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.


Amazon is big


In the news, Amazon is making headlines for trying to purchase Wholefoods.   But they have their hands in tons of other arenas, seemingly branching out into not only groceries, but home service support, cloud services, video streaming and much more.    I don’t hear many private citizens complaining though, the complaining seems to be only in the media.   No one I know, or even casually know on social media, is concerned about Amazon’s growing dominance.

Conversely, I recall that 10+ years ago lots of everyday people (and the media) were up in arms about Walmart getting to big, saying they were undercutting other local businesses. In several cases, towns were trying to stop future Walmart stores being built in their jurisdictions.  People have argued that most of their product offerings were made in sweatshops in China using forced labor, and therefore they were not only selling second rate products that would not last long, but also propagating sweatshops in China.   There is some evidence to support that claim, and although it’s hard to find anything beyond a couple instances, it still could point to a systemic problem.

Amazon is bigger than Walmart ever was and sells many products from China, but no citizen outrage.    I think this is for many reasons.    First, because Amazon does not have many physical stores and you can’t tangibly see their footprint, they only exist in your computer.  Second, because Walmart got type-cast as “easy to hate” almost a quasi-political movement.   Third, because we have come to rely on Amazon so thoroughly, we enjoy each new service they bring and we want to see more of it and are unconcerned if no one else can come close to competing because the prices are pretty low.  And fourth, as to the sweatshop argument that people make about Walmart, it could be said that Amazon is only allowing sellers to sell their goods and cannot be held liable for how those products are manufactured.  They get the pass because they are in many cases only the middle-man.

If Amazon does cut out all serious competition, will their prices necessarily rise and will people begin to turn on them?  Time will tell on this one.   They have marketed themselves very well and it would take a lot to turn public perception against them.

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.

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.

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!

Walmart ends Shipping Pass

I got this message in my inbox this morning: untitled

I had written a blog piece a few weeks ago comparing Amazon’s Prime and Walmart’s Shipping Pass.  Prime won that head to head match up, but now it looks like Walmart has changed tactics and is offering anyone free 2 day shipping with orders over $35, no fees required.    It’s not hard to find $35 worth of items to buy, but I was using this service quite a bit and all my orders were under $35.    I guess people like me make the program not profitable.

Vacation Holds

2016-06-13 16.04.11If you  get a lot of things online (review or otherwise), but also go on vacation frequently – that poses a problem.   Packages can pile up unattended and as we all know package theft is on the rise.  But what can you do?   Everyone already knows about mail service hold (and if you don’t – learn more here), but not everyone knows you can put a hold on UPS and FedEx package delivery.

UPS has a straight forward vacation hold system.   Check it out online here.  To use their system you must first become a “My Choice” member (which is free).  You can login with an email address or a Facebook account.   Once registered, you can use their vacation hold, schedule text alerts, re-route packages and all sorts of useful things.

FedEx also has a vacation hold system called “Delivery Manager”.   Check it out online here.  You can use it not only to hold packages when you are away, but you can also redirect packages to a new address (just like UPS).   So if you were, for instance, going to be visiting your grandmother for an extended period, you could have packages re-directed to your granny’s home while there.   With their Delivery Manager system you can also leave instructions for every day deliveries, for instance “Leave on front porch” or “Put inside garage door”.


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Be nice to the delivery guy (or gal)

Worksman_delivery_trikeAs Christmas is approaching, I thought I might point out something easily overlooked.  Your delivery guy(s) or gal(s).  If you get a lot of stuff online, you will get many visits from your friendly UPS, FedEx and DHL drivers.   So much so, you develop a bit of a friendship of sorts.   You know their schedules by heart, and when someone else drives up in the truck you may even inquire ‘where’s my regular guy?’.  In my case, I communicate my vacation schedules with my UPS guy and he gives me a heads up on his, because I see him every single day.  If I happen to be out and about for a couple days in a row when he delivers, he’ll teasingly chastise me the next day for not being home.

It’s good to develop a friendly relationship with these people because they are carrying a lot of stuff for you.   Be kind and courteous!  And consider getting them a gift this Christmas.   Perhaps a gift card to a local convenience store, or restaurant.   Maybe a tin of homemade cookies… it doesn’t matter so long as you take time to acknowledge their hard work and let them know you appreciate what they do!


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Amazon by the numbers


Remember back in 1994 when Amazon was primarily about selling books?  Now, it’s morphed into a gigantic retailer of every product imaginable.   Let’s take a look at Amazon by the numbers:

  • The latest estimate (which is 2 years old now) says that Amazon has 244 million customers. 54 million of those subscribe to Amazon Prime.
  • Amazon’s customers are mostly male 61% (compared to only 39% female).
  • The average user spends $1500 each year at Amazon.  (Is that because we get free shipping with Prime?)
  • Amazon made $107 billion in gross sales last year.
  • Amazon sells about 2 billion items each year.
  • 51% of online consumers do most of their shopping on Amazon.
  • Number of Amazon employees : 268,900.


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