Justin Opinion, a YouTube channel that reviews guns and related gear, has been told that it’s no longer eligible to monetize its videos because YouTube has deemed them to be “harmful content.”
The channel has been posting to YouTube since 2012 and during that time, it has racked up more than 23 million total views and gained over 84,000 subscribers.
But after spending almost a decade building an audience on YouTube, the popular video-sharing platform pulled the plug on Justin Opinion’s ability to earn ad revenue from its videos.
“From where I sit, it seems extremely arbitrary,” the channel’s host Justin said. “There was no information given that was of any use to me. I have always tried to comply with policies and to the best of my, of my knowledge, I do comply with their policies of YouTube and, but they say ‘harmful content’ is, is the reason.”
Justin added that because his channel is small, there’s nobody he can talk to at YouTube.
“‘We’ve made this arbitrary and vague ruling that drastically affects you, good luck with that,'” Justin said. “So, that is the, that is the hatred that is, that is the YouTube organization towards its ‘partners.'”
Justin noted that the ad revenue from YouTube videos used to cover between 40-50% of the expenses for his channel but now that’s gone.
“I have recently invested a whole lot of money, a whole lot of money in video-making gear and equipment,” Justin said. “So, it’s ironic that having just spent all this money and learning to play with some of these new tools, comes at a time when YouTube says ‘Oh and by the way, we’re not gonna allow you to make a, a single penny from your videos.'”
When it comes to the future of the channel, Justin said that he will likely have to cut back on video production because the channel has been demonetized:
“It doesn’t mean I’m not going to make any videos but it definitely means I’m not going to make very many videos because as much as I love doing it and as much as I feel like I have to do it, whether there’s any money in it or not, I would be a complete idiot to just spend tons of money producing videos that I can’t get any money back from.
I’m not a wealthy person. I don’t have those resources. I don’t have the means to do that.”
Justin added that future content is likely to not require him to purchase anything or “shoot any bullets or things like that” – a transition which he acknowledged will likely be “boring” for viewers and reduced the overall views on the channel.
Justin also said that he now plans to focus more of his efforts on work with other outlets such as Guns America (an online marketplace where Americans buy and sell guns) The Armory Life (a website that provides firearms-focused content).
Justin Opinion is the latest of several gun-related channels to be demonetized by YouTube. The Honest Outlaw and C&Rsenal are some other examples of firearms-focused channels that have been demonetized under YouTube’s vague, far-reaching harmful content rules.
Even news channels that simply document peaceful gun rights rallies have had their content removed for “showing someone holding, handling, or transporting a firearm.”