Over the weekend, the internet was abuzz with news. It seems that despite the quiet from YouTube about guns over the last couple of months, it hadn’t forgotten. Instead, it was simply waiting. Waiting for what, I don’t know, but it made a move, and it’s a fairly big one.
Plenty of people are upset over this, which isn’t overly surprising. YouTube changed its terms of service to be somewhat vague, but one of those is using the videos to sell guns.
Now, let’s preface this by pointing out that many YouTubers use their videos to sell products. And let’s also preface this by pointing out that guns are still a legal product, which means this change in policy is no less bovine excrement than when it was first announced.
With that out of the way, I can’t help but feel Brownell’s channel’s days were numbered from the start. While they may not have directly advertised guns with their videos, at least not since YouTube’s policy changed, the case can be made that their entire channel was designed around selling guns and gun-related products.
Now, I don’t have a problem with that, but YouTube does.
Honestly, the biggest surprise is the fact that Brownell’s lasted as long as it did after the policy change.
So far, there’s no word where Brownell’s will be taking their videos. It’s my hope that they find another home soon enough. It’s also my hope that the firearms community can find an alternative to YouTube. However, YouTube is also the largest video sharing site out there and actually counts as the second largest search engine in the world, right after Google, who also owns YouTube.
Because of that, there isn’t a lot of competition. Other video sites have sprung up, but they’ve been hampered in their efforts to compete, not because of content creators–plenty have been willing to jump the YouTube ship, at least in part–but because of advertising revenue. They have a hard time getting the advertisers to allow them to compete.
In other words, YouTube has an effective monopoly on the market.
For gun channels, that makes things…interesting. While at least one went over to PornHub of all places, most others would rather keep their channels where they can be accessible by people who don’t want to have to explain their browsing history to their significant others. “No, I wasn’t watching porn. It was a gun channel. I promise!”
I mean, I’ve heard of gun porn, but this is getting ridiculous.
Seriously, an alternative is needed, at least for the gun community, particularly for up and coming content creators who aren’t remotely close to one of the big dogs.
Brownell’s will find a home. I’m quite sure of that. I suspect the company can, at worst, self-host videos if needed.
And YouTube, as a private company, can do what it wishes within the limits of the law. It has a right to limit content on its platform. However, we have a right to ignore the platform as a whole if we so choose.
Just something for YouTube to consider.
To be fair, though, I think it already is. YouTube caved to the pressure late yesterday.
Still, it would behoove all gun channels, especially companies like Brownell’s, to look elsewhere for video hosting.