For YouTube, Ads Matter More than Video Quality – or Communication

Posted on by Larry

YouTube is SUCH a mixed blessing. Massive audience, miserable customer relations – especially for media creators who are posting work they care about.

Tony’s story is illustrative.

TV image by Anete Lusina.

[Tony writes:] Some time ago I wrote to you about phony claims for copyright against legally purchased music resulting in application of ads on videos. You kindly responded to this.

I eventually was able to overcome the problem on that occasion but it has recently arisen again but slightly worse. I have had another blizzard of phoney claims emanating from Adrev but will confine this tale to just one. I recently uploaded a short video with music purchased from Pond5. Within hours I received a phony claim for copyright from Adrev. Ads were placed prior to the start of the video and – much worse – within the video itself which only plays for about 12 minutes. I had gone to lot of trouble to creat a “mood” which was now completely ruined.

I disputed the claim and contacted Pond5 who were extremely helpful and supportive.

Pond5 support wrote: “We’re happy to know your [copyright] claims have been released! These are often labor intensive on our team, and require much back-and-forth with the Content ID agencies. All in a day’s work, and to ensure you, our client, are totally satisfied with our support and products.

Regarding ads on your videos, that’s unfortunately entirely beyond our control. Those decisions are made with Google/YouTube and Pond5 has no voice in those decisions.

Pond5 then provided a link to a Forbes article from 2020: YouTube Will Now Show Ads on All Videos, Even If Creators Don’t Want Them.

[Tony continues:] After a few days the phony claims were withdrawn but the ads were not removed and are still there today weeks later. I kept badgering Pond5 and my complaints went up a level. I received the attached reply today. So it seems that, now, even if phony claims are dismissed and cleared the ads will remain and now that the fig leaf of pretending that a claimant exists has been removed, Google/You Tube will take 100% of the ad revenue and the creator’s video will remain burdened by ads forever.

I do concede that You Tube have made it possible for us to share our creations world wide at no cost and I am very appreciative of that.

I guess I can accept that ads prior to the start of a video is a small price to pay for that service. However I cannot stomach the barbaric practice of inserting garbage ads even in the middle of [dialog while] playing the video. This is another step in the wrong direction.

Larry adds: Thanks, Tony, for sharing your experience. Situations like this could be improved if YouTube actually provided a way to communicate with them directly. But, that would cost them money.

UPDATE: After reading this article, Tony commented further:

YouTube are always promoting their own music as a source to avoid copyright issues. They may not mean it but that sounds suspiciously like something from the Godfather. “Use our product and we will protect you from the bad guys.” In any event, why would a serious filmmaker want to choose their music from the same source as everyone else?

Actually, probably the majority of You Tubers don’t use any music and for many of those who do, the more ads the better as the reason for uploading a video is to make money and they really don’t care about quality.

I should add that I have also had great support from Smartsound and Bjorn Lynne at Shockwave-Sound. But it all comes back to Google/You Tube… [and] Adrev who are the source of all the latest attacks.

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15 Responses to For YouTube, Ads Matter More than Video Quality – or Communication

  1. This exact scenario has happened to other producers of YouTube content and me. After paying for Pond5 music someone immediately claimed copyright infringement after uploading it. It was more of a hassle than anything, and YouTube did not insert advertising. Still, why am I paying for Pond5 if it isn’t working as claimed?

    Other videos I posted years ago suddenly had advertising at the beginning of the clip. Again, it was Pond5’s “royalty-free” music. Vimeo on the other hand does not do this, at least not yet.

  2. Larry says:

    Although Vimeo does not have the reach they do not place ads on any of my content. I guess that’s the price other producers have to pay if they want a clip on YouTube. Pond 5 should mention this before they make you pay for their music.

  3. Tonyfleming says:

    As a follow up to the above, yesterday I uploaded a new video using music purchased from Pond5. Within 7 minutes of the upload, I received a message from You Tube telling me that there had been a claim against the music used in that video. Considering that the run time for the video is only 12 minutes demonstrates the absurdity of the claim. Also yesterday, I discovered, by a chance look at the full list of my videos uploaded on You Tube, that 14 out of 150 videos uploaded on the site had had the monetization option altered from NO to YES. Presumably this was done – without my knowledge – by You Tube. So – Beware! You need to keep checking your list of videos to see if this option has been changed. Some of the videos altered were uploaded more than six years ago.

  4. Jon May says:

    At YouTube, you are guilty until proven innocent, and even when you document a track has been properly Licensed and paid for, they will flag it again, and again, and again in another production of ours. AND HERE’S A QUESTION I have been trying for a year to get answered by YouTube and they always send some canned response that has nothing to do with the questions. EXAMPLE: We put up a video that say for example has 10 music tracks in it. YouTube flags one of them for what they believe is a copyright issue. All we get is the statement “Ad revenue will accrue to the copyright holder.” SO HERE’S THE QUESTION…Does that mean ALL the ad revenue for the entire video goes to whom they believe is the copyright holder for that 1 track? OR does that mean they get approximately 10% of the ad revenue, since only 1 out of 10 tracks were flagged, and the other 9 were good? Their statement doesn’t say the copyright holder gets a proportionate share, it simply says “Ad revenue will accrue to the copyright holder.” I have been trying to get YouTube to answer this for about a year now, and all they send me is canned messages on how to dispute a copyright claim (which underscores your comment about poor, pathetic communications with creators).

    • Larry says:


      Sigh… YouTube provides giant audiences and miserable customer service. Then again, the people that post videos are not their customer. With all the videos they own, they have no incentive to make the video creators job easier. If they did, they’d provide better customer service to fix problems like this.

      I don’t have an answer, but I’m deeply sympathetic to your frustration at their lack of response.


      • Jon May says:

        Thanks Larry, misery loves companyI guess. Hahahaha. Maybe some of the awesome following you have has been down this road. I do want you to know that if I ever win the big PowerBall Lottery, I am going to buy YouTube and fix all of these injustices, and make it customer-centric. I guess I have to buy a ticket though…

        • Larry says:


          Smile… Given the size of YouTube, you may need to buy TWO tickets.

          Sadly, I don’t see any evidence that YouTube particularly cares about this problem.


  5. Ge says:

    I recommend an original score on anything worthwhile on YouTube. You are getting flagged by a COMPUTER that knows nothing about your licensed music. You can usually get a decent score for a few hundred dollars and it eliminates all these problems.

    • Larry says:


      Original scores are a great idea – and composers need the work. But there are many, many low-budget projects that need music that can’t afford a couple hundred dollars for music.

      Still, if you can, there’s nothing more fun than working with a talented composer on a video project.


  6. Ron B says:

    I have often received copyright notices for music I’ve licensed from SmartSounds. Once I actually followed through and discovered that the “copyright holder” was a teenager who had used the same base song as I, but had actually “copyrighted” the music. Effectively, he was trying to rip off both myself and SmartSounds.

    Yes, all of this is handled by computers/spiders/web crawlers, but Google/YouTube should really do a better job of protecting the rights of legit producers. Think social media cannot change quickly? Ask Musk.

  7. I never worry about ads on YouTube. I used an Ad Blocker and never see an AD. I have been dinged by YT’s music catcher on weddings where the DJ plays the music. Also on tracks that I own. My personal channel does not have enough subscribers for ADs so I can still get dinged but the video still plays.

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