YouTube's Community Police Blow Up Another Innocent Victim

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Call me cynical, but after experiencing a YouTube shutdown firsthand, I’ve come to realize that it is near impossible to build a stable brand or presence on YouTube. The gatekeepers are far too antsy with the big red ban button and, after facing this problem once when CrunchGear’s entire video archive was shut down I’m loathe to recommend the service to those trying to post anything other than the occasional video of baby ducklings being blown over.

WatchReport, a watch website I used to frequent, started posting watch reviews on YouTube in 2005. Over the past five years they racked up two million views and 2000 subscribers on 50 reviews. Then all of the videos were gone.

On November 23 the account was locked “due to multiple or severe violations of our Community Guidelines,” which would presumably include “no sex, nudity, hate speech, shock videos, illegal acts, threats, impersonation, or copyright violation.” These were watch videos and the former owner of WatchReport, Christian, definitely didn’t impersonate anyone in the nude. I mean if anyone is guilty of infringing on YouTube’s community guidelines it’s Minxy or that Russian woman who used to give English lessons. This is a bunch of dudes with watches.

Two things could have happened here. WatchReport’s videos could have been considered commercial speech or some competing watch site could have poisoned the well but no one can tell. What we do know is that the current owners of WatchReport have no recourse, their video is lost, and YouTube continues to host bootleg music and, when 4chan gets their back into it, lots of porn.

The lesson? Depend on someone like Vimeo for hosting important stuff. Otherwise it could be taken away at a moment’s notice.

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