YouTube have restricted external links to other websites being put into videos except from select creators.

In a bizarre and potentially very damaging move YouTube has decided to ban links that lead out of YouTube in their ‘end cards’ unless you’re making money for them. They have announced that the restriction will take place from now on for all users except creators in the YouTube Partners program.

YouTube claim they have introduced the restriction to curb abuse that comes from viewers following links from videos to write/cause abuse. What it seems more like from the outside is that YouTube are trying to prevent creators who haven’t signed up to make money off of video ads (which YouTube takes a big cut of) are going to be extremely limited. Yet another move to appease YouTube’s advertisers whilst ignoring any needs of it’s community and creators.

YouTube say:

In order to use externally-linking end cards in videos, creators are being asked to join the YouTube Partner program, so that we can evaluate the validity of the channel, as well as determine whether the channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. This update is meant to curb abuse and does not affect current YouTube partners or existing end cards. Additionally channels do not have to actually monetize any videos as part of this requirement.

Now YouTube creators who make money from platforms outside of YouTube, don’t want to monetise their videos, or just haven’t reached 10,000 views yet can’t link out of YouTube at the end of their videos. This means official websites, Patreon sites, even relevant articles/sources can’t be added in an easily clicked end card. For fan-funded channels who make money from donations rather than ads this could spell their demise on the world’s biggest video hosting site.

For musicians, artists, producers, DJs and everyone else in music this a horrific move. YouTube is a great promotion tool for video content, but without the option to link to your fan pages, pages where you can purchase their music, or anything else YouTube is going to go from a great promo platform to a dead-end.

Safe to say a lot of creators are angry and YouTube are facing the backlash as we speak. Fortunately there is somewhat of a workaround for now that some channels can attempt. Creators have reported that if you join YouTube’s Partner Program without enabling monetisation you will be able to add links as usual for now.

Good luck recovering from this one YouTube.