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YouTube working on fixing Patreon, Kickstarter links for smaller creators

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And other external links in end screens

YouTube, video sharing website Sergei Konkov\TASS via Getty Images

YouTube is working on separate eligibility criteria for smaller creators who don’t qualify for YouTube’s new Partner Program to ensure they can link out to external projects on Patreon, Kickstarter and other websites in end slates.

A YouTube representative confirmed to Polygon that creators who are currently in the Partner Program, but may lose their spot following the implementation of the new monetization standards, will not lose their ability to link out to external URLs in end slates either. The company is working on what the criteria will be and is expected to provide an update soon.

YouTube first came under criticism from smaller creators in September 2017, when YouTubers noticed that they couldn’t link out to their Patreon accounts using video end slates anymore. Instead, creators were forced to link out to external projects in the description field underneath the video, which many claimed greatly lowered the chances of viewers clicking on the external link.

A YouTube representative told Polygon at the time that links to external sites, which included merchandise shops, websites or crowdfunding platforms, weren’t being removed entirely, but that changes were being made. The representative confirmed that YouTube was instituting those changes as a way to combat inappropriate and abusive content from a small portion of its creator base. At the time, YouTube asked its eligible creators to join the YouTube Partners Program, in an attempt to better protect creators’ content.

“Creators are being asked to join the YouTube Partner program, so that we can evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies,” the representative said. “This update is meant to curb abuse and does not affect current YouTube partners or existing end cards.”

Creators cite the prerequisite to join the YouTube Partner Program as their main issue. In September 2017, YouTube said that only creators who have accumulated more than 10,000 channel views qualified for the program. Patreon’s CEO, Jack Conte, called the move hurtful to many Patreon users.

YouTube’s new monetization rules state that, in order for creators to be considered eligible for the Partner Program, they must have accrued more than 4,000 hours of watch time on their channel and have a minimum of 1,000 subscribers. The move has upset smaller creators, who feel like they won’t be able to monetize their work at all, but has been applauded by bigger YouTubers who commended the company for taking action.

YouTube published a blog post yesterday saying that, although the changes would affect many smaller creators, it shouldn’t be too much of a hit on those channels’ revenue.

Though these changes will affect a significant number of channels, 99% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month. Any of the channels who no longer meet this threshold will be paid what they’ve already earned based on our AdSense policies. After thoughtful consideration, we believe these are necessary compromises to protect our community.