Interview With Al, YouTube’s Algorithm Monster

We at WillVideoforFood were honored to be granted the first interview with Al, YouTube’s Algorithm Monster. Al makes critical determinations about what videos get seen, which subscribers see what content, what videos are placed as “related video,” and what videos are “spotlighted” throughout the site. He recently took many amateur creators down to 25% of the views they had this summer, effectively dropping their income by the same amount.

Al, YouTube's Algorithm owner, is seen here in his San Bruno Apartment where he has been sad and depressed.

WVFF: How are you, Al?

AL: Al scared and not happy. Very sad.

WVFF: Why?

AL: Al made changes for YouTube bosses to make people stay on YouTube longer. It work. YouTube visits increase in duration by .0005%.  But Al accidentally punished amateurs. Now amateurs upset with Al. They come to Al’s swamp with torches.

WVFF: Can’t you change them back?

Al: Al no make backward changes only forward. Evolve not devolve.

WVFF: So how about a forward change that keeps independent content creators steady on their views.

Al: Why Al do that?

WVFF: I don’t know. It seems it would keep independent creators motivated and loyal, and ensure that YouTube has content that can’t be seen on TV or other places.

Al: YouTube masters told me professional content more important. We go professional. No more cats and vloggers. We go “2 and a Half Men.” Me do what told.

WVFF: Al. Do you honestly think YouTube is poised to compete with networks and cable companies? That’s waging war, and it’s not what people want via online video yet.

Al: Al sad. Eyes leaking.

WVFF: Why, Al?

Al: Because you right. But masters at YouTube tell Al what to do. Al get blamed. They hurt Al.

WVFF: Sometimes, Al, you’ve got to show uncommon courage… doing what you know is right, not what people are asking you to do.

Al: Al feel better now. Al make it fair for amateur creators again. Al not want video creators sad like Al.

WVFF: Thanks for your time, Al. Just one final question.

Al: Yes, Nalts.

WVFF: How do you make changes to the algorthym while you’re in this swamp?

Al: Al only do interviews, poop, and sleep in swamp. Al walk to YouTube campus and bathe. Then Al make program changes.

9 Replies to “Interview With Al, YouTube’s Algorithm Monster”

  1. I detected the sound of knuckles dragging, as Al was talking. Are swamp monsters / you Tube bosses related to troglodytes?

  2. It is impossible to make a distinction between amateurs and professionals on YouTube. Referring to yourself as an amateur rings doubly hollow since you are one for the people who makes a living from the site.

    It is much easier to draw a line between Partners and non-Partners.

    Partner status itself is broken down into two tiers. There are partners who have someone unofficially working for/with them inside YouTube and there are those Partners who do not.

    If you look carefully you will see that YouTube has been switching off the positive weighting on different YouTube Partner channels progressively since February so as not to cause a widespread unified backlash.

    If you look closer still, you will see that those channels who have a YouTube employee playing an active part in the “success” of their channels have been unaffected.

    You should be happy Nalts (sarcasm).

    You were happy when YouTube bought Next New Networks and gave the “studio’s” owner a pretend job. You were happy to see tens of thousands of dollars being frittered away by YouTube employees on their cronies in the NextUp program (do you really need me to name names? The dogs in the street know who got into that program because their buddy(s) works for YouTube).

    To be fair to NNN, he did teach the people in NextUp everything he knew about online video, which was basically to parody/steal a popular artists song melody and title and then get his gimp inside YouTube to feature his studio’s video so that it got a higher YouTube search rank than the original. The video then sucks up all the “related” views generated by other content surrounding the song/artist.

    In other words NNN taught more people to how to damage the site (as if anyone in NextUp needed instructions, they were just there for the cash).

    Why would I now pick on the stupidity surrounding NNN’s acquisition and the wasted money (which is insignificant in terms of YouTube’s entire budget)?

    YouTube has bought into the idea of “Studios” absorbing channels with popular videos and reselling the advertising for a much higher CPM. YouTube bought the idea so hard that it brought one of the existing studios (NNN) inhouse.

    The problem, Nalts is that there is only so much “free” shit to go around in YouTube. If there are three YouTube employees moonlighting for their own three “Studios” outside of YouTube then there is going to be a fight as each one of them tries to get their “parody” of Lady Gaga’s latest song featured.

    My personal supposition is that someone inside YouTube got sick of YouTube employees fighting over access to what is essentially a flaw in the site and set out to fix the code to ensure no one could exploit it in the future.

    Now when a studio and their YouTube gimployee try and pull the bait and switch trick in a YouTube feature slot for easy money it won’t be so profitable.

    This is a very slow process that has been in progress since February. It may take years for YouTube to cleanse itself of all the bait and switch bullshit that YouTube employees are responsible for promoting as they built their own little empires.

    YouTube will never be completely free of abuse by gimployees for their personal gain unless the tools to abuse the site are removed from the hands of those self-serving individuals.

    Since YouTube is unwilling to remove the gimployees, it has to automate the tools.

    As far a real amateurs are concerned, they weren’t making money on YouTube, and they weren’t being helped by the gimployees, so they have lost nothing.

    As far as Partners/professionals are concerned, if you don’t have your own gimployee then you have lost access to one more YouTube exploit that you used to have.

    As far as studios/resellers are concerned, their future is uncertain.

    Studios/resellers exist because YouTube the company is failing to sell advertising for high CPMs. All studios are doing is replacing the Ad Space execs role at YouTube. The studios/resellers absorb content and channels that are already popular on YouTube, they do not need to create content or do the dozen other things YouTubers do, they just sell ad space.

    If the ability of gimployees to make content popular in any lasting manner is removed (as it seems to be in the process of) then the viability of studios that are entirely based on the activities of gimployees is also removed.

    They could rely on hovering up the latest accidentally viral videos and channels from noobie creators, but that is not an entirely straightforward process (for several convoluted legal reasons concerning the YouTube Partner contract).

    YouTube Studios may, (god forbid), actually start imitating real “studios” and start producing genuinely popular content. I’m not going to hold my breath while waiting for that to happen.

    Three things occur to me.

    1. Nalts Studio should have been created years ago. If anyone was ideally placed to resell advertising space on behalf of a company of 1000+ youtubers its was you.

    2. Selling advertising space with a high CPM on YouTube is hard work. You could never have done it unless you built a company and committed to it 24/7. The volatile nature of YouTubers and their content would have made the micromanagement required a living hell.

    3. Nalts Studios would have caused you to have complete
    nervous breakdown, most probably when it failed after the latest YouTube update. Good call on not creating it years ago.

    If you are still no wiser about where YouTube is headed after this revamp is complete (months worth to go yet) or where you should be headed now that the goal posts have been moved yet again then, you need to retrace your steps and ask yourself when YouTube Inc stopped being afraid of you, and you became afraid of it.

  3. I have to admit Nalts that I try to only hand you cards that you cannot play, because I have seen you do too much shilling for the liars and scumbags that haunt YouTube and I do not wish to inadvertently place anything in your hands that you can use to buy favor from those same scumbags.

    I am going to link a few illustration of things I mentioned previously, but for the benefit of any gimployees reading this I would wish it known that I do not care about the treatment or fate of any of these people. None of them have clean hands as far as I am concerned. They lost privileges that they should never have been given in the first place.


    This view chart shows that the Hotforwords channel suffered the same fate as your did Nalts. Maybe an algorithm can be blamed for the traffic drop, but surely a date difference of several months suggests that the content of different tiers of YouTube Partners are being gradually switched to the new algorithm at different times. A staggered adjustment of the site (to a less deceptive state) prevents an explosive backlash.

    The upshot of HotForWords lost revenue was the breakup of the HotForWords “studio”, an end to the HotForWords webseries and Marina eventually returning to use the channel as “herself” alongside her own Russian language series (sans over-inflated view count).

    I would like you to witness what a $35,000 featured NextUp video created under the tutelage of NextNewNetworks looks like. With a view count of approx 35,000 even after being featured on YouTube, that works out at about a dollar a view. If YouTube Inc had simply walked outside with a briefcase filled with $35,000 and set it on fire whilst recording, they would have gotten more views, and it would have felt like less of a waste.

    What I would like you to note in particular is the title, which is a blatant attempt to cheat views by hijacking Beyonce’s brand.

    BeyoncĂ© “Countdown” Parody: Student Loan Countdown

    In the good old bad old days YouTube would have let her (and her NNN overlords) get away with the exploit and the “YouTube feature” would have guaranteed that the video would have been highly ranked for no good reason.

    But now, the word BeyoncĂ© in the title links to real BeyoncĂ© content so anyone who was tricked into watching the video can find what they were actually looking for. The video even has a link to buy BeyoncĂ©’s song, which would tell me that the ad rev from the vid has also been claimed by BeyoncĂ©’s management.

    So, get you head around this, the scumbag from NNN told her how to exploit YouTube and make a “popular” video. She goes and does what she is told. The video falls flat. Why? Because NNN’s shit doesn’t work anymore.

    It makes me wonder if NNN’s gimp inside YouTube warned him that the techs were going to sink his ship and the gimployee arranged for him to be brought inside YouTube rather than leave him hanging outside with a huge Goldman debt he (and his gimployee) could not repay.

    Lets jump from shiney NNNewtube (that doesn’t work anymore without overriding the fixed algorithm) and see what old YouTube’s opinion of NNNewtube is.

    Sean Bedlam Ungraciously Quits Youtube

    There isn’t any point looking at other videos that Sean made. He was getting automated category features and was going through the motions and kissing ass as long as the YouTube dice were loaded in his favor. Sound familiar?

    Maybe it IS time every YouTuber went back to being their real selves instead of being the “Please comment, rate and subscribe” fluffy bunnies we all became. But you can’t lead the charge Nalts. These people cannot become your personal army. You would sell them out in a heartbeat in exchange for YouTube making you a Tier1 Partner again.

    That is not a criticism. You would have to search for a very long time to find anyone worth taking a metaphorical bullet for on YouTube.

    Last links. Let me introduce DefiantEmber who went to war with the YouTube gimployees and lost everything.

    Except the war.

  4. I wish I could believe in conspiracy theories as easily as others. It’d sure make my life easier to understand with wool pulled over my eyes.

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