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YouTube Partner Rewards Program Meets with Mixed Reception from Creators

^ The gold plated play button, reports of it going *ting* when looked upon are as of yet unconfirmed.

The new rewards system -which attendees of this years VidCon got a sneak peek at- was officially unveiled just over a week ago.

It consists of a gold plated play button for those who have reached at or above a total of 1,000,000 subscribers and the thing is framed in a way reminiscent of gold or platinum records.

There’s good stuff in here for the slightly less mammoth creators too. Those who have reached 100,000 subs get a 500 dollar gift card and a custom DSLR bag.


It’s actually not unusual for social media personalities and organizations to receive awards based within an online genre or even a single website. 

The Webby Awards are old as balls, rewarding internet peeps and businesses since 1995 and The Streamy Awards go one further.

They focus exclusively on web series; still a pretty small industry despite the large audience growth and acceptance into mainstream culture that it’s made in recent years.

What’s different about these rewards is that they’re given exclusively on the basis of numbers.



^ Look familiar?

Mixed Reception

The reception among big YouTubers has been largely positive and tends to break up into those who are still a bit too small to qualify for the gold and have a hungry look in their eyes.

"I want one, my house mate Charlie. He’s got a million subscribers. He just sits at his desk just across the room from me with his gold…plate….thing. I do just want to put more effort into my videos and make them more worthwhile" - Alex Day

and those who are grateful for the recognition but have some concerns

"I love it because it feels like a thank you…a thank you to the people who have invariably worked extremely hard to achieve that level of success. And it’s important for YouTube to recognize that those people play a large part in the success of YouTube" 

"The fact is that most of the people doing really interesting things, who have the most potential to grow, to change things, to continue altering the landscape of media, and who I am fascinated by do not have 1,000,000 subscribers" - Hank Green

"I’m flattered, since i am in the 100,000 category - but saddened by all the incredibly talented and hardworking people going un-thanked, the ones who don’t quite have that many subscribers but still make huge contributions to this community daily" - Kristina Horner

They aren’t the only ones to focus on the smaller channels.

Smaller Channels

One thing brought up repeatedly in the comments on the official announcement, on twitter and other sites where the discussion has taken place is that the awards do nothing for smaller partners and creators.

The awards themselves arent the main issue here however. It’s a sense of continued and growing frustration with YouTube -spawning movements like the #SaveYouTube campaign- its policies and the general attitude of the site as a whole.

A lot of the ways in which bigger creators got a leg up in the past simply don’t exist any more or have been redirected towards already popular channels.

Stuff like getting featured on the main page or appearing in the recommended videos section and although the community has gone a long way in picking up the slack there’s always going to be people who slip through the sizeable cracks.


When taken together with things like the new London Creator Space and programs like YouTube Next Vlogger and NextUp a picture forms of a business trying to consolidate its gains and standardise skills and pathways to success in an industry where technical proficiency can vary from the profound to the mediocre.

It could well be a risky move, there’s a good chance it may simply limit creativity, create a stiff model for how creators should work and interact with their audience that could stunt them in the long term and make the industry even harder to break into.

Then again it might usher in a new generation of ultra-proficient creators while improving the already substantial profiles of the people who did it the old fashioned way.

Damned if I know, feel free to have your say though.

Filed under stealth mountain don't catch no journalists youtube rewards program youtube rewards youtube online video partner program youtube creators gold play button saveyoutube save youtube campaign hank green nerimon alex day kristina horner nextup next up next vlogger london creator space italktosnakes vlogbrothers charlieissocoollike charlie mcdonnel charliemcdonnell