YouTube has embarked on a program such that no one, or a scant few, can make comments on videos without connecting their YouTube channels with their Google+ page, or a new Google+ page.
On its surface, this seems like a harmless idea and it is necessary if one’s going to take advantage of the new ability to filter words from racist and sexist YouTube commenters. I’ve asked for such a system for the last four years and because I was being plagued by people not using their real names and calling me the n-word, as I said here:
But I resisted connecting my Google+ account thinking, at first, that the rule of having to do so didn’t apply to YouTube Creators – we could filter our comment sections without using the Google+ provision.
So I avoided doing so, and mainly because the transition was playing havoc with my brand identity, switching to a photo I did not want to use, and forcing migration to an email address that effectively disconnected me from my social media accounts that I used to distribute my YouTube videos. It was a big mess.
Then, after holding out, I did connect my YouTube channel with my Google+ channel, and after about two days, noticed just over 9 days ago that the videos I uploaded from my YouTube Channel did not show up in search results.
For a guy who makes daily videos on topics that people are searching, it was really upsetting, not to mention costly because I rely on search engine optimization to help drive traffic to my YouTube videos so I can gain more Google AdSense revenue. The most obvious example that something was really wrong was in a Nicki Minaj video-blog I uploaded.
Normally, commentary about Nicki Minaj is guaranteed to draw over 10,000 views over about two days at the least – but not when my YouTube channel was hooked with my Google+ account. The view count didn’t break 100, and that was even with experiments in title naming to test search engine response!
At first I thought Google was hatching a ploy to save money in paying YouTube Partners. But after another couple of days of thinking about that, it didn’t make sense at all. So, I had a flash of insight and decoupled my YouTube Channel from my Google+ account. The very next series of videos I uploaded showed up in search. But the ultimate test was to make a new Nicki Minaj video blog, and since she had just embarked on a partnership with Macy’s I had a reason to make fresh news about her, yet again.
That video has behaved like the other Nicki Minaj vlogs I’ve made before the YouTube / Google+ connection – thousands of views in a short period of time.
So, in an attempt to notify Google I contacted Vic Gundotra, who was the man who created the new comment system. This is what I wrote:
Greetings Mr. Gundotra,
As one of the first group of YouTube Partners, and one who has been plagued with commenters using the N-word on an all-too-frequent basis, (see:”YouTube, Stop Use Of The N-Word, For Brand’s Sake ” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6VZNhrIXmI) I am happy for the attempt to allow us to filter comment words.
However, there is one problem and it’s a giant one.
I found that after I connected my YouTube channel Zennie62 to my Google+ page, newly uploaded videos did on appear in YouTube search results for as long as two days!
I figured it was a deliberate coding change at first, but then got a flash of insight and decoupled Zennie62 from my Google + channel, and new video uploads showed up in YouTube search in the normal ten or 15 minute delay time.
So, for that reason, I never reconnected my accounts.
Please correct this problem. YouTube advises that we are to make timely videos about newsy topics, something I have done since 2006, and on a daily basis since 2009 (they never feature me, sadly). One of the obvious benefits of this pattern is one can take advantage of high search volume for a given topic, but yo/u can’t do this with the “connected” approach.
Best to you,
To my pleasant surprise, Mr. Gundotra responded back:
“Thank you for this report. We are investigating and will report back!”
And I got this email from Yonatan Zunger, the Google Chief Architect, who wrote:
“Very strange — that’s definitely not supposed to happen. We’ll take a look.”
I’ve not got a note back on this from them, but my hypothesis is that when the connection system was created, no one bothered to test how it would impact the behavior of the YouTube website with respect to video uploads – its bread and butter.
Look, Google makes money off the same web traffic I benefit from and they pay me accordingly – what I’m reporting is as much to their benefit as it is to my own.
What seems to be happening is that in somehow routing newly uploaded videos for distribution through Google+, the system itself is acting as a kind of giant, delayed “nofollow” for the videos. The “nofollow” ‘shield’ if you will, goes away once the video propagates though your Google+ connections, and then it shows up in search and that process takes a few days whereas the standard upload results in a searchable video in about 10 to 15 minutes.
Thus, I’m not connecting my YouTube Channel with Google+ for that very big reason. YouTube needs to go back to the practice of having its employees actually be video-bloggers. If that was the case, this problem would have been seen long before the launch of the new connection system.