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YouTube revises changes to verification badges

YouTube has backtracked (at least a bit) on their plans to change the verification badge system in response to considerable concern and confusion from creators.
To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we're working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon. — Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019 Today, after an apology from CEO Susan Wojcicki YouTube announced a change in plans:
currently verified channels (like mine) will keep their verification badgechannels with 100,000 subscribers can apply for verification via an improved review processreplacement of the checkmark badge won't happen until next yearsome channels that are "well-known outside of YouTube" may be "proactively verified" even if they have fewer than 100,000 subscribersYesterday YouTube announced substantial ch…

YouTube tightens verification eligibility requirements

September 20, 2019: YouTube has revised and reversed some of the changes listed below. See my updated post for details.
---------- YouTube is changing the criteria for verification to focus on "prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity". YouTube will automatically verify creators, artists, companies and public figures that meet the following criteria: A large audience and community on YouTubeWide recognition outsize of YouTube, with a strong online presenceYour channel has a unique name could be confused with other YouTube channels There isn't any way to request verification. 
Verified channels will no longer have a special checkmark badge. Instead the channel name will have a grey background to highlight the channel name.
YouTube says one reason they are making this change is that many viewers associate the checkmark with an endorsement of content, rather than identity. The new look will display across all platforms and "is more difficult to…

Add timestamps to your YouTube videos for Key Moments to appear in Search

Starting today, Google Search results will start showing "key moments within videos".
When you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. You’ll be able to easily scan to see whether a video has what you’re looking for, and find the relevant section of the content. For people who use screen readers, this change also makes video content more accessible. This currently is only available for Google Search in English.  \And I'm currently only seeing it in the Google mobile app, not on desktop.

For your videos to show up in Search with a "key moments" timeline, all you need to do is add timestamps to your YouTube video descriptions.

Timestamps are formatted as minutes:seconds, so if you discuss three topics, starting at 30 seconds, 2 minutes 10 seconds and 5 minutes 30 seconds, you would add …

AdSense changes behavior of responsive ad units - check your ad code!

AdSense has changed the way responsive ad units work to improve performance on desktop. They have also enabled more ad size combinations. These changes may require you to modify the ad code or the HTML of your site.
Responsive ad units automatically adapt the size of the ads to fit your page layout. It can adapt to different browser window sizes, from a large desktop window, to a tiny browser window on a mobile phone. And it can adjust the ad size when a phone's orientation is changed from portrait to landscape.

Now a responsive ad unit can resize the HTML container that it is within. That means you may need to modify either the ad code or your site to make sure AdSense can calculate the ad size correctly.
The ad code should not be in a container with a fixed or limited heightThe ad code should to be a container with a width set (or the ad code must be modified).Third party scripts executed before the responsive ad code may require you to specify the ad sizeRead on for more details…

Weekly Update - September 14, 2019: Blogger, Google Search, Photos

This week there are a heap of updates for bloggers, webmasters, YouTubers, business owners and much more.
If you use Blogger in Draft, you should see a “Try the New Blogger” button on the left menu. If you opt in, you can try out a new mobile-friendly design for the Blogger Comments and Stats pages. You can switch back to Classic Blogger at any time, so there’s no reason not to give it a whirl. I’ve written up an overview of the changes. Will there be more? The message you see after opting in says “Blogger is gradually introducing some fresh pages that work well on mobile. Keep an eye in the coming months as these are rolled out.” Google Photos now shows story-like “Memories” at the top of your gallery, with machine-learning curated photos and videos from previous years. Ane in near future you will see the photos and videos you’ve shared with friends or family - and that they have shared with you - as an ongoing private conversation (yes, another way to message on Google) making it ea…

Google Search will use nofollow, sponsored, and ugc link attributes as "hints"

Google has announced two new link attributes, "sponsored" and "ugc". Those, in addition to "nofollow",  will provide hints about what links Google will consider or exclude from search.

In 2005, Google introduced the rel="nofollow" link attribute as a way for bloggers to "prevent comment spam". Adding that attribute meant that "those links won't get any credit" when Google ranked websites in the Google Search results.

Google has also long recommended that sponsored or advertising links be given the "nofollow" attribute so they not be considered part of a "Link Scheme". And "nofollow" is used by bloggers and webmasters to link to sites they don't necessarily want to endorse.

There are now two new link attributes webmasters can use:

rel="sponsored" can be used to identify advertising or compensated links.

rel="ugc" can be used to identify links in User Generated Content, s…

Try out the new more mobile-friendly Blogger!

Blogger is finally getting a mobile-friendly interface! Starting today, you can try out the updated version of your blog's Comments and Stats pages by switching to Blogger Draft and opting in to new Blogger. The new design is cleaner, more modern, and responsive, so it works in any size browser window.
"Blogger is gradually introducing some fresh pages that work well on mobile. Keep an eye in the coming months as these are rolled out. To start, check out Stats, Comments, and Theme." Note: only the updated Stats and Comments pages are available today. Classic Comments Page Interface
New Comments Page Interface
To opt in, first switch your account to Blogger in Draft in your Blogger's Settings > User Settings.  You should see a big Try the new Blogger button at the bottom of the left menu. Click that to get started. (If you don't see the button, make sure you are on draft.blogger.com) You can see the new interface by clicking Stats or Comments on the left menu…

Weekly Update - September 7, 2019: Android 10, YouTube, AdSense

This week Android Q graduated to Android 10, YouTube announced new privacy practices for content aimed at kids and a new fashion hub, AdSense will require re-review of inactive sites, you can find more movies and TV shows in search and much more.
Android 10 was released for Pixel phones. It didn’t get sweet Q nickname, and the official statue isn’t quite as much fun as previous versions, but has some nice features, like device Dark Theme, new gesture navigation, better control over notifications, Focus Mode to silence distracting apps, and improved privacy controls.AdSense is now requires sites that are “inactive” for at least five months to be re-reviewed to display ads again. If any of your sites have been inactive for at least four months, you should see a notice on the Sites page of your AdSense account. You can reactivate a website by placing ads on it. If you do that before the five month deadline, your site will not have to be reviewed again.Fashion! Turn to the left. Fashion! …

AdSense removing "inactive" sites from the Sites list

Any website in your AdSense Sites list that does not show ads for 5 months will have to go through the review process again to display ads.

AdSense now shows a warning message if you have any sites in your Sites list that has not shown ads for at least four months.  That gives you one month to get ads showing again.

If your site does not show ads for over five months, it will need to be reviewed to show ads again.
Check if any of your sites are inactive in AdSense 1. Sign in to AdSense (www.google.com/adsense)

2. If any of your sites have not shown ads for at least four months, you should see a notification under the bell and a banner at the top of your account.

3. Click Go to Sites on the warning banner, or click Sites on the left menu.

4. The Sites page will have a box with a list of Inactive Sites URLs

Note: if you set up AdSense for your Blogger blog, then later added a Custom Domain, the old blogspot.com URL may be inactive. That should not be a problem as long as your Custom Dom…

YouTube will treat all "children's content" as if kids are watching

YouTube is making changes to treat all "children's content" as if a child is watching. That will affect the way they collect data, serve ads, and what engagement features are available.

If you create YouTube videos that could be considered "children's content" upcoming changes may affect your channel. And if you are a parent, you'll be glad to learn that YouTube is finally acknowledging that younger kids aren't always using YouTube Kids to watch videos.
Starting in about four months, we will treat data from anyone watching children’s content on YouTube as coming from a child, regardless of the age of the user. That means the changes will go into effect around the beginning of January 2020.

Here is what's changing on videos "made for kids":
YouTube will limit data collection to "only to what is needed to support the operation of the service"YouTube will stop serving personalized ads. Non-personalized ads may still be served if…

Weekly Update - August 31, 2019: YouTube, AdSense, Kids

Monday is Labor Day in the US, the unofficial end of summer. Pack away your swimsuit, put on a sweater, and dig in to this week’s updates and tips. There is news for YouTubers, AdSense Publishers and more.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki posted her quarterly update for creators, with a discussion of how YouTube tries to balance “openness” with protecting the YouTube community. She argues that having an open platform gives “diverse and authentic voices” a platform and helps build community. But that also means allowing some controversial and offensive content. So YouTube tries to follow the “4 Rs”: quickly Remove policy-violating content, Raise-up authoritative voices, Reduce the spread of content that almost (but doesn’t quite) violate policy, and Reward eligible creators with monetization opportunities.
To that end, YouTube made changes to their recommendation system in the US to reduce the spread of problematic content. That worked well enough that they are testing similar changes in the…

YouTube no longer automatically publishes community contributions due to "spam and abuse"

Because of an "increase in abuse and spam" in Community Contributions, all contributions will be held for channel owner review.

As a YouTube creator, you can enable Community Contributions to allow your fans to add subtitles and translate the titles and descriptions of your videos. It's a great way to help reach viewers all around the world.

But, as with so many good things, spammers ruin it for everyone.

How Community Contributions work 1. Viewers submit contributions
2. YouTube moderates submissions for spam and inappropriate content.
3. If enough people have added translations to a video, the community is asked to help review them.

Previously, when a submission got enough reviews, it was automatically approved for the video. Unfortunately, this process was not working well enough, and contributions with spam and abusive language sometimes were published.

Now, all contributions are held for manual review by the channel owner before publication
Enable Community Contribu…

View your YouTube channel's total subscriber count after public numbers are abbreviated

Starting the week of September 2, YouTube will stop publicly displaying exact subscriber counts. You will still be able to see your own channel's exact number of subscribers in YouTube Analytics.

YouTube announced in May that they would abbreviate public subscriber counts to help make the numbers more consistent across YouTube.

And it's true that the numbers don't exactly match anywhere. Here are the current numbers for my channel: On my channel: 2,895Social Blade: 2,894Dashboard of YouTube Studio Beta and YouTube Studio app for Android: 2,890YouTube Analytics in Studio Beta: 2,886YouTube subscribe button (on the right menu here): 2k  That's not a very big difference, but it makes a case that those last digits aren't that precise at a given time.
This change will also affect the YouTube API, which means features like Social Blade’s popular live subscriber counts - watched both by excited creators nearing a milestone and by gawkers of the latest YouTube drama - will …

Google Streamlining Publisher Policies & Adding Policy Change Log for AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager

Google announced that publisher policies for AdSense, AdMob and Ad Manager will be streamlined and simplified starting in September 2019. Each product will have a change log where publishers can easily find any updates. 
This change is meant to simplify finding policy information and to standardize policy across all Google's publisher products.

Policy will cover two categories of content.
The Google Publisher Policies cover content that Google will not monetize with ads. Trying to place ads on such content is now, and will continue to be, an AdSense policy violation that could result in account suspension or termination.The Google Publisher Restrictions covers content that Google will not place Google Ads on, but that you can monetize with other advertising products or with direct deals with advertisers. Placing ads on this content will NOT be an AdSense policy violation. Google will use the new Publisher Change Logs to announce updates and changes to policy. As a Publisher, you ar…

Week in Review - August 24, 2019: Blogger, YouTube, Hangouts

This was a busy week in the Googleverse, with updates for YouTube, Photos, AdSense, Duo and much more. I looked back on Blogger’s 20 years and forward the rescheduled migration from Hangouts in late 2020.
Twenty years ago this week Blogger was born. I took a look back and talk about why Blogger is my chosen blogging platform.Starting this month Google Photos is rolling out the ability to search your photos by the text in them. You can use built-in Google Lens to copy the text once you find it.Engadget reports that Google Photos face grouping is finally rolling out across Europe. It’s not clear where exactly this feature is available. Check your account to see if the option to enable face grouping is available.YouTube has updated their policy to start removing “mature” content that targets younger children and families, including videos with sexual themes, obscene content, and violence. Previously such videos were age-restricted. Similar content that does not explicitly target younger…

Happy 20th Birthday Blogger!

Twenty years ago today, folks were Livin' la Vida Loca and Blogger was born at Pyra Labs*.
Blogger Home Page October 1999
"Weblogs" were a fairly new idea, and Blogger was not only one of the first weblog platforms, but also helped popularize the terms "blog" and "blogging", which is not quite as much of a mouthful.
Pyra Labs' Meg Hourihan on the origin of the word "Blogger"
Blog*Spot free hosting service for Blogger-powered blogs, April 2011
After struggles with funding, Blogger was sold to Google in February 2003. This may have rescued the platform, as Guardian reported at the time:
The sale is a dramatic turnaround for San Francisco-based Blogger, which rode the high and subsequent low of the dotcom boom. The company was founded in 1999, and Mr Williams had to lay off the company's entire staff in late 2000. He continued to maintain the service by himself from his home until last year, when he increased revenues by starting a premiu…
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