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YouTube Surreptitiously Brings New Video Content Email Notifications to an End

Content AlertsMedia WorkflowNotificationssocial mediayoutube+-

Some of you may have been somewhat mystified like I was last Thursday (August 13th) when I suddenly stopped receiving my YouTube New Content Alerts notifications for the various Channels I am subscribed to. I don’t recall having seen any official messaging from YouTube / Google as to the fact that this was happening / about to happen - and I had to do some quite substantial digging to find the relevant 3rd party news stories about this policy change. Before I realised what had happened I thought some weird spam filter had kicked in or that YouTube had changed its settings somehow - but those Email Notification settings are weirdly still there and fully properly ticked too - so most misleading and confusing really.


YouTube reasoned that only 0.1% of those emails were being clicked on, and that in fact those email notifications rather triggered unsubscribes than any positive uptake or uptick in viewing figures. I would personally contest some of the rationale behind that - while I concede that I frequently didn’t click on the message URL - but rather just used that as an alert to go to YouTube directly - where I would engage in all manner of follow-on activities which were obviously not connected back to the original notification email and thus not tracked by YouTube/Google - although the notifications very much triggered those activities.


I do admit that I was having something of an inbox backlog issue at times with the sheer number of notifications I was receiving - but for many of the duties I serve - it was essential to have some sort of reference target list over what was happening - so I could easily reference and generate content from and with those new videos.


For someone mostly running via Safari on a MacBook Pro - I’ve suffered more than a few issues with YouTube of late which seems to be increasingly fragile in its regular function on that platform. I would also still like some more rigid format of notifications referencing - but I cannot find a way to sync those now push-only YouTube notifications (incoming to iPhone) to my desktop environment. I’m largely now having to park YouTube permanently in a browser window and check regularly in on the drop-down Notifications alerts menu thereof - which is not as solid a means as I previously had at my disposal. Possibly we will now get some new apps that can convey those push notifications better on desktop - we shall see.


And while YouTube has put and end to the New Content Email Notifications - there is one kind of email notification you can still get - the good old fashion ’Set Reminder’ for live broadcasts and YouTube Premier events - which is a somewhat clunky and manual approach - and relies on your being aware of what is happening in the first place without getting anything to alert you of that actual happening! Nowadays lots of things are announced via Instagram - so you have a weird dependency on third party notifications - which are equally unreliable in most ways.


I’m generally annoyed by anything that happens without the general consultation of the community. And I feel that there could have been far less drastic ways to deal with this. I am pretty sure that content creators will suffer in the end - as more of their great content will slip through the net - and say when I’m on holiday or on a break - I won’t get a backlog list of what I missed - and there’s no easy way to scroll through all your Channel Subscriptions to check on all the new content you missed within a specific time period.


So I view this as something of a significant reduction in service - and considering I’m a YouTube Premium customer - a significant change in terms of service provision without any notification to the customer. Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube and Twitter and other similar social media services typically run roughshod over any kind of consumer charter - and largely do a number of things surreptitiously and ongoingly - wholly unannounced and without consumer or community consultation. This is all tantamount to really poor customer service - and in many instances is actual customer exploitation.


To me this one singular cessation is a fairly major cutback in service - which puts me at a significant disadvantage compared to where I was previously. The one good side is that my email inbox is less hectic nowadays - but I’m pretty sure I’m missing out on essential trending content which is often the lifeblood for newsflow for the various sites I create content for.


This one simple act has fairly majorly impacted and disrupted my ability to follow and track quite so many different sources - you just can’t cover the same ground via manually scrolling and looking for those sorts of things on an ad hoc basis. For me these were essential bookmarks to what was happening - and I experience this as a major loss - what say all of you?


UPDATE - So while I still miss the sort of list-management functionality I had with the previous system of email notifications and being able to sort and categorise those in my inbox, I have since grown accustomed to using the ’Subscriptions’ screen and ’Notifications’ drop-down more in YouTube - which doesn’t really resolve the long-term absence issues, but gives me a sort of workable system for day-to-day stuff. I do now tend to have to have the YouTube page open on a tab for most of the day - versus the dipping in and out that I used to enjoy. I understand why these new changes were made, but I’m pretty sure they are non-optimal for several users and content creators.

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