We received the email pasted at the bottom of this article from Google this morning regarding changes that will be effective on September 1, 2019. Apparently, Google feels that giving such notice only 4 days before such a major policy change is sufficient. It should also be noted that these changes have been instituted without any input from content creators.
According to the email, effective September 1, 2019 content that falls under Google’s “Publisher Restrictions” will include: “Shocking Content, Explosives, Guns, Gun Parts & Related Products, Other Weapons.” The term “shocking content” is not defined. I guess anything that anybody at Google finds “shocking” might fall into this category. Likewise, we can only assume that “gun parts & related products” will include anything that might relate to shooting. That will eliminate advertising on product reviews of optics, rifle stocks, spotting scopes, rifle cases, and anything gun related. We’re not quite sure if that will include videos on hunting and second amendment related news. “Other weapons” will likely include anything involving knives, swords, etc.
Interestingly, the email states, “Google Publisher Restrictions will no longer be a policy violation; instead, we will restrict advertising on that content as appropriate.” In plain English, this means that since Google, YouTube, et al, have been unsuccessful in removing gun channels entirely, they intend to starve them to death by denying them advertising revenue. This makes alternative sources of funding for gun related content all the more vital.
Here at GunGuyTV, we’ve tried to get ahead of this issue. We’ve created our online store, set up affiliate relationships with Amazon and Second Call Defense, and encouraged supporters to join us on Patreon. Unfortunately, even with these efforts in place, the cost of producing videos, audio podcasts and this blog far exceeds the funding those efforts generate. The potential loss of advertising revenue from YouTube as of September first will make the job of keeping GunGuyTV alive much more difficult and expensive. If this is the case for us, then it most certainly is the case for other content creators.
Some second amendment friendly companies have seen this coming and started to pitch in. A shining example is Sportsman’s Guide. For the last eleven months, Sportsman’s Guide has supported GunGuy.TV on Patreon at the level of $50 per month without asking for a single thing in return. When I sent them an email to thank them for their support, they answered with a simple message, “Joel, You’re very welcome! We’re excited to see your content and support your message & voice. Have a great Monday! -SG.” They have never asked me for a single thing in return.
Absent that kind of support and perhaps even with it, firearms related content creators have some tough financial decisions ahead of them. If GunGuyTV is any example, the cost of producing and distributing quality content is high. We’ve invested well over $20,000 in equipment alone. That doesn’t include cameras. The cost of quality cameras is ridiculously high. It also doesn’t include recurring costs like fuel, ammunition, range fees, web hosting, and the like.
Still, content creators are not the only ones facing some tough choices. If the consumers of firearms related content on the internet want to continue enjoying that content, it might be time for them to step up to the plate and support the content creators financially. Some consumers already do, but very few. Honestly, most don’t. What it comes down to is this, Google and YouTube are using the power of the purse to deny a voice to those with whom they disagree. That includes the creators of firearms related content. Whether Google succeeds in this effort is entirely up to America’s gun owners.
You can read the entire Google email below:
Dear AdSense Publisher,
We’re writing to let you know about a change to Google’s publisher policies for all of our publisher products that will affect your AdSense account.
In September 2019, we’re launching changes to some of our content policies across our publisher products (AdSense, AdMob, and Ad Manager). While there’s no action for you to take today since this won’t affect any publishers right now, be sure that you read through this email to familiarize yourself with what’s coming next month.
Why we’re making these changes:
One of the top requests we hear from publishers is that they want us to simplify and streamline our policies. We know that many of you use several of our publisher products and we want to bring you a clear and easy way to understand how to interact with our policies and how they affect you, no matter which products you use.
Here’s what you can expect:
- Google Publisher Policies, which outline the types of content we won’t monetize through any of our publisher products. These include: Illegal Content, Child Sexual Abuse Material & Pedophilia, Sexually Explicit Content, Adult Themes in Family Content, Intellectual Property Abuse, Endangered or Threatened Species, Dangerous or Derogatory Content, Enabling Dishonest Behavior, Misrepresentative Content, Malicious or Unwanted Software, and Mail Order Brides.
- Google Publisher Restrictions, which outline the types of content which will receive restricted sources of advertising. These include: Sexual Content, Shocking Content, Explosives, Guns, Gun Parts & Related Products, Other Weapons, Tobacco, Recreational Drugs, Alcohol Sales and Misuse, Online Gambling, Prescription Drugs, and Unapproved Pharmaceuticals and Supplements. Google Ads (formerly AdWords) will continue not to serve on any of this restricted content; it will only receive ads from other advertising products or via the use of direct deals between publishers and advertisers.
- Alignment across our publisher products, bringing simplicity, consistency, and ease of understanding, regardless of the product(s) you choose to use.
What it means for you as an AdSense publisher:
Monetizing content that falls under the Google Publisher Restrictions will no longer be a policy violation; instead, we will restrict advertising on that content as appropriate, based on the preferences of each advertising product and/or advertisers’ individual preferences. In some cases this will mean that no advertising sources are bidding on your inventory and no ads will appear on this restricted content. So while you can choose to monetize content covered by the Google Publisher Restrictions, doing so will mean you will likely receive less advertising on this restricted content than you would receive on other, nonrestricted content.
Content that falls under the Google Publisher Policies is not allowed to be monetized and you should not place ads against that content. As with our current policies today, attempting to monetize policy-violating content may result in your account(s) being suspended or terminated.
Please note that these policies and restrictions will apply in addition to any other policies governing your use of Google publisher products.
What you need to do:
Nothing at this time. The Help Center and Policy Center will be updated in September 2019 when this takes effect with the full breakdown of policies and restrictions. At that time, please review the updated policies and restrictions and ensure that your content is in compliance.
Please note that going forward, Google will be announcing updates to our policies and restrictions for AdSense on this change log. Publishers are required to keep abreast of changes to policies and be in compliance with them at all times.
The Google AdSense Team
Those of you who consume firearm-related content on YouTube are probably aware of YouTube s constantly escalating economic marginalization of gun content on the platform. The increased scrutiny of gun channels began around the 2016 election cycle, when YouTube faced backlash from advertisers who took issue with their ads being run on certain YouTube channels. Based on public knowledge, none of these complaints were about gun-related channels, but advertisers were upset to find their product being endorsed on (and thereby associated with) channels that harbored extreme political views. YouTube took a substantial financial blow from the ensuing boycott, and this motivated YouTube to categorize content and channels for advertising purposes.
If we make a big deal of them doing this to the gun channels. We should quit watching their channel and using their Google email you name it, if it is attached to YouTube or Google we stop using that media. You and all of the other gun channels doing this would put them on their knees. We need a good old fashion Boycott!
Why does no one use a snail mail address (like a POB?) for support by check rather than involving a third or fourth party who will take a cut and/or impose “rules” restricting your business practices?
I realize I am a dinosaur and most are addicted to “business by click”, but the cost of that addiction is growing each day in loss of liberty.