I've had a YouTube Channel for many years. At last count there were 595 videos with views ranging from approaching half a million, to some with a handful. My YouTube Channel was suspended and deleted. The shock when I realised it wasn't a scam was indescribable.
My 5 key suggested Next Steps and Actions are at the end of this Blog.
I have also shared the final outcome and reason for the deletion.
My YouTube Channel and All 595 Videos Deleted
Two weeks ago I flew home from teaching at a Retreat abroad and saw what looked like a phishing email telling me my YouTube Channel had been closed down. It was an unprofessional looking email so I rolled my eyes and scrolled along having been right royally scammed following a very slick looking operation on Facebook a few months ago, and followed the advice of my bank not to click on random links unless you are sure of the sender.
That day I was sending a client a link and noticed the embedded YouTube client testimonial video on my website was greyed out.
I clicked on the link and below is the message I got: 'This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been closed.'
I immediately went back to the email, but rather than click on the link I went straight to my YouTube channel to check directly from there.
There was no channel. Just a message saying it had been suspended.
I, and I imagine many entrepreneurs have got hundreds of YouTube videos embedded across our Websites, Blogs, and various social media channels. All of them were now greyed out and displaying the same 'closed' message when clicked.
Wall of Silence
I filled in the first form on 11th November.
A whole week went by. Nada. Nothing. Zero. I searched and filled out several forms again. No response from anyone, and no reinstatement of my channel or hundreds of videos.
I was and still am completely confused and dumbfounded. In all the time I've had my channel I rarely if ever have any thumbs down and dislikes, and never to my knowledge had any complaints. I even have the stats to prove it because I (used to) receive daily reports about my YouTube Channel:
As you can see, the subscribers were steadily growing, as were the number of likes, views, and and shares.
My YouTube Office Visit
On 18th November I was delivering a talk at my Private Members Club in London so decided detour and pay the YouTube office a visit.
They wouldn't let me in but someone spoke to me via their intercom then decided it would be easier to come out and talk to me. It was a nice polite and even fun conversation. He explained he wasn't part of the technical team but would pass my letter on to someone he knew.
YouTube's Somewhat Hostile Response
Four days later, and 12 days after I completed the online forms I received an email. It was basically a canned response which told me nothing more than I had seen online however there was a 'PS' at the end which read:
"Please also note that while we enjoy engaging with our amazing creators and helping them grow, our creator support team actually only works over chat and email channels. In the future, please refrain from visiting our offices to address matters related to your account. There is no one at the YouTube office better suited and trained to handle your concerns than myself and my team. I appreciate your understanding."
If someone had taken the time to "handle my concerns" as they allude to in their response, I wouldn't have been left with no alternative but to travel to their offices.
Do You Realise there is No Customer Service?
What I do find very interesting as I observe this whole scenario is that people are immediately up in arms if they can't get hold of a customer service department for say their phone, ISP, or a problem with their grocery shopping, however here we all are, with billions being spent by consumers on platforms such as YouTube, Google, Facebook, Instagram etc, yet as a regular consumer there is no customer service.
Press 1 for Nothing . . . . Press 5 for More of the Same . . . .
I went as far as calling their offices in San Francisco, and although there are 5 options on the automated switchboard, every single one of them points you back to their so-called online help forum where you go around in the same faceless cyber circles.
Google Insiders Spilling the Beans about Banning and Blocking Spiritual Sites
I'm not a fan of conspiracy theory and stories about the way the masses are being controlled by 'Big Brother' however there is no ignoring the fact there's an online and media cartel which pretty much control everything.
It is a nearly impossible task to recover all 595 videos for the reasons already stated, plus it took many years to build up those views and subscribers.
Blocking, Shadow Banning and Deleting of YouTube Channels
This is just one of the discussions had since I publicly shared what happened to me:
"A person that worked for Google came out and released what they were banning/blocking/censoring."
Worried Business Entrepreneurs and Business Owners
I've now also started to receive messages from worried and scared business owners who are now, quite rightly so, worried about their own YouTube channels.
My friends always roll their eyes and laugh at how joyfully optimistic I am and the fact I will always try and look for an alternative explanation or give someone the benefit of the doubt. This time, even I've got nothing good to say.
Problems with Google - They Apparently Aren't Related . . . .
Although the woman at the Google desk in London was quick to point out they had nothing to do with YouTube I have now started to have trouble with the verification of my Google account.
David and Goliath
How does someone like me deal with YouTube and Google and get this sorted out? It has been made perfectly clear that if they want to wipe out a massive proportion of my work and online presence, they can.
Google can bury this Blog for example if people don't like and share it.
And I'll be honest that is a somewhat scary thought, because Google 'is' basically the internet. It's like telling your boss what for, then expecting to have a job in the morning, however I can't in good conscience stand by and watch other people potentially fall into to same trap.
When I went to share this Blog, the Google page came back with an error which means it can't be published. If I do find myself being shadow banned, I will update you via my eNewsletter List as and when I get further information.
My suggestion if you trusted YouTube like I did, and use it as a storehouse for your videos and as a form of video hosting is to make alternative plans.
Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
There's an old saying about not putting all your eggs in one basket. I have sadly found out the hard way how true this is.
Over the years I had even gotten into the habit of uploading videos to YouTube then deleting them off my device because I was under the very mistaken illusion they were 'safe' there and available whenever I needed them.
Start Looking for Alternatives
Unfortunately YouTube is the platform of choice for videos however given what is happening to me I would say now is a good time to start looking at alternatives.
Other Video Platforms to Consider
The first one that comes to mind is Vimeo which has both a free and paid service.
A couple more which tend to offer integration with other platforms are Wistia and vooPlayer.
The downside however with VooPlayer is I was relying on videos I had hosted on YouTube in order to save on storage, so if you use it, upload to them directly.
Because I deliver a lot of online Workshops and virtual Training Courses I already have a number of video hosting platforms. They tend to be closed platforms, available only to those who have booked onto an Online Workshop, however they do offer scope for uploading open source videos as well so I will be making more use of that.
I use BigMarker when running my Online Workshops. You can try out one of the open videos here and let me know how you get on. You shouldn't have to register to watch it. TranceFormation Program Intro: https://www.bigmarker.com/tranceformations-tm/TranceFormation-Program-Intro-Webinar
My first Vimeo test using an old video is below.
Follow the Journey
If you want to follow this drama and saga I will add further details here as they unfold so bookmark this page or share and save the link.
If you've read this far, first of all "Thank you", and you might like me be wondering why this has happened. All I can tell you is what I keep seeing as I go round in cyber circles which is it goes against 'community standards.' As I read a bit more I've seen people talk about copyright issues with music. I film a lot of buskers and street musicians, so the only semi-logical thing I can think of is that, however, given YouTube is a music channel, that wouldn't make any sense either so nope, I got nothin' except the Big Brother theories to go on.
YouTube New Terms of Service
The murmurings of various things going on were there. If the post is still up, this article from Mashable also makes for interesting reading. They talk about YouTube channels being deleted if YouTube no longer deems them to be commercially viable for them:
I would also fit into the category because I've only ever dabbled in advertising because there's an art to it if you don't want to just line up and throw your money away.
Share this and Tell Your YouTube Channel 'Owner' Friends
Please share this Blog if you have friends, clients or contacts who have a YouTube channel and are blissfully unaware of what could happen to their hard work, blood, sweat and tears overnight.
Entrepreneurship and life itself is hard enough without having to go through things like this, particularly if your business or livelihood depends upon it.
Suicide and Entrepreneurship
Suicide rates among entrepreneurs is sadly on the rise; I started January of this year attending the funeral of a 'least likely to do something like that' friend. Gary Vaynerchuk often talks about this topic, and I've got several articles on my Blog because it is where my journey as a Coach and Therapist started back in October 2000.
I was saying to a friend yesterday that if someone were already going through a tough time, suffering the effects of Brexit and the unstable economic climate, or even dealing with family or personal challenges, this whole scenario could be the straw that breaks the camels back because it is hard to sit back and watch a good decade+ worth of work (in my case) go down the drain whilst facing the somewhat insurmountable task and cost of finding and deleting the hundreds of embedded YouTube videos.
It is massively stressful as well as frustrating, confusing, annoying and emotionally upsetting. If your head isn't on straight it could consume you.
My suggested Actions and Next Steps are below.
Email Marilyn Devonish at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main Website: https://www.tranceformationstm.com
Bookings & Free Consultations: https://bookme.name/marilyndevonish
eNewsletter List: https://mailchi.mp/tranceformationstm.com/enewsletteradventure
You can also use the Contact Form below:
Suggested Next Steps and Actions
- Back up your video files.
- Download your videos off YouTube if you don't already have an archive of the material and content you have entrusted to them.
- Set up a Vimeo or Wistia Account. (Other suggestions were also made on the thread on my Facebook page).
- Set up an alternative to Gmail as backup if you only have that one email address.
- Find ways to connect with your YouTube subscribers. I didn't and now all 2,820 are gone without a trace.
Several people have suggested I start a petition however the likes and shares on this Blog will serves as an informal messages so I won't be starting one for now. If I do I will also add the link to this Blog.
ADDENDUM: The Final Outcome
On Thursday 28th November 2019, having posed a series of questions, I received an email saying my YouTube Channel had been reinstated. The reason given was I had posted a recording of something I had filmed off the television in 2011; as in I pointed my video camera at the TV and filmed something 8 years prior.
I have seen countless videos where people have done exactly the same thing however I deleted them and I will see where we go from here . . . . . . .
My Channel for those who want to have a look is: https://www.youtube.com/user/marilyndevonish
The NeuroSuccess Coach