YouTube is making it harder to monetize

pexels-photo.jpgA month or so ago YouTube announced changes to it’s policy on creator accounts that can be monetized.   This is a 180 switch from YouTube’s previous policy, which only required channels to have 10,000 lifetime views.  This change makes it harder for the smaller channels to meet the criteria to monetize, and even a bigger uphill battle for those just getting started.

The minimum bar is that you now need 1,000 or more subscribers PLUS you need your video content to be watched at least 4,000 hours in the past 12 months.   Some new  creators will find that it takes a long time to attain that level unless you are able to get some viral content going.    If not, it’s going to be a slow process in getting there.

This change was not unexpected one, as YouTube continues to face criticism from advertisers that it has not done enough to vet content.  But YouTube just cant win because now it’s facing criticism from creators who now do not meet the new criteria.

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Marketing has taught me I’m in the minority

emoji-653309_1920My “real” job is in internet marketing for a small natural products company.   They have two retail brands and one professional brand.    Primarily right now until we get our professional brand’s website completed, I work with the two retail brands.

I’m continually surprised by things I observe, and it makes me realize I’m not the key demographic for anything.

For instance, emoji.   Those fun little icons to express an emotion that everyone uses all the time on social media and texts?   Yep.  I hate them. 😖 😡 👎 And yet, I am faced with the realization that everyone seems to respond to them favorably.   I am, it seems, not in line with the majority.  So we’ll keep adding them to our mailers and other stuff… and I’ll hate every minute of it.

This is why research and market testing are your friends.   Because if it were up to me we’d all use perfect grammar, have a bountiful vocabulary and never need emoji for anything.

Just take my damn money

main-735551_640I live in a small town of about 1,500 people.    I live almost an hour from the nearest major metropolitan area.   In my little town, we have a small grocery store, general store, restaurants, gas stations, hardware store and many other businesses.  In theory, you might never have to leave town to get all the things you need to live, although the selection might not be as great at the big city and sometimes (though not always) the prices are a bit higher.

What I do have a problem with, is finding people who can provide services, like plumbing and electrical.   That’s not to say that there aren’t any people locally who do any number of trades be it plumbing, carpentry or electrical for instance, but actually getting someone to come to my house to do it is another story.

Case in point: I need to have some work done on my basement.   Every so often I’m getting a bit of water seeping in.   I called all the people I could think of to come look at it. Some said “I’ll call you back” and never did.  Some never acknowledged I left a message at all.   Some set up appointments to give me a quote, and then never showed up.  And, unfortunately I live so far away from the nearest large city, those businesses will not travel out this far, or if they do there is a hefty up charge to do it.

This wasn’t the first time I’ve run into this conundrum.  I also need some electrical work done and have yet to find anyone who will come out and take my money.    I was beginning to think that people were intentionally avoiding me and I was taking it personally but then a friend of mine revealed she has the same issue.   Calls people, and they never respond back.   Same issue I was having.

You would think people would happily take our money.   But either small town trade businesses have too much work and can’t handle more, are really bad at customer service.

I wish that our town had a local review page for businesses.   One or two people giving a negative review on their customer service skills might give them a heads up there’s some dissatisfaction.

First round of Spark went well

UntitledI was a little hesitant having heard some negative things regarding the Spark review program, but as it turned out my experience was smooth, other than they had said they would send a group of products out for selection in May and the email didn’t arrive until June.

The two items I selected arrived in decent time, but definitely not super speedy.   They did not come packaged in Walmart boxes as they had in the past, almost as if they were being shipped directly from the manufacturer.     If that is the case, that may be a move on the part of Walmart to save a bit of shipping costs, but this is just speculation.

I was able to leave my review, in the same way that I had in the past with one small addition, they had an area to upload one to two images, but no place to leave a YouTube link for a video review (which I did).

Walmart suggests a 200 word review, but I note many people left far less than that and I feel it must not be a hard requirement.

Now I’m wondering when the next email will be sent out, will it be early next month?  I don’t find that emailing the Walmart Spark program will do much good, I don’t think they have dedicated staff for answering questions as Amazon does with their Vine program.

 

Secret shopping on your terms

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I love getting a good deal, who doesn’t?  But secret shopping I have found, is a great deal. Especially when you find a place that hires you to do it, and you can still be on your own terms for when you do your secret shopping and where, and you can be you and not follow any scripting.

Bestmark is that place.   You do have to take a test prior to your first shop to show that you are in fact able to read and understand basic directions, but anyone can pass that test.  Once those formalities are done, you can pick from loads of different shops, be it retail stores, restaurants, hotels or automotive.   They even sometimes have phone shops where all you do is make a call!

Where you live will determine how many and what shops you have.    I live in a very rural area, but they still have dozens of shops within 50 miles of me.   In a major city that number dramatically increases.

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The other nice thing about Bestmark is that you can do shops when you travel. For instance, if you are on vacation- why not secret shop a hotel or restaurant?   You get free food or lodging plus a little extra cash for your trouble.

You owe it to yourself to check out Bestmark.   Click here to learn more.

Fidget Spinners

fidget spinnerSeems like there have been a proliferation of fidget spinners lately.

I think I’ve been offered a dozen in this last month.  The first time I saw one online I didn’t know what they were for, but after a little research I learned they are to help focus someone with ADD or ADHD by giving them something to do with their hands.   The theory is that some people have excess energy and giving them something to fiddle with helps focus the person on the more important task.

There is a guy at my work who has several of these, and when he’s on the phone he fidgets with them and he says they work for him.    No one in my family has those types of issues, however I found that my boys love messing with theirs anyway.   It’s just a fun low-tech gizmo that people seem to universally like.

I think the metal ones (usually made from brass or steel) are more satisfying to use than the lighter plastic ones, but the all metal constructed spinners are much more costly.  Be prepared for $20 to $50 each.   Cheaper plastic ones I have seen as low as $6.

Facebook Review Groups

facebook_logoThere are literally hundreds of review clubs and review groups out there.   I have done a few over the last two years, with positive results.  I don’t do them a lot these days as I have more review offers than time, and I don’t need to seek any others.   However, for a new reviewer, this may be just the thing to get you started.

Facebook is home to many of these groups.   Each one has different rules and terms. Some give product free, some do random drawings for product give-aways, some require you purchase product at a discounted rate, and some require you to have YouTube and other social media accounts to post reviews to.   It will be up to you to find out the particular rules for each group to see if it’s right for you, but I’ll give you a list of the ones I know about, and you can request access to the group(s) of your choice.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1128970830562886/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/amzhelper/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1632935363684388/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/274767749632027/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/533935026767686/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1045732162173381/

https://www.facebook.com/UnboxingReviewsPlatform/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/groups/496258173768227/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/219618278518898/?ref=br_rs

 

One minute is not enough!

2017-02-21-15-28-07This week I was requested to do something a little different from reviewing.   I was asked to make a product demo video, the only stipulation being that it must be under one minute.

Challenge accepted!

The product in question was an ocean wave projection light, that also doubled as a sound machine / speaker.  It also came with a remote control.  PLUS it had two cords, and an sd card reader.    Whew, that’s a lot.

Try as I might I couldn’t adequately describe the item and all it’s features in just a minute. Turns out I really needed closer to 3 to 4 minutes.  What I did to try to make the most of short video time I had is that I shot two separate videos, one demonstrating the product and one talking about the product.   The first video of the light projection I muted and put as an inset video in the second one where I explained the features.   Still, that was not enough to get across all the details.   So I added some still shots of the controls, labeled them and slapped those in the video too. There is a lot packed in to this one minute video, and I think it might be the busiest 1 minute video ever.

I hope they like it!

How to get into reviewing, part 2.

coupon clubMy original post about how to get into reviewing was (and remains) quite popular but it occurs to me that I should write an update, as the reviewing world has changed drastically since that post with Amazon’s TOS changing.

If you have not done so already, familiarize yourself with Amazon’s new reviewing policies if you are going to review primarily on Amazon.

There are still other sites you can review on besides Amazon.   Xberts, Fat Wallet and Slick Deals come to mind.   And probably the best way to review is on other social media or your own blog.  Admittedly, getting into reviewing now is hard if you don’t already have a large audience or a solid reviewing reputation.   Everyone has to start somewhere though.

Here is my advice then for starting out:

  1. Review all items you bought where you bought it (if you bought it on Amazon, review it on Amazon).   Amazon now limits the number of reviews per week you can do for items not purchased through your site.   You can review 5 items per week, but it might be worth it to do that.   I focus a lot on Amazon, because it takes so much of the retail spotlight these days, who DOESN’T shop at Amazon?
  2. Review your items on other social media, as well as the place you bought them.   The point of this is to begin to build an audience.   If your reviews are good, and enough people like them you will succeed.
  3. Start your own review blog in addition to your social media channels.
  4. Seek out the myriad of groups on Facebook and elsewhere that are geared towards reviewers with free giveaways or super low cost items.  If you were going to buy items anyway why not get them at a discount?
  5. Contact retailers directly and ask for samples to review.   Mention your website or number of followers if it is relevant.   You will get a lot of rejection, but every once in awhile you will get someone interested.
  6. There are also review groups out there that you can join and get free samples, although since Amazon’s TOS has changed the numbers have reduced.   But doing an online search you can find others out there.   Green mom’s review is one that would appeal to a niche audience, for example.  Some of these review outlets have stricter requirements than others so do your research.   Amazon continues their own reviewer’s club, but it is strictly invitation only.
  7. Work as hard at building your audience as you do at leaving reviews.  Consider being a niche reviewer of one type of product and become an expert in that arena.