YouTube ain’t MyTube, but it’s TheTube ~ Firearms’ Channel Ad Boycot

By Jeff Knox

Google Bans Guns
YouTube ain't MyTube, but it's TheTube ~ Firearms' Channel Ad Boycot
Firearms Coalition
Firearms Coalition

Buckeye, AZ –-(Ammoland.com)- One of the most common laments within the shooting fraternity is the lack of young blood in our groups.

My brother Chris and I have been hearing it since we were little kids.

In fact, after more than 50 years of active involvement in this community, we are now among the gray-hairs looking for ways to attract young people to our sports, our hobbies, and our passion for liberty.

And while we “leaders” of the gun world have all been wringing our hands and scratching our thinning hairlines over this conundrum, a bunch of guys, young and old, from all over the country and the world, have been recording the fun, challenges, and debates of the gun world on video, and posting those videos on the internet. Not only have those videos served as entertainment for gun guys, they have also attracted the attention and interest of millions of younger people here in the U.S. and around the world – primarily on the video-hosting site YouTube.

If you enjoy watching videos about guns and shooting on YouTube, you're probably aware that your favorite channels are in trouble. YouTube has “de-monetized” all of them, meaning that these channels no longer get a share of YouTube ad revenue. The way they've done this is by adding the gun channels, along with many “prepper” and political “extremist” channels, to their restricted list, saying they are not family or advertiser friendly.

YouTube Restricted Button
YouTube Restricted Button

YouTube was created as an open platform with few restrictions on content. Creators could post a video of almost anything except pornography, extremely graphic violence, or anything clearly illegal. Still, videos of women “teaching” proper yoga form – in the nude, and other “educational” demonstrations are relatively common fare. Most of those types of videos are also in the “restricted” category, but I have no idea whether they have been “restricted” all along, or were only recently added to the list.

I wasn't even aware of the existence of the button at the bottom of the YouTube screen that allows viewers to turn on or off – see or not see – these restricted videos.

If you don't want your kid watching naked yoga, you turn Restricted Mode on, and lock it with a password. If you have an interest in naked, bendy women, or want to see the latest firearm industry news from The Gun Collective, or see new gun reviews on the Military Arms Channel, you just leave Restricted Mode turned off.

But whether you have Restricted Mode turned on or off, the restricted videos don't share in the advertising revenue that YouTube generates.

Using a complex, computer formula which tracks views and trends, YouTube rotates ads and shares a small piece of the ad revenue with the video creators most popular on the site. By placing videos on the restricted list, YouTube removes those videos, and their creators, from the revenue stream, even though they are still attracting viewers to the platform. So now gun channels, whose creators have worked years to build up tens of thousands, or in come cases, hundreds of thousands of loyal viewers, and who were reaping a modest reward for all of that hard work, have had that reward pulled out from under them without warning.

Gun-related content has always been extremely popular on the internet, but it has always been treated like a red-headed stepchild by the major platforms like Facebook, Google, and Twitter. There is also the problem that some of the enemies of guns and gun rights are unscrupulous and cowardly, flagging gun posts and originators as “obscene” or in violation of some contractual standard, often resulting in hassles and expense as content is removed or automatic suspensions are applied, and creators have to fight through complicated appeals processes to be vindicated.

It's possible that some of the current YouTube controversy is a result of that sort of chicanery, but the heart of this mess lies with mainstream media using their influence with advertisers to demonize YouTube's open platform approach, and scare their parent company, Google, into censoring the site's content.

While some suggest boycotting YouTube, and going exclusively to alternative platforms like Vimeo, Daily Motion, or for gun channels, Full30.com, the reality is, right now at least, YouTube is the big dog on the block, and the only platform where a content creator can reach millions of new potential viewers, as well as the only platform where a creator can build a sustainable income – if they're not “restricted.”

Full30 Video Website Screengrab
Full30 Video Website Screengrab

If the only objective is having a place where people interested in gun videos can go to watch gun videos, then Full30.com is a great option. But if the objective is to introduce new people – especially young people – to the fun, history, and importance of firearms, then we must fight to keep YouTube open, available, and profitable. That means lobbying YouTube, Google, and their advertisers.

Support your favorite channels. Buy their over-priced T-shirts and coffee mugs. Subscribe with regular contributions through Patreon or PayPal, but most importantly, express your outrage about the current state of affairs to anyone who will listen. Send messages to YouTube, Google, and the media.

Ping on advertisers who are holding the platform hostage, and encourage companies – especially companies in the gun industry – to buy advertising on YouTube, IF YouTube will use the money to support firearm-friendly content.

Just doing nothing gets you nothing in return, and leaves the next generation ignorant of our rights, freedoms, and values.

Neal Knox - The Gun Rights War
Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox lead many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org

12 thoughts on “YouTube ain’t MyTube, but it’s TheTube ~ Firearms’ Channel Ad Boycot

  1. I run a very large Military Videos Channel on YouTube, 250,000 subscribers, over 10,400 videos, more than 100 MILLION views, “3rdID8487”. This is also being done to military channels, just like firearms channels. Anything that is from an “area of conflict”, images of war, anything related to a memorial or funeral, are all not allowed to have advertising. I have had my channel since 2007 and have built it up over the years. I used to make a nice supplemental income from it, but now, I make less than 1/3 of what I made before because YouTube has “demonetized” the vast majority of my videos. Even videos that we OK before and for years have now been cut out. It is a shame and so bad we may have to close the channel and remove all 10,000+ videos from YouTube and that does nothing but hurt the people that like to view those types of videos. Even documentaries that we have which were fine for years are all of a sudden not OK. Sad.

    1. It’s sad how YouTube is screwing so many advertisers. A channel like yours is perfect to advertise canteens, flak jackets, survival gear, WW2 memorabilia and videos, P90X, self-defense training, martial arts, even guns.

      Of course, Google bought YouTube and decided to transform it with their silicon socialist values.

  2. Google Adsense often declares content to be not family or advertiser friendly. But do they ever actually ask the advertiser? The fact is, edgier content attracts viewers which would benefit the advertiser. But Google takes it upon themselves to be the arbiter of good taste. In doing so they screw the content provider as well as the advertiser. I suspect Google simply uses their vague and ambiguous ‘terms of service’ as an excuse to advance a political agenda, which includes dumbing down the internet to the level of a 6-year-old child.

    1. Google Adsense only contacts you to tell you that you’ve been banned. Their appeal process is a joke, they won’t get back to you. What most bloggers do is find a new mailing address and apply for another adsense account (Google mails you a postcard with the code). Of course, you’ll need another gmail account since the old one won’t work for adsense.

      Adsense has too many rules, too many people are banned- payday lenders, adult, “hate speech,” etc. You also can’t pay for traffic, and don’t even ask your friends to click on the ads because Google will find out.

      In the past I tried Gun Clicks, an alternative to Adsense, but it didn’t workout well for me. Suffice to say, I stick with Amazon affiliates which is cool when people buy something, but they often don’t. I also have the Lucky Gunner affiliate program, but then again, you only make money when people click on the ads.

      So if you want to start a blog and monetize it with Adsense, make sure the blog isn’t about firearms. The only exception might be news-oriented blogs. I’ve seen google ads on The Gun Feed and The Gun Page.

  3. How about letting us have some addresses and names. I am fairly politically active but I do not have time or, frankly, inclination to look up every possibility. Suggesting we complain doesn’t help if we don’t know who to complain to.

  4. Is this action by Google/Youtube a conspiracy to violate our first and second amendment rights? Doesn’t the conspiracy statute have something to the effect of…Two or more persons agree or collude in an effort to violate any statute? It would seem that rights ought to be up there with any statute. This is an interesting article and has information I was unaware of. Frankly, I had no idea that YouTube had something like a “restricted Mode”. Now I need to try to find that rascally “Restricted Mode”. Where is it to be found? On YouTube home page? How would I connect with or contact YouTube? Anyway, thanks, Jeff Knox, and way to go.

    1. YT is a private company. They cannot, by definition, violate your rights. I don’t agree with their restrictions but they can do as they will.

      1. YouTube is an American video-sharing website headquartered in San Bruno, California. The service was created by three former PayPal employees—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—in February 2005. Google bought the site in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion; YouTube now operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries. It is not a private company as of 11/2006.

    2. If Youtube restricts videos on LGBT, what would happen? You know what, they would marshal forces, get the press to write stories, they would go to advertisers and drag them into the bad PR. Why cant we do this?

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