YouTube has another brand safety emergency to deal with, and this time it’s adding a lot of human moderators—10,000—to verify that Google Preferred stock doesn’t contain inappropriate content, such as (ugh) dead bodies.
This latest crisis started when YouTube star Logan Paul posted a video that showed a suicide victim in Japan. The internet and media latched on to the story, leaving the company to explain to its brand marketer customers how a video from its high-priced Google Preferred tier was suddenly the most notorious thing online.
Google Preferred was born after last year’s YouTube brand safety crisis, creating a supposedly super-safe level of content for premier brands. This latest flare-up shows how difficult vetting the world’s largest video library really is. To assuage advertisers this time, YouTube is adding 10,000 human moderators to look through videos one-by-one before they’re approved. This is in addition to the artificial intelligence software already in place. Google Preferred will also include videos from a select white-listed assortment of publishers.
The last time around, YouTube made the crisis into a positive. While it experienced a brief ad slump from top-tier brands and agencies, sales soon came back even stronger, and those advertisers paid even more for Google Preferred placement. Maybe that’s why there isn’t much sense of crisis coming from YouTube this time around.
“We built Google Preferred to help our customers easily reach YouTube’s most passionate audiences and we’ve seen strong traction in the last year with a record number of brands,” a Google spokesperson told Bloomberg. “We are discussing and seeking feedback from our brand partners on ways to offer them even more assurances for what they buy in the Upfronts.”
Google Preferred contains around 9,000 channels, and that number is expected to decrease as the tier becomes more select and scrutinized.
As for Mr. Paul, YouTube removed him from the Google Preferred program, although it didn’t cancel his account or stop his ability to make money from ads. It also cancelled projects it was working on with him. Leave a comment below to guess how long his digital exile will last.