Leading video platform YouTube has made a few changes that have caused confusion and concern among influencers.
Some channels hosts noticed that link cards in the end screens of their videos no longer linked to Patreon, a crucial source of funding for many content creators using the site.
Further investigation suggested that the only way to add the link back to their videos was to activate YouTube's monetisation system, allowing ads to run around and before their content and contradicting the promise of no ads many Patreon users make.
Waypoint reports that YouTube has simply added an extra step before hosts are allowed to link to Patreon or any external website: they need to sign up to the YouTube Partner Program. Influencers already signed up to this have been unaffected by the changes.
The reasoning, according to a spokesperson, is that the program prompts YouTube to manually investigate each channel and make sure it's meeting advertising guidelines. Crowdfunded channels with no intention of making money through ads have previously been able to skip this process, making it harder for YouTube to monitor how people are monetising its users.
The spokesperson added that some channels had been using external links via end screen cards to send viewers to places that violates YouTube's guidelines, although did not offer further details.
YouTubers that sign up to the Partner Program are then able to restore their Patreon links, and keep the monetisation system turned off in order to deliver an ad-free experience for their subscribers.
Channels require 10,000 views to join, with no requirement in terms of the number of subscribers.
Part of the confusion that emerged will no doubt stem from the timing of this change, following hot on the heels of YouTube's new sponsorship model. This allows viewers to pay a monthly fee to their favourite creators, similar to Twitch's sponsorship system, with some speculating that the changes was a move to compel channel hosts to swap Patreon for this new model.