to YouTube’s original design.
Likewise, a video from TheSimpsonsWorld on the matter claims YouTubers have already left the site and moved over to ZippCast. Dated Dec. 15, the video also calls for a mass boycott in March, while the new protest channel OldChannelProject prompts users to “take a stand and fight back.”
The most common comment in the Google forums about the new layouts is anguish over YouTube ignoring the community’s feedback about the new layouts; and the deletion of the blog post certainly gives credence to that claim. YouTube did not respond to a request for comment.
One YouTuber, commenting on the Google forums as FoolofTheGods, included the company’s “patronizing” response to his or her complaint about the new changes:
“The current period of user adjustment is expected to transition in roughly six months to ten month, during which time the parent company expects a number of individuals to revoke their accounts, as is their right, however this will not amount to any significant number, and will be more than compensated for by the growing new membership, attracted by fresh format and user friendly design. YouTube is a business, and as such it has to make commercial decisions, it is not necessary for these to be popular or understood, just for them to increase the number and volume of the revenue streams.”
FooloftheGods response? “In other words folks our opinions and views don't count unless we make an impact on their bottom line.Time to remind them that 'we are the 99%'.”
Besides videos and forum comments, YouTubers are also signing the Stop YouTube’s new layout “Cosmic Panda” petition, which at press time had gathered 845 signatures. YouTubers are also urging each other to fax or mail YouTube headquarters.
The question remains: On a platform where everyone has their own soapbox, can the community come together and make enough noise to finally be heard?
Photo by Joe Wolf