YouTube CliffsNotes | Living the Write Life

After seeing the latest “couch-side chat” by MatPat (host/owner of The Game Theorists channel–among others) where he discusses how the good that YouTubers do is largely overlooked by the news media, my first reaction was “duh.” (Click here for the video.)

He mentions how a public relations person told him that no one is interested in good news about YouTubers. As a once-upon-a-time reporter (and for a short period a PR person), I was not surprised by this statement. The first thing they tell you when you walk through the Journalism 101 door is “if it bleeds it leads.”

It’s not just YouTubers that are targeted by this “no one interested in the good news they do” belief, it’s everyone. I can’t tell you how many times I pitched a “good” news story only to have it rejected or published on page 25.

The reason for the “no good news” is partly because “bad news” is what sells. News media operates by lowest common dominator, which sadly is drugs, sex, and violence. People are more interested in reading about a scandal or accident or disaster–probably because these things end up affecting people. The story about the 100-year-old woman is cute but how does it affect the average person. The story about the tornado ripping through a town impacts more, especially if you have friends or family there.

The “bad news” is also easier to write from a reporting perspective. It’s a lot easier to find an angle for a story where YouTuber X is found to be a child predator versus YouTuber X donated $2,000 to charity. In the later, pretty much all your questions are answered within a few words; the former creates questions and creates more stories (i.e. coverage of a trial, controversy over if YouTube should run background checks, etc). In the charity example, you get one, maybe two, stories. In the child predator story, you get hundreds.

But, I’m not here to talk about business theory or sociology or psychology. I’m here to talk about the second thing I thought of after watching the video. How do people find out about all these news/debate topics and still spend hours upon hours on their videos? Is there a YouTube CliffsNotes I don’t know about?

So, naturally I began thinking about how funny that would be if there were CliffsNotes on YouTube Creators/Channels (there might be; I just said I’m not “in the loop”). Wouldn’t that be weird/cool to walk into a bookstore and there is CliffsNotes: MatPat? It’d be full of all the stuff about his channels you’d need to know, like “clap and a half,” and “#BlameJason,” and “Pro Tips.” It would also have brief summaries of the more popular videos.

Or how about a “For Dummies” spin-off/series. Grian for Dummies or Domics for Dummies.

I’m sorry, these are the weird rabbit holes that writers/artists find themselves in sometimes. But, you can’t tell me that you would rather have a post discussing news media theory or dissecting an Internet video than hearing about Let Me Explain Studios for Dummies.

Two hours later…

Two hundred dislikes?!

OK, so maybe you would rather have a post dissecting a video…


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

The latest Side Quest short story Carl Rogers Is Missing is out now for FREE.

Defy Media v YouTube Creators

It started with a The Game Theorists video called “They stole $1.7 Million.” I was hesitant at first about clicking the video, it sounded clickbaity. But, I clicked anyway; I’ve been watching Game Theorists’ videos for awhile now and figured, “meh.” It started out with MatPat talking about all the high and low points of 2018. I thought, “Oh, it’s one of those videos,” but I was interested in what this $1.7 million was about. Finally, the video came to Defy Media, a YouTube multi-channel network (MCN), and how it stole from 50 YouTube Creators. Now, I’m looking into the issue myself (*sigh* How do I keep getting myself in these messes.)

According to the video and YouTube’s support page, an MCN helps channels with “audience development, content programming, creator collaborations, digital rights management, monetization, and/or sales.” It kind of works like a publishing company. An author submits their manuscript and if the company likes it, they distribute it and help the author with marketing, sales, legal issues, editing, and so on. When a book sells, the money goes to the company; they take their piece; and give the royalties to the author. The MCN does the same (except the Creator publishes the video on YouTube and YouTube distributes it); YouTube pays the MCN the ad money; the MCN takes their cut and gives the rest to the Creator. It’s not that abnormal of a process. It works pretty smoothly until someone decides to be a jerk.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Defy Media announced its closer on Nov. 6 and that most, if not all, of their YouTube affiliates found out through the press, not the company. The YouTube Creators naturally began wondering about their AdSense paychecks, since YouTube sends the money to Defy Media and they give it to the Creators. So, the Creators asked Defy Media what was happening. According to the article, they got little to no response. Even The Hollywood Reporter couldn’t get the Defy Media CEO Matthew Diamond to comment.

The article continues to state that, “Some partner managers who were laid off are still responding to creators’ requests via personal phone numbers and email addresses, say sources, but they have had few answers.” In other words, some of the employees who just lost their jobs are now using their own time and resources to try and manage the mess.

Fortunately, YouTube has stepped forward to say that they will begin sending the Creators’ next paychecks to the Creators. But, some Creators say Defy Media still owes them money, specifically the money Defy Media received before the closure (Sept. and Oct.).

Also, according to the article, many of the YouTube Creators believe that Ally Bank now has control over the money. These Creators have been contacting the bank in order to let them know that some of the money is theirs. Again, they haven’t been told much. The Hollywood Reporter tried to get in touch with Ally Bank but the spokesperson “did not respond to a THR’s request for an interview.” I can understand that Ally needs time to look through the Defy Media records, discuss what to do, and so on, but at least tell people, “We’re looking into it; we’ll let you know more at X time.” Even a little information is better than none.

Apparently, Variety and The Verge also had trouble reaching Defy Media so they could tell their side of the issue. The Verge adds that Defy Media has also gone “radio silent on social media.” I recently checked Defy Media’s Twitter feed; the last tweet was in September of last year, and it was nothing about closing down. Their Facebook page also ends in September with no mention of a shutdown. And their website no longer exists.

The THR article further states that not only are the YouTube Creators angry, but so are the laid off employees. At least one has filed a class-action lawsuit stating that Defy Media didn’t inform them as is required by law. It turns out, Defy Media did send them the proper paperwork stating that the company would continue to run until Jan. 2, but they then closed at the end of Nov. 6–the day the employees got the letter.

So, what can you do? Research the topic for yourself, come to your own conclusions, then (if you so choose) support whichever side it is you believe to be right. If you believe the YouTube Creators, you can support their channels (some are listed listed in the above mentioned articles). You can also tell others about the issue through social media or on your own blog. If you believe Defy Media, you can do the same, share your opinion on social media.


Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Civil War Comes to Hermitcraft

After what seems like weeks of preparations, the cease-fire flag has finally come down, or more accurately been blown up.

What started out as a simple prank war between the G-Team and Team Star quickly escalated into a chaotic battle of fireballs and fire charges. Both sides seemed unprepared for the devastation. In what seemed like only a few minutes, the battlefield was in flames and both teams retreated. Fortunately, or unfortunately, both the water filter and turtle…I mean, G-Team and Team Star bases were virtually unharmed in the battle.

But, there were some sacrifices…namely the witch Gertrude (who was replaced by another Gertrude) and the hundreds of poor zombies G-Team released upon Team Star. Let’s have a moment of silence for the fallen code.

So far the only winner in this war has been cubfan135, who has been supplying both sides with arms (like TNT)–he’s been making a mint off the Hermitcraft Civil War. But, how long will it be before one side abducts Cubfan and forces him to make weapons for them. Cubfan will then have to become the Invincible Iron Fan.

As the dust settles, and the fires are put out, more questions arise. Which team will win? Who will strike first? Will Mumbo Jumbo be able to continue moling or will he get caught? When will this Civil War become part of the YouTube Cinematic Universe that Draw With Jazza began with his making YouTubers into superheroes (or villains) videos? How long before Thanos arrives and snaps half the Hermits into dust thus bringing us Hermitcraft: Endgame.

But possibly the most important question: how long can I keep a straight face while doing this post?

In all seriousness, the Hermitcraft “war” has been entertaining. If you wish to get in on the fun, here are a couple videos to get you started:

Hermitcraft VI: #38-Hermitcraft WAR! from Tengo Tek

Minecraft HermitCraft S6 | Ep 57: Chaos! from impulseSV

Hermitcraft 6: Episode 44: THE FUN BEGINS! from Grian

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers, such as Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Walmart eBooks, and more.

Please leave a review at your favorite retailer or on my Facebook page.

Recommended: Post 4

Film Theory: Can You Speak Groot: Find out what makes a language a language. Can only saying “I am Groot” be considered a language?

Mythlands: Mythical Origins by @JasonGreenfield: A story that brings together all the myths and legends throughout time. Every myth and legend lives together in the mysterious Mythlands. They work, play, and try to solve the mystery of how they got there.

Pokemon: Let’s Go Pikachu (or Eevee): While Blitzwinger only did the Pikachu version, it’s probably about the same for Eevee. I thought it was nice to return to a somewhat semi-Pokemon Yellow game and see it in more than 8 bits. I also enjoyed the surprise return of some old characters (and I’m not talking about Brock or Misty).

Joe Rover eBooks are available at Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and many other online retailers.

Recommended No. 3

Hermitcraft 6: Episode 31-POULTRY MAN RETURNS: A great intro created by Grian which teases a return of the Poultry Man character. Followed by more building and shenanigans.

Flawsome by @SerendipityD: An interesting story told from the perspective of someone suffering from a mental illness. The reader gets an inside look at how someone with mental illness can feel and think.

Sypro Reignited Trilogy: From what I’ve seen of the Blitzwinger walkthrough, the game looks like a fun and not too challenging game. It seems to be an ideal game for causal gamers or those who played the original Sypro games and wish to play again.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and many other online retailers.

Support Article 13? Pt 2

In the last post, I gave an overview of The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (aka Article 13). I talked about how it is meant to help creators by tightening the copyright laws, such as making service platforms like Twitter responsible for making sure posted content is not infringing on copyright. I also talked about how even though the proposal doesn’t aim at memes, they could suffer. But in this part, I want to talk about the service platforms, the creators, and the customers.

While the proposal is meant to help creators, it could harm them. And I’m not talking about how things like gameplay walkthroughs or theory channels or possibly review channels would be affected–they wouldn’t be able to show clips from the movies or games they are talking about or show cut-outs of the characters. I’m talking about the same thing that’ll affect both creator and customer: the money.

Let me explain…

Right now, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and so on are free for customers to use. Those customers include creators who post their vlog on YouTube or tweet a link to their latest blog entry to authors who use Facebook to advertise their latest book. You can also include those who just chat and show pictures of their lunch as customers. These services are free because Twitter (et cetera) don’t really do much. They are there as a tool. They are just the place to store and distribute whatever it is that people are posting–much like eBay is a marketplace distributor. But unlike eBay, YouTube and gang don’t charge a fee when someone buys a product…yet.

If Article 13 passes, these sites will need some kind of system to monitor the posts (I gave a few option examples in the last post). As I stated in the last post, all the options cost money and time. That money has to come from somewhere. Right now it is mostly from advertising or from special memberships. If the proposal passes, the services will need to spend more money to meet the new regulations. At first, it is unlikely they’ll charge for their services, but as time goes on and the cost of business exceeds the money from advertisers, they’ll need something. It’ll probably start out as an ad-free membership service. The free service will probably be garbage compared to the membership, prompting others to use it. Eventually, you’ll have to use the paid-for service or suffer.

So, customers will have to pay. That includes both creator and traditional customer. Many small business owners, such as animators, artists, authors, and so on rely heavily on social media platforms in order to create, distribute, and advertise. Even if developers/creators, like Epic Games, allow the walkthroughs, many of the YouTube creators won’t be able to afford publishing the video anyway. If they have to pay YouTube to post their video, chances are they won’t be able to afford it.

So, the creators lose their jobs and there’s no more content. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not paying $9.99 a month (or whatever the subscription fee will be) to watch cat videos. So…there goes the platform and countless other jobs.

You don’t think it’ll happen? Well, it’s already starting. YouTube has had their streaming/cable service for how long now? Also, look at television. At first, advertising paid for the show. You watched the ads and the creators got paid (sounds sort of familiar doesn’t it). But as costs went up, the stations needed more money, so they began charging the customers. And now years later, streaming services have come along and charge less causing people to dump the cable and subscribe to Hulu or Netflix.

How about the old video rental places like Blockbuster? Netflix charged less and offered more by having the movie sent to the person. Eventually Blockbuster closed and Netflix started increasing their price. Or how at first, you could get an iTunes song for $0.99, but as more people switched to digital, the price went up!

Sorry, my train of thought derailed there a bit.

What I’m trying to say is that at first, I supported the proposal–copyright is a good thing: people should be getting paid for their work (the Society of Authors makes a pretty good argument). But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that if it passes no one wins. The people who make reviews and theories and such lose their jobs. The platforms like YouTube and Twitter have to pay more to keep up with the new regulations (and if they can’t, they either fail or have to start charging or charge more). The customers will have to pay service fees to use the platform. The creators that the whole proposal is supposed to be protecting lose too. They could lose the free advertising and word of mouth that they get from social media, reviews, and theorists theorizing. They could lose the places that distribute their work, regardless if they are “original” or “review.” And, of course, the memes would get caught in the overzealous algorithm that would need to be created to meet the proposal’s regulations.

But hey, that’s just a theory…a business and human nature theory. Sorry, I had to get one more meme in…while I still can.

But in all seriousness, the proposal is a not that horrible of an idea, they just need to rethink their wording. Right now, the language is vague and really opens itself up to those with nefarious plots who wish to exploit the loopholes.

Joe Rover eBooks are available at many online retailers.

Tricks and Treats

Happy Halloween all you Internet pumpkins. My plans this year involve watching scary movies and eating candy till I puke (which at my age is like one Snickers bar). But, here’s a list of Halloween tricks and treats you might enjoy. Stay safe and have fun.

  • 1. Fang and Claw by @GlennKoerner (an anthology)
  • 2. Tricks No Treats by @Cal1018
  • 3. Trick-or-Treat Man by @SebJenkins & @arielklontz (comes with an alternate ending by each author)
  • 4. The Last Vampire by @JEHallows (ongoing story)
  • 5. A Tale for Halloween by Colin Garrow, free at most online retailers
  • 6. An EVO murder mystery, Minecraft YouTubers Netty Plays, SystemZee, Solidarity, and others are invited to dinner at a mansion
  • 7. “How to Beat Michael Myers” by The Flim Theorists
  • 8. “Pumpkin Girl: An Animated Horror Story” by itsAlexClark
  • 9. “10 Scariest Piston Doors in Minecraft” by Mumbo Jumbo
  • 10. Disney’s Hocus Pocus
  • 11. The Haunting in Connecticut
  • 12. Garfield’s Halloween Adventure
  • 13. And because this is my list, my own collection of scary stories Tails from the Fallen Worlds