When his own videos were taken down during the Great YouTube Crypto Purge of 2019, Ivan Liljeqvist of Ivan on Tech didn’t bat an eyelash––he had been expecting it. “Everyone else got removed the day before, so I knew that I would be next,” he said, admitting he got a bit bummed out, and lost some energy. “You’re not as pumped to do things when your biggest channel and your biggest community gets censored, and you cannot upload. It’s not fun. It’s a sad day.
The Purge prompted Ivan to start an email list to ensure he can communicate with his community if something like the YouTube purge afflicts his channel again. “If you have a community, but you don’t have your community on your email list, then you don’t have a community. It’s like not your keys, not your Bitcoin. As we say in crypto, when you have your bitcoins on the exchange, it’s really not your Bitcoin, because the exchange can go broke or they can scam you or they can be hacked. The same as with the online community. If it’s not your email list, it’s not your online community.”
Ivan says that, while YouTube is great for discovery, content creators need to take the extra step and procure email addresses from their communities. “Somehow that you actually can communicate with your community. While it’s amazing for reach, amazing for growth, amazing for new discovery, we should not be too comfortable, and we should not be too relaxed, as we all learned from YouTube. Maybe in the future we will have decentralized discovery algorithms and decentralized platforms, but none of the decentralized platforms are viable right now.”
In his mind, email is the best way to go. “Just collect everyone’s email so you can communicate with them.”
The reasoning is, if YouTube has everyone’s email, and Twitter has everyone’s email, so should the creators. “It’s just during the past weeks when we see the YouTubers really begin questioning like, why should I not have my audience’s email?”
With the emails of his subscribers, Ivan can send notifications about when his streams go live, for instance. “That is the biggest thing right now, because YouTube is not sending notifications for every stream. They are just sending notifications sometimes, depending on if they are in a good mood or bad mood or the algorithm wants to send or doesn’t want to send. For the longest time, since I started YouTube, it’s been all about hoping that the algorithm sends out notifications. You’re basically a slave to the algorithm…that’s what you are.”
Instead of depending on YouTube, Ivan is sending the email notifications. Another reason for collecting email addresses is that, if something happens, Ivan can redirect traffic to another platform, which is very important. “It’s this robustness that we’re looking for,” he said. “If it is the case that we see another purge on YouTube, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if YouTube forbade cryptocurrencies in the near future.”
Ivan says the decentralized media hosting sites, which claim to be alternatives to the current centralized ecosystems, lack discovery mechanisms for creators to get put in front of new people.
But, Ivan could host his content on his own website, if need be. A platform like YT has value, because it puts creators in front of new people.
“The future of video will be like [how] podcasts [operate],” said Ivan. “You host your content on your own site, on your own server, and then, through RSS links, post to discovery platforms where they aggregate everyone’s content.”
Too many crypto-inspired YouTube alternatives are focused on hosting. “But man, I don’t need another host,” said Ivan. “I can host on my own server, as well. It’s not the issue. The issue is discovery.”
Ivan believes the concept of deplatforming has captured creators’ minds now. “It started with Alex Jones when he was banned from everywhere,” Ivan said. “And now more and more people are starting to realize it. We’ve been too comfortable. We’ve been too reliant, we’ve been too relaxed thinking that our audience is here on these platforms. But that’s not enough. It’s absolutely not enough.” It’s time to look for alternatives, and be ready when they arrive, for crypto content creators may not always be welcomed on incumbent platforms.
While ten years ago Silicon Valley was loved, today that is not the case, says Ivan. “People don’t see Facebook or Google as these young startups that are changing the world for the better,” said Ivan. “They simply don’t. The times have shifted. The public perception has shifted a lot, as well. More and more people realize that platforms are so big right now, and they control everything, and have this monopoly that is really unsustainable in the long term. As more and more creators experience deplatforming, more and more people will also realize that YouTube is now like television was before. It’s not disruptive.”
In other words, it’s no longer for people who want to change the world. “It is the old media nowadays, it’s becoming old media,” said Ivan. “It’s boomer tech, as you would call it nowadays.”
Technologies that began as dissident technologies are no longer such. “Google was for people who wanted to communicate and find information without needing to go through centralized newspapers that are slow and they write things sometimes and they maybe hide some information,” said Ivan. “Google was dissident. They opened up the whole world to information and you can find information you want. YouTube was also the dissident.”
Today, these platforms are the status quo, however; they’re no longer dissident. “Instead, they are this big monopoly and people perceive them that way,” said Ivan. “Crypto is dissident tech and decentralized technologies are also dissident and they will be the cool things of 2020s.”
In other words, YouTube and Google are not as cool as they once were. “When it comes to the younger generation, and people who want to adopt new technologies, they will be looking for other alternatives. And you also see it on YouTube. Now, it’s mostly for late night shows and for established celebrities. That is what YouTube wants to be. They want to be television and they are favoring these celebrities and old school famous people.”
The advertisers are more comfortable advertising on late night shows. “The original creators that are a bit edgy might have content that is not advertiser friendly.”
Ivan thinks crypto creators will ultimately have to move to a new platform. “You will have the same situation with YouTube as with old television, that it’s only boomers watching it. Only the older generation. And maybe we are the older generation, and the next generation will be the one that switches.”
Either way, Ivan thinks times are changing. “Change is the only constant we have in this world.”
Ultimately, Ivan defends YouTube, saying it’s amazing. “It changed my life for sure. So I’m truly thankful to YouTube, it’s been an amazing ride and still is.”
As long as YouTube wants his show there, he will be there. But, people are not as excited about YouTube as before, he’s noticed. “You’re seeing YouTube become more and more like the old media.”
At present, there aren’t any decentralized platforms Ivan believes are prepared to take its place. Ivan, who thinks in the future tokens could be used for payments, rewards or advertising, mentions DLive, which offers live streams on the blockchain. “But, the issue with them is discovery,” he notes. “They are only doing one thing good, and that is hosting.”
No one’s focused on discovery, Ivan laments. “You’ve still gotta to have the network effects of current social media,” he said. “Then you can start decentralizing and going slowly towards this decentralized discovery.”
Content creators need eyeballs…they thrive on attention. What has earned Ivan so much attention over the past years? “The timing of course was good because it was 2017, but also the content was good,” said Ivan. “You got to have luck and you’ve got to have skill and the dedication and the work ethic.