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Advertisers Are Still Boycotting YouTube Over Offensive Videos (go.com) 155

An anonymous reader quotes the Associated Press:The fallout from the YouTube boycott is likely to be felt through the rest of this year. Skittish advertisers have curtailed their spending until they are convinced Google can prevent their brands from appearing next to extremist clips promoting hate and violence... At one point, about 250 advertisers were boycotting YouTube... The list included big-spending marketers such as PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores, Starbucks, AT&T, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, and Volkswagen.

It's unclear how many, if any, of those have returned to YouTube since Google promised to hire more human reviewers and upgrade its technology to keep ads away from repugnant videos. Both Verizon and AT&T, two companies that are trying to expand their own digital ad networks to compete with Google, told The Associated Press that they are still boycotting YouTube. FX Networks confirmed that it isn't advertising on YouTube either. Several other boycotting marketers contacted by AP didn't respond.

Thursday CEO Sundar Pichai told analysts that responding to the boycott, Google held "thousands and thousands" of conversations with advertisers, and one analyst now estimates reduced ad spending on YouTube and Google could cost the company $300 million this year alone.
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Advertisers Are Still Boycotting YouTube Over Offensive Videos

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  • I didn't notice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johanw ( 1001493 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @06:44AM (#54328077)

    Who watches Youtube (and ther rest of the internet) without an adblocker anyway?

    • Like Vet Ranch [youtube.com]?

      Yeah, those educational and feel-good videos by extremist charity veterinary groups are really shameful.

    • Probably some of those people owning the 2.5billion smartphones which are out there and using the Youtube app.

    • the ads are mostly skippable anyway and 5 seconds so a youtuber can get some revenue doesn't bug me.

      I have definitely noticed. I'm shopping for my kid's first car and you'd think after the google searches I've done I'd be inundated with car ads. But I think I've seen one. Hell, at one point I googled the ad to see if I could trigger it and no go.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:15AM (#54328151)

    Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos. The problem is that YouTube went overboard and now considers everything "offensive" that's not basically cute kittens playing with yarn, not just extremists videos demanding the execution of everything who follows the wrong delusion.

    The problem here is that the reason people went from traditional media and to YouTube is exactly that they're fed up with having "family friendly" bullshit shoved down their throats. If that's all that remains on YouTube, people will simply move on.

    And then nobody sees your pretty ads either.

    • You get the offensive stuff without ads! Think about that. More reason to watch the offensive stuff. They didn't think this through.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 )

      I think the issue isn't that when people see the add for Pepsi next to a violent extremist video people will relate that Pepsi is endorsing the video. But the act of continued advertising next to the video is endorsing it. What a lot of companies are slowly realizing is that what they spend money on can often have further reaching consequences. Do you want the PR after the next mass shooting that the kids weapons were funded from your company due too add revenue on his hateful YouTube blog?
      Or even with t

      • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

        They'll see it as yet another ad that's preventing them from watching what it is they want to watch, and associate the brand with THAT negative experience instead.

        Do you want the PR after the next mass shooting that the kids weapons were funded from your company due too add revenue on his hateful YouTube blog?

        Did you know that 100% of terrorists breathe oxygen? If you breathe oxygen, you're a terrorist! Do we blame toyota for bank robberies when a corolla is used as a getaway car? No. Societies that reason this way are doomed to total(itarian) failure. Such irrationality should be pointed out and criticized.

      • You are aware that the ones peddling this kind of bullshit association are the very same media that first of all now run this smear campaign in a weak attempt to get advertisers back to them from YouTube?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, YouTube has gone overboard with what they consider offensive. Now, facts are offensive if they hurt the idealistic liberal worldview.

      Take a statement like "In the US, Black's have lower IQs than whites." This statement is not at all hate speech. Like it or not, this statement is 100% true. We can debate whether IQ really measures intelligence, oe whether the test is racist or otherwise flawed. We can debate how much of the IQ difference is due to genetics, economic inequalities, or cultural upbringing.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The worst part is that it actually harms black people if that information is suppressed. Poverty is arguably the biggest reason for lower IQ and higher crime rates in black populations. The same trend can be seen in "white areas" that are poor. It's not a racial thing, it's a poverty thing and no one is going to try to fix it if the information is silenced because "das rayciss!"

        On the flip side, white people have more Neanderthal genes and the Neanderthal was actually smarter than other humans, so it is
        • It's not a racial thing, it's a poverty thing

          While that's a cute proposal (and I agree with it), it's not the prevailing narrative from the people talking about this.

          The typical narrative here is that blacks are more violent because of their alleged low average IQs. We're told that as one reason why people should be okay with the idea of separating from one another based on race. If you believe it, you have an easy way to stay safe and to avoid the potential that your children may fall in love with one and produce inferior offspring.

          Obviously, the onl

      • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @11:20AM (#54328757) Journal

        So we have this measure which is iffy at best, and in most cases hopelessly biased towards certain socioeconomic groups, but hey, it's a great meme "Blacks are dumber than whites, and it's not racist because this groovy Intelligence Quotient test says so!"

        In general, psychology and neurological sciences have long past moved away from IQ, simply because it's absurd to imagine that something as complex as human cognition can be fit into one number, considering cognition itself seems to be the product of multiple processing and memory systems in the brain.

        So promoting "whites have higher IQs than blacks" *MAY* be true for some kinds of intelligence tests, that kind of testing is so flawed that it's hard to see how proponents of the claim aren't just racists once again using the cloak of pseudoscience to try to bolster their hatred.

        • IQ tests are complete crap. I've got a high enough score that it isn't sour grapes. More like syrupy grapes. Total complete bullshit, and the funniest part is that to get a high score I have to lie and give the answers that I think the test writer wanted to hear instead of the answers that I think are actually true.

          Also, the algebra word problem at the end? The fish is always 72 inches, because the test authors suck at math and only one algebra story problem was ever created for IQ tests, and it was copied

      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by DogDude ( 805747 )
        But the thing is, companies have decided that it's not worth it to advertise to assholes like you. THEY DON'T WANT YOUR MONEY. As a small business owner, I also don't want money from assholes. It's got nothing about free speech or censorship, or whatever words that you're throwing around without understanding. Nobody wants to be associated with assholes like you, except for other assholes.
      • See the problem is that it is well known that IQ test are actually very strongly cultural and educational, and testing 2 populations of different cultures, can lead to irrelevant result comparison. And this is the case here, people are getting from that that black are unintelligent or whatever, but the is almost certainly the wrong conclusion, as normal population, with normal education, should have the same "intelligence". The correct conclusion is that there are obstacle (cultural, wealth and institution
    • Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos. The problem is that YouTube went overboard and now considers everything "offensive" that's not basically cute kittens playing with yarn, not just extremists videos demanding the execution of everything who follows the wrong delusion.

      The problem here is that the reason people went from traditional media and to YouTube is exactly that they're fed up with having "family friendly" bullshit shoved down their throats. If that's all that remains on YouTube, people will simply move on.

      And then nobody sees your pretty ads either.

      The people who are really supporting the offensive videos are the viewers. The add just comes with the viewer click. Just put a disclaimer on all ads, "we are not endorsing any content, but you are by clicking on it".

    • because saying "Coke advertises with Neo-Nazis!" makes a great headline. Hell, we're talking about it now. It's too click-baity, so it was bound to go viral if youtube didn't kill it with fire.
    • Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos.

      Yeah, what bullshit to think that an ad appearing immediately before a video might get associated with a video.

      The problem is that YouTube went overboard and now considers everything "offensive" that's not basically cute kittens playing with yarn, not just extremists videos demanding the execution of everything who follows the wrong delusion.

      No, the problem is not that Google considers those videos "offensive". It's that advertisers consider them "offensive" and don't want to advertise on them.

      You can still post a video that isn't "family friendly", but big companies don't want to advertise on your video and Google won't make them.

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        Yeah, what bullshit to think that an ad appearing immediately before a video might get associated with a video.

        Yes, frankly, what bullshit.

        Unless an ad is an explicit tie-in with the video content, I am not going to assume that the advertiser gives any endorsement (or rejection) of the content. Why would I?

        • Yeah, what bullshit to think that an ad appearing immediately before a video might get associated with a video.

          Yes, frankly, what bullshit.

          Unless an ad is an explicit tie-in with the video content, I am not going to assume that the advertiser gives any endorsement (or rejection) of the content. Why would I?

          So lets ignore the entire (in my opinion legitimate) problem of negative impression through association, and instead just concentrate on just the people who, when they see a video before an ad, assume the advertiser more or less chose to advertise on that specific video (or style of video).

          Now consider a video posted by a neoNazi.

          Think about the people who realize you didn't choose that video (or don't realize but don't care), how much is that ad impression worth to you?

          Now think about the people who see th

    • I love it when people invoke their own reason for using a specific tool as the only reason anyone uses it.

      Youtube became big because, basically, it's just easy to find videos. It has nothing to do with trying to avoid "family values", that's just your own rationale (and honestly, I don't actually believe it's even your's, you're just trying to show your weird alt-right street cred).

      And if Youtube is going to be supported by ads, then advertisers have some considerable right to demand that their products not

    • Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos.

      Did you see the list of companies in TFS? For at least half of them an association with Nazi terrorist puppy mulchers would improve their image.

      • Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos.

        Did you see the list of companies in TFS? For at least half of them an association with Nazi terrorist puppy mulchers would improve their image.

        And YouTube is all they have now that Bill O'Reilly is off the air. :-)

    • Advertisers were successfully bullshitted into believing that their brands would be tarnished by appearing next to "offensive" videos

      Except that isn't it.

      There are literal terrorist groups that have videos on YouTube. The thing is, if an advert appears next to their videos, they get some money.

      Do you really not understand why people don't want to actively find terrorist groups?

      Nothing gives anyone the reasonable expectation that they need to be paid for their speech.

      The problem is that YouTube went overbo

    • by nnull ( 1148259 )
      A big chunk of those advertisers advertise on porn sites and don't seem to have a problem with it either.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Nah, it is all total bullshit and the arseholes at Alphabet are part of the lie. Mass censorship targeting anti-corporate messages. Basically scammy Alphabet are playing along to see if the can drive away content producers they can not dictate too and control. This is for establishment control over the political messaging the public is allowed to see and as approved by the piece of shit corporations. They want the corporate political advertisement tied to the consumer advertisement, the empty tied to the us

      • That makes no sense. First if Alphabet just wanted to please the corporate overlord, why did they allow anti-corporate content-approved to make money until now?

        And second, and more importantly, many people who do post "controversial" content (read: Content that may make very special people feel a bit uncomfortable because it kills their batshit insane narrative with a dose of reality) are dependent on that income from YouTube. They made YouTube their "job" so to speak, and them making content is dependent o

  • Oddly Enough... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cirby ( 2599 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:19AM (#54328173)

    YouTube seems to be putting almost no effort into finding ways to limit offensive ads placed over entertaining YouTube videos.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I wish they would let you give a thumbs up/down to the ads. Sure, even on the less insulting/annoying ads they would get 90% thumbs down, but the exact ratio of views to votes and total count would be extremely interesting.

  • Fine by me: less advertisements.

    Question to the advertisers: Where are you going to run your advertisements that has at least as many eyeballs as youtube? Let that sink in for a moment.

    You have the choice between not advertising or advertising. You can be lucky Google cares enough to cater to you needs.

    • Fine by me: less advertisements.

      And less money to jackoffs who make the videos. It's win-win, I agree.

      • Most stuff on youtube isn't worth a dime any way... Hateful or not.
        • Most stuff on youtube isn't worth a dime any way... Hateful or not.

          I don't know about most stuff. I find the tutorials on how to do stuff around the house pretty useful when the washing machine won't drain. Also, there are some rare clips of musical performances from years gone by that are impossible to find anywhere else (Bill Evans Quartet playing in someone's living room in Finland comes to mind)

          But the videos advertisers are running away from are the ones where some guy in his mom's basement is looki

      • Fine by me: less advertisements.

        And less money to jackoffs who make the videos. It's win-win, I agree.

        I agree. If the video really deserves rewarding them, and they're making it in hopes of getting a reward, I can pay them through some sort of patronage site. They all seem to have links to those.

        Just because I watched at least n% of the video does not automatically mean they deserve some money, and it certainly doesn't mean I'm going to spend time as a service provider to do some activity to reward them.

        If they want to go to war over ads, and I end up only watching videos at archive.org, I'm OK with that. I

  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Sunday April 30, 2017 @07:33AM (#54328217) Homepage Journal

    That should drive ad prices lower for brands that are less susceptible to bullying by special interest groups, right?

    Is Google actually allowing market elasticity on ad prices? The biggest problem I see with being randomly assigned to whatever video is that it might be a sign of very poor targeting. I mean, white supremacists aren't likely to go out for Chinese food tonight, right? But they probably still need to buy laundry detergent .

    Nobody really thinks that Tide is refusing to sell detergent to these boorish idiots. I wonder who actually spends time watching their videos and thinks "well, Tide obviously supports their views." I find "reality TV" offensive to my sensibilities but the only connection I make there is that the advertisers want the audience's money.

    And there's the rub - thinking that attacking supply will eliminate demand is folly, but attacking demand is hard and the bullies are ultimately lazy.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      It does lower the price of ads for those companies who aren't as picky.
      They are the only winners here. Content producers and Google are not happy because cheaper ads mean less money for them. As for viewers, they still see the same amount of advertisement.

    • If the companies had been choosing offensive keywords, then those prices would come down.

      But they're not choosing offensive keywords. They're choosing totally clean keywords and the ads run next to offensive ads anyways. So the relative demand for a particular keyword is unaffected by any of this.

  • Advertisements accompanying actual content should always require opting-in, not opting-out. Both on the producing/selling and consuming/purchasing sides.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Um. you DID opt-in, by using their service.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @08:10AM (#54328263) Homepage

    I'm still blocking all the ad's I can until the advertising networks start vetting their ad's and actually paying for real bandwidth. Almost every website loads twice as fast if you block the big ad network domains.

    • And take responsibility for the malicious crap that can come across their networks too. Forbes got nailed for this when a bunch of web security folks went there to read an article about a colleague, disabled adblockers per Forbes, and were promptly served up malware.

      • Sometimes I'll try the webcache if it is linked from someplace like google news and they're doing a bait-and-switch on the bots to get the content linked.

        But if it still doesn't work, I wouldn't turn off the ad-blocker. You should always expect to get burned if you do. If the data is interesting, it is probably already mirrored somewhere or reported elsewhere.

        The only sites that important are ones that wouldn't have tried to stop my access in the first place.

  • These companies don't understand that YouTube is not, and can never be, like traditional media. If anything, the marketing teams should be fired for a total, epic failure to even remotely understand the nature of the platform they were using.

    What I would tell Google to do is a few things to counteract.

    1. Allow anyone to monetize, provided their content is accurately self-rated along a ESRB-style rating system (with checkboxes for WHY it is rated that way).
    2. Create communities of interest such as "family,"

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, the point 4 makes you totally supporter of free speech - except speech you dislike. If you want free speech, you need to accept that people will disagree with you about everything including definition or need for free speech. That is what free speech is.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      4. Last, but not least, fire all of the damn SJWs. Easiest way to accomplish this: put out an anonymous workplace survey that says "do you consider hate speech that is not a direct incitement to violence to be protected, free speech." Anyone who disagrees with that probably holds views that are anathema to the long term health of any speech-centered tech platform or product.

      This is what is wrong with most places today. That sort of thing should NOT be anonymous. Its should be mission statement from management. It should be made clear to employees that if they can't embrace that they ought to start looking for jobs elsewhere.

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Your supposition that Google wants money from people like you is inherently flawed. There's very little money to be made off of people like you. They're interesting in targeting people with real money, not mouth breathers who rely on government handouts.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      >3. Be blunt: if you ain't making us money, your content is going to be lower in search results over content that is.

      Terrible idea. What makes YouTube great, or at least better, is that it ranks stuff based on interest and user interaction, rather than commercial considerations.

      >fire all of the damn SJWs

      Does that go for the ones making videos too? The Sargons and the Teal Dears?

  • A $300 Million boycott on a company that made $79.38 billion in ad revenue last year isn't likely to get quite the attention these guys think it will. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm sure google put a middle manager in charge of dealing with these guys. He might even have access to the email address for someone who has something to do with ad placement.

    I think it's just another political stunt to try and manipulate social media into stifling free speech. I'm not saying I agree with the "hate" videos i
    • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Sunday April 30, 2017 @09:26AM (#54328415)
      But the people running this protest don't want there to be free speech. They want only speech they approve of to be allowed.
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        They are corporate ad buyers... They don't get much more conservative than that. That's why people are protesting, they are upset than make up tips for trans women videos are being demonetized because of corporate transphobia.

        • All I have to say in response to this is that you clearly have not been paying attention if you think corporate ad buyers are conservative.
    • I think it's just another political stunt to try and manipulate social media into stifling free speech. I'm not saying I agree with the "hate" videos in question, but if you want to have free speech, then you've got to have free speech. sheesh.

      The problem of course, is that what is offensive has already creeped into areas that are not particularly offensive, unless people consider everything that does not agree with them as offensive.

      Another issue is that people tend to frame their arguments as a liberal versus conservative based thing. Both the far left and far right are guilty.

      And now it has extended into areas which are merely political in nature, not remotely violent, say like "The Young Turks", or "An Ear for Men". areas where the loud

      • unless people consider everything that does not agree with them as offensive.

        I believe that's pretty much what's going on in the world. Of course, there are always exceptions but generally it's this.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. YouTube didn't make $79.38 billion in ad revenue last year. Google did. YouTube is a subsidiary company of Google and should be independently attempting to maximize its profits.

      2. The boycott has (unfortunately) actually been quite successful at forcing YouTube to change their advertising policies, since they have removed ad revenue from most channels that are "alt right" or "alt light".

    • by DogDude ( 805747 )
      Who said that Youtube wants "free speech"? I never read that youtube wants "free speech". That's what you said, not them. They're interested in making money. People with money are not Trump supporters, by and large. Those mouth breathers are generally poor, and on the government dole. There's little money to be had from them, and plenty to be lost from smarter people with actual incomes who don't want to have anything to do with all of that stupid shit.
  • Aren't people who support extremism and violence some of Walmart's biggest customers? Confused.
  • "Advertisers Are Still Boycotting YouTube Over Offensive Videos"

    As is their right to do.

    Youtube has the right to advertise, and people have the right to boycott products and services that they don't like or that support things they don't like. What's the problem?

    • Why do you people always show up? Nobody is debating they have the LEGAL RIGHT to do any goddamn thing.

      We're debating whether it's ETHICALLY right, as well whether it's an EFFECTIVE solution to their problem.

      Fuck off with Red Herring bullshit.

      This is like that other over-used Slashdot argument, "Freedom of speech is only for the government!" (conflating the constitutional Bill of Rights _acknowledgement_ of Freedom of Speech with the actual _invention_ of the idea which goes all the way back to ancient Athe

      • Why do you people always show up?

        Because people like you are assholes, that's why.

        Fuck off with Red Herring bullshit.

        Fuck off yourself, goober.

  • Have advertisers opt in to a video/channel whitelist. Problem solved. Better to get some revenue than none.

    • You still have to police the videos, because it's not like the automated systems can tell with any reliability if you've put a Neo-nazi video in the Cute Fwuffy Bunny Video channel.

  • Offensive videos? Like Pewdiepie making fun of white supremecists [businessinsider.com]? Cowardice is the only excuse for interpreting his video as antisemitic. Fear of stupid customers misinterpreting statements. These companies are surely too big to care about being respected, but I respect companies that have more spine.

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