After YouTube’s crusade on the ‘big fish’ amongst cannabis content creators, a former user is questioning the social platform’s “ambiguous” policy after his ban.
Kicking a large number of cannabis content creators out of YouTube has spurred an exodus to a newly launched website called WeedTube, catering to potconnosiuers.
On May 7, Troy Redington from Orange County, California, experienced the deletion of his cannabis content on his YouTube channel 420Vapezone. This meant that he lost a monthly watch-time of 1.5 million minutes.
However, Redington’s “biggest competitor” – Vapecritic is still swimming in YouTube’s sea of audience.
This made Redington question YouTube’s lack of a uniform policy especially that he and his competitor fall under a similar category and stick to the guidelines.
“I’m a fan of his [Vapecritic] work,” Redington said.
“He [Vapecritic] has 38,000 subscribers; he has been growing [at a rate of ] 100-500 subscribers a month. I have been watching his channel for the past two years.”
Redington’s channel, however, had 11,000 subscribers, and “it was growing at 2,000 subscribers every month.”
The now WeedTuber mulled that Youtube is targeting those with fast “growing segments.”
“My content was extremely educational and very planned,” he said, expressing his frustration. Like Vapecritic, he makes his videos in hopes of giving people especially medical cannabis patients safer and healthier options than smoking a joint.
When comparing his content to those on WeedTube, his frustration heightens even more. “A lot of the WeedTubers just light up their joint and talk for 30 minutes, I spend a week or more testing products, reviewing products, and making sure to have all data…I write scripts, and I spend a week of video editing.
“I put a lot of work into each video just to pack it with info to educate people to make people switch from smoking to a healthier form.”
“As far as the guidelines, they are ambiguous,” he said.
“They don’t say you can’t smoke, you can’t talk about bomb making. It really refers to dangerous activities, but the term ‘dangerous’ is really open to interpretation by a lot of people. “
The “ambiguity” of the guidelines also gives a margin of error by the human reviewers.
But it is not only YouTube’s guidelines are in question but the timing too.
“I think the U.S. population is now more for cannabis than against,” he said. “I think it is a strange timing for YouTube to go anti-cannabis especially there has been great cannabis content on YouTube for more than five years. It is now 2018 when more people in society are accepting it and doctors are encouraging it.”
There are now about 30 U.S. states where medical marijuana is legal, and nine others allowing the recreational use of cannabis.
There are other states like Michigan which are en route to legalize recreational marijuana.
A silver lining?
But there is a silver lining for Redington.
“My website is getting two to five thousand visits per week whereas before it was in the hundreds like 500 a week,” he said.
But still, the Californian hopes he will get back to YouTube.
“I have filed two appeals and have been denied both times,” he said.
“A few days ago some channels have started to re-appear.”
He said channels such as Customgrow420, Stoned Alone, and Urban Remo are all back. “They were among the first to be deleted,” he said.
“The hardcore element is that YouTube has a massive audience, and people on YouTube are already typing in how to vape weed; they are searching for cannabis content,” he said, emphasizing “the demand is still there.”
As some are starting to reappear on the YouTube sphere, Redington said others were banned from all Google products for trying to log in right after the ban.
“Some were permanently banned from all Google products, including Gmail,” he said.
“I really love creating videos, it is a passion of mine, I started doing videos as a means of marketing, but then I fell in love with the whole process,” he said. “I just had to shift my gear to find a life path to create this, that’s why it is so heartbreaking.”