A couple of weeks ago, we reported on the backlash Google was experiencing when advertisers discovered that their ads were appearing alongside offensive content. Several very large brands opted to pull their non-search ads until Google addressed the problem.

Now, in an attempt to appease those advertisers and crack down on inappropriate content, YouTube, owned by Google, is going to block ads from channels getting fewer than 10,000 views.

YouTube said the 10,000-view policy had been in the planning stages since November. It is designed to block channels that steal others’ content for revenue.

“In a few weeks, we’ll also be adding a review process for people who apply to be in the YouTube Partner Program. After a creator hits 10k lifetime views on their channel, we’ll review their activity against our policies,” wrote Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s VP of product management, in a blog post published April 6. “If everything looks good, we’ll bring the channel into YPP and begin serving ads against their content.”

“That’s views, not subscriptions—so even when people don’t watch the whole video, that’s considered a view,” Qingzhen Chen, senior analyst for advertising research from IHS, told the BBC. “We need to think about why YouTube is doing this. There have been troubles recently in the news about some of its content, some big brands and agencies have pulled their adverts—this is just another effort to deal with those issues.”

The company’s open advertising policy, which allowed all video creators to apply to run ads on their videos, allowed advertisers to reach a more diverse audience. However, while the policy allowed creators to earn a few dollars here and there for their videos, it had the unfortunate side effect of allowing ads to appear on content that is inappropriate or offensive, such as videos with racist messages.

“This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel,” Bardin wrote. “It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies.”

Some argue that the 10,000-view threshold is so low that it won’t catch a lot of those offensive videos, many of which have already gotten hundreds of thousands of views.

Others disagree. “I think it’s a very genius move by YouTube,” Rasty Turek, chief executive of internet-data firm Pex, told the Wall Street Journal. “They’ll cut off 88 percent of the channels, which means maybe 88 percent of the problems, but only 5 percent of the traffic.”

What do you think? Is this a smart move by YouTube? Do you think it will really do anything to solve the problem of ads being served against offensive content? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Photo: pixinoo / Shutterstock.com

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