It appears that the popular YouTube channel SermonIndex has been deleted by YouTube "due to multiple or severe violations of YouTube's policy against spam, deceptive practices, and misleading content or ther Terms of Service violations."
YT has a standard policy regarding complaints about channels: "Anyone on Youtube can submit a complaint, and YouTube will delete a channel after three strikes. No appeal. No questions asked." said Donny Soles, III a law student at Regent University. "This is YouTube's developed method of community policing."
Many people are sure to be upset about this, as the channel had accumulated 34+M views, 100k subscribers, and over 5k videos.
Greg Gordon, the channel owner and site owner of SermonIndex.net, submitted a complaint to YouTube but received a vague reply. "At this point I have to believe there is religious discrimination possibly involved and this does not seem normal to have no email warning or exact reason why the account is deleted." Greg explained on his forum asking for prayers.
Unfortunately, since YouTube has this community policing in place there may be no way of fighting back. The policy is there to allow community members to report any channels they feel are in violation of YT's guidelines, which is great for spam, pornography, etc. However it does leave any controversial channels vulnerable to attacks.
Perhaps SerminIndex will be able to build a case of an attack and get the channel restored (which had an estimated annual earnings of up to $30k - they monitize 5% of the videos at roughly $80 a month). Other notable instances of videos being removed have gotten a lot of attention, and some were even being restored though with negative ramifications.
Possible #censoring of @SermonIndex channel by @YouTube? Or is it just policy? -@elohimito
Building on a Rented Lot
Michael Hyatt once wrote on how content creators should not Build Your Social Media House on a Rented Lot, and his words are directly applicable here:
I was an early adopter and advocate of social media. I still am. But I encourage everyone interested in growing a platform to begin with a home base that you control. Use other services to expand your reach, but build your house on your own lot.
Michael is saying we should not have our businesses/ministries/hobbies rely on other platforms (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook) to exist. Use them to build a following and distribute your content only.
Wise words here, and while SermonIndex has their own platform for audio sermons, they may need to consider a new way to host thier videos.
What do you think? Was this censoring, or just policy? Is SermonIndex merely collateral damage in this war on spam and real violations?
**UPDATE: YouTube has "re-reviewed" the account and has concluded that it is not in violation of their Terms of Service, and have therefore unsuspended the account. The channel is "once again active and operational, and in good standing."
Reasons for the original shutdown are still not given, which is somewhat disheartening to Greg. However this is tremendous news, nonetheless!