YouTube Partner and Monetization FAQ

I’ve decided to write this post because people on Yahoo Answers are driving me nuts! So many people ask questions about Partnership, monetization and Adsense that get answered by people who have NO idea what they’re talking about! I see the most ridiculous inaccurate garbage on there so I want to make a blog post to set things straight and hopefully random people with these kinds of questions will stumble across this page and get the ACTUAL answers to their questions from an ACTUAL YouTube Partner who knows what they’re talking about! ***These FAQ are about the classic Partnership, not the new Partnership YouTube has created for people with 1 or more monetized videos. But some answers still apply to the new Partnership.***

Some of this will be about general YouTube but a lot of it will be to do with Partnership.

How do people make money off YouTube?

Thousands of people upload videos to YouTube every day and a lot of people don’t even know it’s possible to earn money from it. But if you get enough views on your videos (typically thousands), you may be able to monetize them. That means YouTube will enable ads to be placed at the start of your videos or at the bottom of them. You can start to earn money if you get a decent amount of views on that video and you also get a certain amount each time someone CLICKS on the ads on your video. Basically, if you have monetization enabled, advertisers are paying YouTube money to let them put their ads on your videos. Then YouTube lets you have a cut of that money they get paid since it’s your video they’re putting the ad on. It’s called Revenue Sharing.

So how do you get monetized? You either have to apply to be a YouTube Partner (which is the best option and comes with additional features) or you have to have a video that has a good amount of views and YouTube may send you an invite to monetize it.

“It’s really hard to become a partner/you have to have millions of views/millions of subscribers”

It’s really not hard to become a partner so long as you meet the minimum requirements.

What do you actually need to become a Partner?

As described *here*, Youtube states:

“To become a YouTube Partner, you must meet these minimum requirements:

You create original videos suitable for online streaming.
You own or have express permission to use and monetise all audio and video content that you upload—no exceptions.
You regularly upload videos that are viewed by thousands of YouTube users, or you publish popular or commercially successful videos in other ways (such as DVDs sold online).”

This means your videos can only contain stuff YOU MADE (except for video games – that’s a big of a grey area that I will also talk about in this post). “Regularly” uploading means at least once a week, that’s what they want to see. Definitely no less than once a week, but more is even better (so long as all your videos are getting decent views). “Thousands of YouTube users” basically means one thousand minimum. I became a Partner when most of my videos had reached 1000+ views. A hell of a lot of my videos only had around 1000 views, so based on that, I conclude they expect each of your videos to have at least 1000 views (and they should reach that in a decent time frame like in a week or 2 – not take 3 years to reach 1000!).

Also, you have to be in a country that Partnership is available in. As described *here*,

“Currently, the YouTube Partner Program is only available to users in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”

Also your videos have to abide by YouTube’s rules. Some of that is obvious – no graphic violence, no pornography, basically nothing that’s considered adult content is allowed to be monetized. But some things are a bit of a grey area. For example, you’d assume extremely coarse language wouldn’t be allowed but it usually is. Also, what YouTube deems as “too sexual” is pretty weird as well. For example, some booty shaking/”sexual” dancing videos are not accepted and most “fat fetish” videos are not accepted. Fat fetish videos are pretty big on YouTube, it’s usually just someone fully clothed but with their stomach showing, eating food and rubbing their belly or something. You wouldn’t think that would be mature content! But YouTube has deemed it as too sexual for monetization. Yet girls in g-string bikinis ARE allowed. Pretty stupid.

“You have to have 1000 or more subscribers to be a partner.”

Actually, subscribers aren’t that important when it comes to partnership. What matters most are your video VIEWS. You could have 10 subscribers but have thousands of views on each video and still be a partner. Also, people that say your videos being liked/favourited or commented on has an impact on you being a Partner or not – totally untrue! Also some people believe that Partners get paid for comments, favourites/likes etc… also not true. It’s ALL about the views and your ads being clicked. This is why views are the most important thing when it comes to applying for Partnership. That’s what they look at the most. You should have around 20 or more videos and they should get thousands of views. That’s what matters most, not how many subscribers or anything else.

What are the benefits of being a Partner compared to just monetizing my videos and not being a Partner?

1. You get more money
2. Gain a bigger audience – your videos get “featured” so they display at the top of the recommended videos list
3. You can customise your channel a lot more (branding options) and have extra interactivity options
4. No upload size or length limits
5. More options for analysing your audience and views with Insight
6. Option for offering rental videos to viewers
7. Use of ContentID which can enable you to automatically remove videos when someone infringes your copyright (re-uploading your videos and whatnot)

“Why doesn’t YouTube let me upload videos with songs in them when there are LOADS of people whose lyric videos don’t get taken down?”

It’s copyright infringement to upload a copyrighted song, video or whatever. No one’s “allowed” to do it unless they actually own the content or have explicit permission. HOWEVER, there ARE a lot of lyric videos and videos with copyrighted songs on YouTube that haven’t been removed or had the audio blocked, and a lot of them have hundreds of thousands or millions of views. There is a very simple explanation for this!

YouTube’s auto detection of third party content picks up some content and not others. So first of all, some people’s videos haven’t been caught yet. But the usual reason that those videos are still up is that they HAVE been matched… but the record label/company has chosen to allow their video to remain up. WHY? Well, if you don’t have adblocker, you’ll notice that their videos have ads before or on them. You’ll also notice a link below the video to buy the song on iTunes and whatnot. This means that the record label now technically OWNS that video, and has chosen to leave it up (but slap advertisements on it) for their own promotional purposes and because they’ll earn money off the video too. So bascially, if the video gets a LOT of views, rather than blocking the audio or removing the video, the record label can choose to slap ads on it and do whatever they want with it since it contains their copyright content. LONG STORY SHORT: That random YouTube uploader doesn’t actually own that video, the record label does and they’re doing what they want with it.

“If I put a disclaimer in the description of my video, can I use songs?”

NO. Flat out, NO. A disclaimer means nothing. It’s like robbing a bank and then saying “I did not intend to rob this bank, I do not own this bank”! It’s copyright infringement, full stop. A lot of people assume a disclaimer means something because they see it on popular lyric videos and such, that contain copyright content but haven’t been removed. So they assume… oh, theirs must be up because they wrote “I do not own this, no copyright intended” in their description. NO NO NO! The reason their video is still up is for the reason I discussed above.

“Is it okay to use a few seconds of a song?”

There is such a thing as Fair Use, but honestly, it’s so complicated on YouTube that you’re better off to avoid using copyright content like the plague. Technically, you could argue that it’s Fair Use when you’re only using a few seconds of a song, incidental background music in a public place and using photographs/clips for commentary/news type purposes. But in my experience (and a lot of other people’s), YouTube will just remove your video if it matches third party content and you’ll have a hard time trying to get your video back up. Just don’t do it. Be original, and you won’t have to worry about it. But just let me make it clear that there is NO magical number for the amount of a clip or song you can use that will make it legal. I see a lot of people saying if you use under 30 seconds, you’re fine. That is totally NOT TRUE.

This is all YouTube says about it *here*:

“Fair Use and Fair Dealing

It’s possible that you may be permitted to include small excerpts from copyrighted material in your video, if what you intend to use is insubstantial or is incidentally included, or where the intended use that you have for the copyrighted material falls within a exception or limitation to copyright under the law in your country.

We can’t give you advice on either of these topics, and if you do plan to use even a small portion of copyrighted material in your video, we’d strongly advise you to take legal advice first.

In the US, the following four factors are weighed by courts to determine whether a particular case is fair use:

the purpose and character of the use, (including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes)
the nature of the copyrighted work
the amount and substance of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work”

“There is a set amount that Partners make per view/click but it’s a secret” or “Partners make a dollar per click”

There is no secret and there is no set amount. Partners get paid per 1000 page views and per click. These statistics can be found in their Google Adsense account, because that’s actually who the advertisers go through and who you get paid by, not YouTube itself. Although Google does own YouTube now. You can see your “CTR” which is Click Through Rate meaning how many people are clicking your ads in your account. You can also see “Page RPM” which is Page Revenue Per Thousand Impressions which tells you how much you’re earning from video views. There is no set amount because the adverts that appear on the videos change almost every day and the amount advertisers are paying to put those ads there changes all the time because different companies are constantly bidding against each other for the ad space on the video. So people that go around saying Partners get a dollar per click, or a dollar per view, or a dollar per thousand views… are just completely wrong as well. But take note that it’s against Google Adsense rules to disclose the amount of money you make for privacy reasons.

“You can’t earn much at all off YouTube, it’s hardly anything at all”

You can, you really can! There are so many people earning 6 figure incomes off YouTube. It’s actually a pretty good percentage that you get from revenue sharing, around half!

“Am I allowed to cover a song in a video?”

This one is a big tricky with the whole fair use thing. As far as uploading a video to YouTube, it most likely won’t get removed if the music is your original performance/composition. So that means that karaoke tracks and instrumental songs with you singing to them are not actually allowed and could get picked up by auto detection software. As far as monetizing the video, you CANNOT do that unless you have explicit permission. The types of people that get that permission are big time Partners that do business deals with record labels and other companies. So in short, the average person cannot earn money off cover songs. The reason for this is that the song including the melody and the lyrics are someone else’s intellectual property. So even if you’re playing all the music yourself, the song still belongs to them.

Am I allowed to monetize video game footage?”

Yes and no. First of all, there is Machinima partnership which is popular.
Youtube does allow video game footage but there are conditions. This is what it says *here* (P.S. I found it really hard to find that information)

“Video game content may be monetized depending on the commercial use rights granted to you by licenses of video game publishers. Some video game publishers allow you to use all video game content for commercial use and state that in their license agreements. Likewise, videos showing software user interface may be monetized only if you have a contract with the publisher or you have paid a licensing fee.

Without the appropriate license from the publisher, use of video game or software user interface must be minimal. Video game content may be monetized if the associated step-by-step commentary is strictly tied to the live action being shown and provides instructional or educational value.

Videos simply showing a user playing a video game or the use of software for extended periods of time may not be accepted for monetization.”

Can I monetize videos with software visuals in them such as photoshop or program tutorials?

The exact same rules for video game footage apply to software visuals. See the quote above.

“I got an invite from YouTube to be a Partner, what now?”

No you didn’t. YouTube hasn’t invited people to be Partners since the Beta stages of the Partnership Program (many years ago). The ONLY way to become a Partner now is to APPLY at http://www.youtube.com/partners . The only invites YouTube gives is for monetization of a video, and even then, that doesn’t mean you CAN monetize it. It just sends the invite if your video reaches a certain amount of views in a certain amount of time. But if your video contains copyright content or breaks the rules in any way, it will get rejected after you try and submit it for monetization. So please remember – MONETIZATION ENABLED DOES NOT EQUAL YOUTUBE PARTNERSHIP!

“My friend just got partner but he only has like 10 subscribers and 1 video with 5 views on it?”

Your friend’s lying. Unless he has some kind of major popularity or fame on some other website or through movies or television, he’s lying.

My adsense account got banned, can I get it back?

Unfortunately not. If you were a big time Partner that earned a six figure income, Google might actually respond to you. But for 99.9% of people, once your account is banned, you can never get it back. Its very unfair and I wish that YouTube/Google would develop some kind of fail-safe protection for YouTube Partners. Most people are banned due to “invalid click activity” and sometimes by their own fault, sometimes not.

IF YOU’RE A YOUTUBE PARTNER – PLEASE READ THIS!
What can I do to stop being banned due to invalid clicks?

First of all, NEVER click on your own ads, it is simply not allowed. NEVER encourage friends, family or your readers/viewers to click your ads. It is against the rules and often results in people being banned. Maybe your friend thinks it would be a nice thing to do to click on a few of your ads 10 times each, to give you some extra money. Then all of a sudden, you’re banned for invalid clicks. It happens pretty often and is really unfortunate. Sometimes it may be someone that dislikes you and knows that repeated clicking results in invalid clicks, so they click on your ads over and over. This happens a lot too. My best friend Emmalina from YouTube was one of the FIRST EVER YouTube Partners and she was permanently banned for invalid clicks and she did nothing wrong. I’ve witnessed a few people on Yahoo Answers claiming that you have nothing to worry about so long as you don’t click your own ads… WRONG!!! People get banned EVERY day and they did NOTHING WRONG.

Apart from that… there is only ONE thing you can do to protect yourself!!! MONITOR YOUR CTR ON GOOGLE ADSENSE VERY, VERY CLOSELY. Like I discussed earlier, CTR is Click Through Rate. You can see it on the main page of your account easily. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT IT TYPICALLY IS. If there is a sudden major jump and you’ve suddenly earned way more money for that day… REPORT IT. That’s what I do. That’s what anyone who is an expert in Adsense has ever encouraged me to do. In my experience, there is no harm in reporting. It’s more dangerous to just let it go and then potentially get banned.

So how do you report it? Use this form: https://support.google.com/adsense/bin/request.py?&contact_type=invalid_clicks_contact

Can I monetize videos where I discuss brand name products or wear a brand name clothes with logos?

Yes. Some people wonder about this because on some TV shows, the brand is blurred out. This is simply because there has been no agreement for promotion of that brand, in most cases. So if you wear a brand in a video or talk about certain products, that is perfectly fine and there is no issue with that. Slandering someone isn’t legal, but just discussing whether you like a brand or not is fine. People often get paid to endorse products in YouTube videos, too (but not by Adsense). For example, beauty/make-up gurus sometimes get given products for free in return that they’ll review the product in a video. Sometimes they give honest opinions, other times they’re paid to say the product is good no matter what.

Can I upload my videos onto other sites even if I have them monetized on YouTube?

Partners can upload the same video to other websites and/or monetize them with other companies.

“Gain Flexibility Through A Non-Exclusive Agreement – YouTube doesn’t restrict where partners can upload and distribute their content, enabling you to upload and monetize your content across an array of non-YouTube networks.”

http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=72855

As for monetization without partnership… I read through the whole monetization agreement and I couldn’t find anything saying it was or wasn’t allowed.

Are websites where you convert a YouTube music video into an MP3 legal?

Yes and no. Think of it like torrent sites. Torrent sites themselves are usually not illegal, however downloading copyright content from them IS illegal. The same thing goes for Youtube/MP3 converter websites. The website isn’t illegal, but you downloading the mp3 actually is. Would you get caught? Probably not. But there’s always that risk.

How do I make a banner for the top of my YouTube channel/how do I use an image on my video pages instead of my YouTube ID like some people have?

Only Partners can use those features. With the old channel design, Partners used to be able to create and upload a banner for the top of their channel. With the new design, it has to be incorporated with the entire background image. But Partners are the only ones with the option to “push down” the top of their channel to show the banner part of the background image.

Why does youtube keep disabling my videos for revenue?

Because they either discovered copyright content in them or they determined that your video wasn’t suitable for other reasons, like simply not getting enough views. They reserve the right to remove any video from revenue sharing.

Can I monetize a video that I’ve used AudioSwap on?

Nope, you can’t monetize those.

Can I upload someone’s video to my website?

NO. You can link to videos or embed them (most videos have embedding enabled) but you cannot download and reupload someone’s video onto YouTube or any other website.

How do I get more subscribers/views?

Commenting on other people’s videos and general networking can get you a bit more noticed. But ultimately, it’s the content of your videos that will get you noticed. My advice is to pick a theme for your channel – is it general vlogging? tutorials? health and wellness? animals? Whatever it is, give it a clear theme so that when people visit your channel, they’ll instantly know whether they’re interested in the topics or not. Then subscribe to and comment on other people’s channels who are in the same genre as you or talk about similar topics. Make video responses to popular people’s videos. Make sure your videos are the best quality they can be – people prefer to look at HD or at least clear well-lit videos. Also, try and keep it fairly short, no longer than 5 minutes (I’m guilty of breaking this rule) and make the first 10 seconds as engaging and interesting as possible, because people will often click away if the first few seconds are boring. Also, upload videos REGULARLY, at least once a week.

I may come across more FAQs and add them to this post.

Hopefully this can help people who are seeking the answers to these questions.

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One thought on “YouTube Partner and Monetization FAQ

  • This was incredibly helpful! Thank you! Unfortunately, I don’t think that Israel is in the permitted list any longer. I monetized today, and in my settings it says “partner verified”, however, in AdSense Israel is not listed as one of the countries that can participate. Do you have any thoughts on this? Am I actually a partner?

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