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Creator Weekly: YouTube Video Sorting, FTC Endorsement Guide, Twitter Requires Log-In

Creator Weekly for July 1, 2023

Happy Canada Day and US Independence Day weekend to folks North America! I hope everyone is having a nice summer weekend.

This week Twitter is no longer visible to signed-out users, the US FTC has a new Guide on how to comply with endorsement rules, there was a question whether Google has been deceiving advertisers who purchased video ads, plus a few small updates for YouTubers and more.

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5K Hooray!

My YouTube channel finally reached 5,000 subscribers this week! 
Thank you so much for subscribing and watching.

(At the rate I’m gaining subscribers, it will take 10 more years to hit 10K :/)

#OnEBoardChat: Merch & Online Shops

OnEBoard Chat promo for July 1, 2023

I’m hosting this week’s #OnEBoardChat on Twitter on Sunday at 11AM Pacific Time (immediately after Creator Weekly Live). The topic will be merch and online shops.

Many platforms have started adding tools for creators to sell products.
I haven’t used any of these myself, but I’m interested in learning more and chatting about this.

If you sell merch or have an online shop, or if you have purchased merch from a creator, I’d love to hear about your experience. The discussion is open to anyone on Twitter who wants to join.

Follow me on Twitter or follow the #OnEBoardChat hashtag.

Tweets No Longer Visible to Logged-Out Users

On Friday, Twitter stopped allowing signed-out users to view profiles or read Tweets.

Gabor Cselle, founder of rival T2 platform, was previously the Product Manager for logged-out Twitter, and he notes that logged-out views are a significant portion of Twitter’s traffic, so this is a big deal.

For now, it looks like embedded Tweets are maybe still working. I just published a roundup of #OnEBoardChat conversations for June that loads OK even in an Incognito window. But there are also reports that embedded Tweets are not showing on WhatsApp, Slack and some other sites.

And Tweets are still showing in the Google Search results. But if you click a Tweet in Google Search and you are not logged in to Twitter, you end up seeing a login prompt rather than the Tweet on Twitter.

This was apparently an intentional change, to prevent Twitter content from being scraped. (Andrew Hutchinson at Social Media Today suggests it’s aimed particularly at OpenAI’s content scraping to train ChatGPT.)

It is not clear if this could become a permanent change or what the long term effects might be.

New FTC Endorsement Guides

The Federal Trade Commission enforces federal consumer protection laws in the US. They have published an updated Endorsement Guide with the answers to frequently asked questions about what is and is not allowed.

Read FTC's Endorsement Guides: What People Are Asking | Federal Trade Commission

They note that if you are outside the US, these guidelines likely apply to you if your content will be seen by US consumers.

Some highlights:
  • You need to clearly and conspicuously disclose that you received a product for free or compensation for a review. The compensation does not have to be a payment for it to be required to be disclosed (free travel, significant discounts, a special opportunity to appear on TV are all examples of non-monetary compensation that may need to be disclosed).
  • If you have an endorsement deal with a brand, you must disclose that if you criticize a competitor brand.
  • You may need to disclose personal connections. An example: if you are part of a group of authors who post reviews for each other on book sites, you must disclose you are part of that group. Friend and family relationships may also be relevant.
  • A text disclosure in the description of a TikTok or YouTube video, or an Instagram post, is not sufficient because many viewers won’t see that. If the endorsement is visual, there should be a visual disclosure in the video or post. If the endorsement is audible or spoken, there also needs to be an audible disclosure.
  • A linked disclosure on your website or blog is not sufficient, because many consumers won’t click the link. It’s recommended to have the disclosure “very close to, or – even better – part of, the endorsement to which it relates”.
  • The disclosure “should catch users’ attention and be placed where they aren’t likely to miss it” and “should use a simple-to-read font with a contrasting background that makes it stand out”.
  • If you share affiliate links on your blog, website, or video description you need to disclose your affiliate relationship near the links and in the content itself (so, for example, in a YouTube video that reviews a product if there is an affiliate link in the description).
It sounds like it probably shouldn't be that difficult to comply, if you focus on clearly disclosing any possible reason that your endorsement might be influenced by compensation or a relationship with the brand or business.

There is a lot more information at the link.

Is Google Misleading Advertisers about their TrueView Video Ads?

Adalytics is a data collection company that “crowd sources” ad data gathered from a browser extension. The idea is that as people with the extension installed visit websites, and it “logs, categorizes, and summarizes” the ads they are served.

They published a report this week claiming that Google may have “mislead advertisers about TrueView skippable in-stream ads for the past three years”. While this was reported on some news sites as being related to “YouTube ads”, the report actually looked at video ads Google serves on third party websites that are part of the Google Video Partner network (GVP).

Their claim is that in some cases:
  • Advertisers didn’t know their video ads would be embedded on these third party sites (some of which are low quality)
  • The video ads auto-play.
  • The video ads are muted.
  • The video player with the ads wasn’t always visible.
Google responded that the report is misleading, and was based on “unreliable sampling and proxy methodologies”. They say:
  • The “overwhelming majority” of video ad campaigns run on YouTube, not GVP.
  • Advertisers can see that their ads may run on third party sites when they set up their advertising campaign, and they can opt out.
  • Advertisers can see where their money is being spent.
  • 90% of GVP ads are viewable, and advertisers only pay when they are viewed.
  • Google stops serving ads on a site when they detect it is violating their ad policies.
  • They offer independent third party validation and there is detailed data available through Ads Data Hub
I’m not an advertiser, so I can’t speak to how accurate any of this is. But I think Google has an interest in retaining the confidence of advertisers, and I find it hard to imagine they knowingly ran ads on low quality sites or allowed ad placement that violated their terms.

It sounds to me like it is a good idea for businesses to take a deeper look at where their ads are running.

And publishers should confirm the ad implementation on their sites aren’t violating the Google Publisher Policies.

YouTube and Video

YouTube launched (actually relaunched) a much-requested feature this week: the ability to sort videos on a channel by oldest first. All you need to do is open a channel, click the Videos or Live tab, and then the “Oldest” filter. This is not available on the Shorts tab. Watch this week’s Creator Insider News Flash for more information.

YouTube also launched a small quality-of-life improvement. You can now hide your latest video’s ranking on your YouTube studio dashboard. That way if you don’t want to see it, you don’t have to. Watch this video from Creator Insider for more information.

TikTok is introducing Subscriber-Only Videos as part of its LIVE Subscription features. Eligible creators who live stream on the platform can earn from LIVE subscriptions, and offer their fans the subscriber-only (non-live) videos, along with subscriber-only live streams, badges, emotes and chats. To be eligible creators must have at least 1,000 followers.

TikTok Creative Challenge is a new way for creators to make money by submitting video ads to brand challenges. The reward is based on views, clicks and conversions. And the nice thing is that submitted videos do not appear on the creator’s profile.

Web Publishing

As of this writing, Google’s Universal Analytics is collecting its last data. As of July 1, only the new GA4 will collect website analytics data going forward. Hopefully you have migrated your sites. Google has training to help you get to know how it works.

Google Sites now lets you easily duplicate images, buttons and text boxes.

Social Media

The Perspectives filter in Google Search, announced in May at Google I/O, has gone live in the US in the Google mobile app and Google Search for mobile web. The idea is that it makes it easier to find perspectives from knowledgeable individuals on various social sites. To view it, just do a search, then tap the Perspectives feature at the top of the screen. I’m seeing results there from YouTube, Quora, TikTok, Stack Exchange, Reddit and other sites.

Meta has published a detailed overview of how AI systems influence what you see on Facebook and Instagram. You can do a deep dive into particular systems, like Facebook Video. It covers the predictions the system makes (“How likely you are to watch more than 75% of a video”) and what signals it uses to make those predictions. It is an interesting read and could be useful for both influencing what is recommended to you, as well as understanding how your content is recommended to others.

LinkedIn recently updated their feed algorithm to reduce the amount of non-professional content (like viral content from other platforms), prioritize content from people you know, and highlight expert knowledge and advice. This sounds like it could be a significant improvement. Social Media Today has the story.

Chris Messina, inventor of the social media hashtag, writes about problems with hashtags and how they could be more accessible.


David Pierce, editor at The Verge, spoke to original members of the Google Reader team and there was more to it than I realized. There where dreams to turn it into a portal for all kinds of content (feeds, podcasts, photos, YouTube videos etc) with social features. Could it have been a better social app than Google+? It’s hard to know. But I personally doubt it ever would have had Google-sized numbers of users (but maybe they could have been Twitter-sized).

If you use Pocket to read and save articles from around the web, you will soon have to transition to a Firefox account. Prompts will be shown starting July 11, and the move to Firefox login will be complete on August 15. If you currently log in via Apple or Google account, you don’t need to do anything, as your Google or Apple sign in will be moved to a new Firefox account.

Canada’s newly enacted Bill C-18 (Online News Act) requires Google and Meta to pay for linking to Canadian news publications. Both companies have responded that rather than pay, they will no longer link. Google says they are removing links to Canadian news sites in Search, News and Discover, and will stop operating the Google News Showcase in Canada. Meta says content from news publishers and broadcasters will no longer be available to Facebook and Instagram users in Canada. This sounds like it’s a losing situation all around.

Google Chat isn’t just for businesses. Google published an overview of features useful to personal accounts, including Smart Compose, message editing, quoting a message in a response, read receipts, linked text (coming soon), and the ability to install apps (like Zapier, Asana or other third party tools).

Google Meet is simplifying meeting access controls. There are three access levels: Open (anyone with a link can directly join), Trusted (anyone in the host’s Google Workspace organization or with a Calendar invite can join directly, everyone else asks to join), Restricted (only meeting invitees can join directly, everyone else must ask to join). Hosts can set whether guests can join the meeting before they arrive. This is available to all accounts starting July 17.

Bing’s AI Image Creator is now available in Skype conversations.

Google Meet also updated the meeting interface on the web to allow more actions from the menu on a participant’s video feed. On your own feed you can minimize, reframe, add effects or pin yourself.

That’s all the updates for this week. Subscribe to get the Weekly Update in your email inbox or favorite feed reader every week. Miss last week’s update? Get the June 24 edition here.

Header image background: Fireworks photo by Designecologist: (free for commercial use)