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YouTube Officially Lifts Monetization Ban on COVID-19 Content

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YouTube has lifted the monetization ban on content that is either about, or references, COVID-19. Although some exceptions apply.

The monetization ban had already been lifted for a limited number of channels, but now the change has been rolled out throughout the platform.

In a newly published help document, YouTube states:

“Content that references and/or features COVID-19 and adheres to our Advertiser-Friendly and Community Guidelines is now eligible for monetization.”

YouTube Officially Lifts Monetization Ban on COVID-19 Content

As mentioned, some exceptions apply. Here are examples of COVID-19-related that will not be eligible to serve ads:

  • Distressing Footage: Footage of people visibly suffering due to COVID-19.
  • Medical Misinformation: Content that misinforms users about health matters related to COVID-19
  • Pranks & Challenges: Any COVID-19 related prank or challenge that promotes medically dangerous activities.

These are just some examples, not a comprehensive list.

No Need to Worry About Losing Your Ads for Mentioning COVID-19

Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic, YouTube pulled ads from all related content.

YouTube was so strict about de-monetizing the content that even a passing mention of “coronavirus”, or “COVID-19,” wasn’t allowed.

In order for YouTubers to get around this, and continue to earn revenue from their videos, they came up with various ways to reference COVID-19 without actually calling it by name.

“The virus,” “the pandemic,” “these uncertain times,” and other such phrases were all uttered ad nauseam.

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Simply because YouTube creators weren’t allowed to say “coronavirus.”

This made content feel awkward at times, and served as a reminder that YouTubers were still affected by an issue that should have been fixed.

Not to mention it was a disservice to journalists and news organizations whose job it is to keep people informed about the situation.

With that said, there are right and wrong ways to create content about COVID-19.

Here are some best practices from YouTube.

YouTube’s Best Practices For COVID-19 Content

YouTube offers the following recommendations regarding content related to COVID-19.

  • Fact check your statements: Use reputable sources from organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and National Health Service (NHS).
  • Be sensitive: This is an ongoing global crisis, so YouTube asks that COVID-19 related-content is shared with the best intentions in mind.

Just like any other content on YouTube, content about COVID-19 must still follow YouTube’s Advertiser-Friendly and Community Guidelines.

Some Background Information

This is a follow up to a story published last month where we reported YouTube backtracked on a decision to de-monetize content about COVID-19.

In February and early March, the coronavirus outbreak met the YouTube’s definition of a sensitive topic.

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Videos mentioning sensitive topics are not eligible for advertising.

However, YouTube defines a sensitive topic as a short-term event. Such as natural disaster that occurs one day and is over quickly.

As time went on it became clear the coronavirus outbreak was going to be a long-term issue, not a short-term event.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki penned a letter on March 12 saying ads would be re-enabled “for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels.”

Wojcicki stated it would expand monetization to more creators and news organizations in the coming weeks.

Credit where it’s due – YouTube did expand monetization within the estimated timeframe.

Now, content that’s created about COVID-19, or simply mentions COVID-19, will not be stripped of ads (except for the reasons mentioned earlier.)

Source: YouTube Help

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NEWS

Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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