fbpx
Categories
SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Can YouTube History Be Tracked?

Privacy on the Internet is one of our bigger concerns in today’s interconnected world, and YouTube is not exempt from those concerns. Given the sheer volume of YouTube videos that are watched at any given time, and especially by any individual person, there is a wealth of information that can be gleaned from knowing someone’s YouTube viewing history.

Unfortunately, the answer to “can YouTube history be tracked?” is a resounding yes, it most certainly can… assuming you are using YouTube as a logged-in user. YouTube will still track your usage when you are not logged in, of course, but there this data will be anonymised. This is not to say it’s not tracking you in a way, but more on that shortly.

YouTube Viewing History

The first thing to be aware of when considering YouTube’s tracking abilities is that it is baked into the platform. YouTube makes its money through advertising, and the biggest selling point for online advertisers is the fact that ads can be targeted to very specific demographics because of all the information YouTube has. YouTube knows your age, gender, geographical region, interests, and more, allowing advertisers to make sure their ads are being shown to people who are likely to be interested. Naturally, that system doesn’t work if YouTube doesn’t collect information about you.

Your viewing history is the most obvious thing, of course. You yourself can view your viewing history if you wish, a particularly useful tool for finding videos you’ve enjoyed in the past but can’t find now. Of course, in order for this feature to be available, YouTube needs to keep a record of what you have watched.

Your YouTube viewing history is private, and cannot be viewed by anyone else. If you don’t want certain videos logged to your viewing history, you can always log out of YouTube before viewing them. There are some limitations to this method, however. For example, YouTube will not allow you to watch videos it has deemed inappropriate for younger viewers unless you are logged in. This is mostly to prevent children from getting around content restrictions by using YouTube logged out.

You can also clear your viewing history if you’re worried about someone using your computer and stumbling across your obsession with videos of capybara playing with dogs, but that will only affect the viewing history you see—the data that YouTube uses to decide what to recommend to you will still be there.

Non-YouTube Tracking

It is possible for your YouTube history to be tracked by non-YouTube parties, but in the vast majority of cases, this would require you to have either agreed to something or been hacked by someone.

For example, if you are using YouTube through a device that has been opted into something like Nielson tracking, all of your online activity will be tracked, including your YouTube use, but this is something you will have actively sought out and agreed to beforehand.

It is also possible for your device to become infected with malicious software that will monitor your YouTube usage, but you should be able to avoid this with common sense security measures, such as having up to date anti-virus software and not clicking on untrustworthy links.

There are also perfectly legitimate (in the legal sense, not necessarily the moral one) ways to track your usage, such as Facebook’s “Off-Facebook Activity” settings. These can be disabled by you, but if they are not, Facebook can track a number of things you might be getting up to online.

Can YouTube History Be Tracked? 2

Your Online “Fingerprint”

We often worry about our identity being out there because all of the scariest sounding forms of hacking and online fraud involve stealing our identities for something. It is possible to track you without your identity, however.

When you use the Internet, including websites like YouTube, there is a wealth of information that those remote servers have access to. These include things like the operating system your device is using, the browser, what screen resolution you have, even what fonts are installed.

While none of these things inherently give away your identity, there are sufficient variables to reliably identify a returning anonymous user. In this manner, a remote server can build up a tracking history for a user, even if that user never logs in or gives their name or any other personally identifiable information. Essentially, they can create a “digital fingerprint” corresponds to you and you alone, even if they don’t know who you are.

Now, if YouTube uses this method, nobody is being particularly open about it. However, we do know that they use browser cookies to keep track of what you’ve been watching.

Browser Cookies

Browser cookies are essentially little packets of information that are stored on your hard drive. The next time you visit YouTube anonymously, YouTube can check these cookies and see what you were looking at the last time you were there.

If you’re not comfortable with this, there are two options. You can either regularly clear your cookies so that there is no record, or you can browse YouTube in incognito/privacy mode. With cookies being stored on your computer, you are in complete control of whether they stay or go, as long as you know how to do it.

Final Thoughts

Your YouTube history can certainly be tracked, but, for the most part, the entity doing the tracking is YouTube. It is possible for nefarious parties to get into a position to track your viewing history, but in most cases, if they are in that position, your viewing history will be the least of your worries.

It should also be noted that, from a privacy standpoint, YouTube is a very different platform for children. COPPA regulations mean that YouTube cannot track nearly as much data on underage viewers as they can with adults.

For the most part, however, protecting your privacy and identity on YouTube requires the same common-sense approach that should be used whenever you are browsing the Internet or using connected apps.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
SOCIAL MEDIA YOUTUBE

Can YouTube Detect VPN?

VPNs—virtual private networks—are a great way to ensure privacy when using the Internet, as well as gain access to region-restricted content that you would not otherwise have been able to view. When it comes to using a VPN with YouTube, there are many questions arise. Things like “is watching YouTube through VPN allowed?”, and “can I inflate my view count using a VPN?” We’re going to touch on those questions in this post, but first, let’s tackle the title question.

YouTube can certainly detect VPNs, though it is not an immediate process. Detecting VPNs involves the tracking of multiple data points across many users, but it can be done, and it is in YouTube’s best interests to do it.

How VPNs Work

This being a site primarily for YouTubers, we won’t try to explain VPNs in technical detail (nor are we qualified to!) so feel free to search yourself a more detailed explanation, but a base understanding of how VPNs work is necessary in order to understand how YouTube can detect VPNs in the first place.

Essentially, a VPN is an encrypted network within the wider network that is the Internet. The data travelling back and forth in that VPN is only visible to users who are part of the VPN. Think of it as similar to entering the subway, tube, or another underground transport network of your choosing. A person watching you come out of the transport network knows you have exited at that point, but has no way of knowing where you entered.

This allows users to get around things like geographical restrictions on content since their connection is routed through the VPN and emerges at a node that is in a geographical region where the content is available. This can also help users to have a greater degree of anonymity. While you can use things like “incognito mode” in Chrome, there will always be ways in which your online identity can be guessed at—if not outright locked in—because you are still accessing the web from your computer in the same geographical location. VPNs can throw any interested parties a little further off your scent by masking your geographical region.

How YouTube Can Detect VPNs

One of the key points about using a VPN is the IP address you appear to be connecting from. That is, the IP address that YouTube thinks is yours. Many VPNs—especially free ones—use the same IP address for several users. Depending on the popularity of the VPN, there could be thousands of users connecting through the same IP address. For YouTube, this would be a big giveaway, especially if many of those users are logged in.

This can be avoided by using a VPN that will grant you a dedicated IP address, meaning you will always be connecting from the same remote IP address and you will be the only one using it. This isn’t the best option for anonymity, but it’s great for getting around regional content restrictions since YouTube can’t reliably distinguish between your dedicated VPN IP address and a regular IP address.

If you are using a free VPN service—or a paid one that uses shared IP addresses) and YouTube (most likely YouTube TV specifically) is blocking you, you can always try another service in the hope of finding one that YouTube hasn’t cottoned on to yet, but the only way to be relatively sure that YouTube won’t catch you VPNing them is if you get a dedicated IP address.

Why Use A VPN For YouTube?

The main two reasons to use VPNs to view YouTube content are regional restrictions and anonymity. Regional restrictions we’ve covered—some content is made unavailable in certain parts of the world, mostly because of licensing but also sometimes because of political matters. Whatever the reason, using a VPN can allow you to access that content. Whether you see this as an unethical practice will depend entirely on your own worldview. We’re not here to judge.

There is also a version of regional restrictions which is almost the precise reverse of what we have just described. In some parts of the world—such as China, North Korea, Iran, and more—YouTube is blocked by the government. Again, where you stand on the ethics of this is your business, but using a VPN can enabled citizens of countries that block YouTube to get around the censorship.

Anonymity is pretty self-explanatory. Some people value their privacy, or perhaps have a pressing reason why they need to ensure they remain anonymous. In any case, using a VPN will make it considerably harder to identify that person when they are using sites like YouTube… assuming they don’t log in to their account, of course.

Do VPN Hurt YouTubers? 1

Using VPNs To Inflate YouTube Views

If you peruse threads about YouTube and VPNs, you’ll invariably find someone asking about using a VPN to boost their view count. This is a non-starter for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, it is one hundred percent not worth the time it would take to make any meaningful boost to your view count. If you had thousands of people working at it, you may be able to make a meaningful difference, but if you can get thousands of people to do that, why not just get them to watch your video legitimately?

Secondly, even if you fool YouTube regarding your VPN access, the platform still has ways of ensuring that every view is legitimate. If you watch your own video a thousand times, even if you do it through a VPN, YouTube will likely scrub those views from your view count, meaning you’ll have wasted your time.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, YouTube is only concerned about VPNs when they affect the platform’s ability to generate revenue. Thousands of users coming from the same IP address makes it harder to track individual users, and thus display relevant ads. A dedicated IP address gives YouTube something to track, meaning they can advertise to you even if you are technically anonymous, so they’re not likely to clamp down on that kind of VPN access.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
YOUTUBE

Can YouTube Employees See Private Videos?

Whatever the reason you make your video private, it’s a safe bet you don’t want anyone peeking at them. We know our private videos are safe from the prying eyes of the common YouTube user, but what about YouTube employees?

Yes however, It could be argued that if you are concerned about YouTube employees—or the employees of any online service you use for that matter—seeing your private content, you should probably just not use those services.

This is excluding sensitive information like passwords and payment information, of course, which should be encrypted and not visible to anyone but you.

Now, if we’re being totally honest, the answer to this question is going to involve a lot of guesswork. We simply don’t know what YouTube employees have access to on the back end. What we do know is that you have no expectation of privacy from YouTube with any content you upload to their servers. You accept various terms of service and, for all intents and purposes, you are granting YouTube the right to do pretty much what they want with your content. Within reason, of course.

What we’re saying is, regardless of whether YouTube employees can view your private videos or not, you should probably just assume they can. But, with that being said, let’s explore this topic a little more.

What Kind Of YouTube Employee?

The first thing we should establish is what kind of YouTube employee we are talking about. For example, many YouTubers have reported contacting YouTube support regarding an issue and being asked to make their video public or unlisted because the support agent could not view it. Of course, there could be question marks raised over whether this counts as a YouTube employee since this kind of technical support is often outsourced… and these days even automated.

So, it would seem the front line of technical support cannot view your private videos, but it is safe to assume that there are people who work at YouTube who can, the question is why would they ever need to?

Can YouTube Employees See Private Videos? 1

Why Might A YouTube Employee Look At Private Videos?

The first thing we should do is address the elephant in the room; YouTube employees looking at private videos for fun. This is one of those awkward topics that probably doesn’t have a good answer. Officially, this will not happen. YouTube will not permit its employees to just look at private videos without good reason. Practically speaking, there may not be a way of knowing if an employee is doing it.

Again, we would say the best approach is to just assume that someone, somewhere is looking at the content you are uploading to YouTube, even if private.

This isn’t the horror show that you might think. Any YouTube employee viewing your private videos will almost certainly be operating under restrictions, and will not be allowed to just share your content or start talking about it with others, or else they are acting against YouTube’s internal policies, and will not want to risk being caught.

Another reason that a YouTube employee might be viewing your private videos is for the purpose of review, such as in response to a copyright dispute or appeal. If any kind of complaint is lodged against your content, it will likely still be reviewed by YouTube even if you have since made it private.

Legal Matters

If your content becomes the subject of a legal matter, making it private will not keep it from the eyes of the relevant parties. Indeed, it is highly likely that deleting the video altogether will not be enough to prevent law enforcement agencies from viewing it.

There is no advice here save for don’t break the law, and certainly don’t upload footage of you breaking the law to YouTube.

Private Video View Counts

You may have noticed the view count on your private videos incrementing ever so slowly when you check. This may look like evidence of sneaky peaking by YouTube employees at first glance, but remember that YouTube counts your viewing in its metrics. If you are opening your private videos to find dozens of extra views, something is certainly amiss. But if your view count is just climbing up one at a time, that’s just you looking at your own video!

Robots

Though bots don’t increase view counts, they do get to “view” your videos, private or not. We say view in quotation marks because the way a bot views content is not really analogous to the way we view content. Bots are very singular in purpose, and if your video doesn’t contain the specific thing a bot is looking for, the bot won’t have anything to report about it.

This is relevant because a great deal—perhaps the vast majority—of reasons why YouTube might be viewing your private content can actually be taken care of by bots. This is an ideal world for YouTube since bots are cheaper, faster, and there is no risk of privacy violations. This should also put your mind at ease since you know bots are not going to judge you for any embarrassing content you’re not ready for the world to see.

Copyright Grey Area

Copyright violations are flagged by the aforementioned bots even if the content is private, this much we know. What is less clear, however, is the process after that. Copyright holders have the ability to review a copyright violation—especially when it is appealed—but do they still get that same ability when the potential violation is in a private video?

Clearly, there are some questions that would be nice to have YouTube answer explicitly.

[[ VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlKKcZ6vo7Y ]]

Final Thoughts

While you are probably safe from having YouTube employees sneakily watching your private videos in the vast majority of cases, we find still find it best to just assume that there is no such thing as truly private when it comes to putting content online using free services such as YouTube. That way, you’ll never be caught off guard if it happens!

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
SOCIAL MEDIA YOUTUBE

Does YouTube Track You?

It seems we can’t go anywhere on the Internet without worrying about being tracked by someone. Online security is a more pressing matter than ever, with so much of our lives being online, it makes sense that we’d all be more concerned about keeping our privacy private.

Being a Google company, there won’t be many people out there who are naive enough to think that YouTube doesn’t engage in a little tracking of its own, but there are levels to that tracking. So, if you’re looking for a short answer to the question posed in this post’s title, yes, YouTube can and does track you, but if you’d like to know a bit more about what that tracking entails, keep reading.

Logged In Vs Anonymous

The first distinction to make here is the difference between a YouTube user who is logged in and one who is not. Obviously, when you are logged in, YouTube knows a great deal about you and is able to explicitly keep a detailed log of your activities. Indeed, their tracking in this respect is a feature of the platform. YouTube can’t make recommendations based on your interests and viewing history if they do not keep track of what that viewing history is! This, unfortunately, is an unavoidable aspect of using the platform. There is no way to opt out of being tracked in this regard, even if you pay for YouTube Premium to get rid of ads. Ads are, ultimately, the reason for tracking you in the first place, since advertisers want to serve you the most relevant ads possible.

But YouTube can’t be sure that you won’t cancel your Premium subscription in the future, and if and when that happens, they want to have all their data on you for the ads they’re going to start serving you again.

Of course, anonymous users are not exempt from being tracked on YouTube, but they have a little more privacy than their logged in counterparts. For one thing, YouTube does not have the user data that you enter when you sign up for an account, such as your date of birth, gender, and other information of that nature.

Still, YouTube (and any other platform for that matter) can keep personalised records for anonymous users thanks to their “digital fingerprint”. This is a swath of data that they can read about you, such as the device you are using to view YouTube, your IP address, what operating system you have… even what fonts you have installed! All of this information makes combines to paint a picture almost as unique as a fingerprint, and certainly unique enough for YouTube to keep tabs on you.

Again, this is all for the purpose of advertising. YouTube will try to build as accurate a picture of you as possible so that they can serve the most relevant ads. The more relevant the ads, the higher the chance that you’ll click them, and the more you click those ads, the better the perceived performance of YouTube as an advertising platform resulting in more advertisers being willing to put their money into YouTube.

Does YouTube Track You? 2

Is Being Tracked by YouTube Bad?

People have varying opinions about the ethics of companies like YouTube tracking your online activities but it’s worth remembering that YouTube is a service that—if you’re not paying for YouTube Premium—is free, but being free to you does not mean YouTube do not still have monumental bills to pay from all the bandwidth and employees and more.

Tracking the people who use their service is part of the mechanism by which YouTube makes money, which is an integral part of them being able to provide the service at all. At the end of the day, you are choosing to use YouTube, and in doing so, you agree to the way they run the platform, which includes tracking you. If you are not comfortable with the tracking, you don’t have to use YouTube.

This may seem like an impractical alternative since YouTube is pretty much the only game in town for a certain kind of content creator, but it is, ethically speaking, the only alternative to accepting the tracking you will face if you use their platform.

Can I Avoid Being Tracked by YouTube?

With that being said, what if you still want to circumvent YouTube’s tracking? Well, the first thing to note is that it is impossible if you are logged in. Logged in users will always have their viewing history and viewing habits logged.

If you are prepared to use YouTube without being logged in, you can get around YouTube’s anonymous tracking to a degree by doing things like using different devices and proxy servers. Of course, most of us only have access to a limited number of devices, which makes this a rather limited solution, but there are also virtual machines as an option.

Deleting YouTube History

You can’t control everything YouTube stores about you, but if you are a logged-in user, you can choose to erase your viewing history, which constitutes a significant part of the data YouTube keeps on its users.

To do this, head over to the Watch History on YouTube and click “See All”, where you will find a variety of controls at your disposal These include the ability to clear all of your watch history, pause your watch history (so views won’t be recorded to your watch history), as well as controls relating to search history and comments. You can also remove individual videos from your watch history from within the video page itself.

Final Thoughts

Tracking is, unfortunately, an unavoidable reality of the modern Internet. Privacy is an understandable hot-button issue, but the fact is many web services and online platforms we rely on would not be able to deliver the services they do if they couldn’t track their users in this manner.

That being said, you are not completely powerless. If this is an important thing for you, you can try using YouTube logged out and through a proxy.

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Can YouTubers See Their Subscribers?

It’s natural to wonder what your favourite YouTubers know about you—what data is available to them. It’s also natural, if you are a YouTuber, to wonder if there are things available to you that you didn’t know about.

One such piece of information that often comes up is subscribers, and whether YouTubers can see who is subscribed to their channel. And the answer to that question is yes… but also no.

There is an option within the YouTube Studio dashboard to see a list of your recent subscribers. However, it only shows you subscribers who have opted to allow this behaviour. In your YouTube account, there is an option to keep your subscriptions private. Perhaps you’re subscribed to several channels about entertainment news and want to keep it private, we’re not judging.

But, if you chose to keep your subscriptions public, but then YouTube went and told every YouTuber you subscribed to that you’re on their list, it wouldn’t be very private, would it?

So, can YouTubers see their subscribers? Yes, but they can only see subscribers who have chosen to let their subscriptions be public. It should also be worth noting that, while you might have your subscriptions set to private, if you are regularly commenting on videos and joining in with live chats, people are going to be able to guess that you are subscribed, so if keeping that private is very important to you, you’ll have to bear that in mind.

Can YouTubers See Their Subscribers?

How to See Who is Subscribed to You

If you are a YouTuber and want to see who is subscribed to your channel, it is very easy to do so. Firstly, head into your YouTube Studio dashboard. Once you’re there, simply look for the “Recent Subscribers” card and click “see more” to view your subscribers. At least, the subscribers that have allowed you to see them.

You can filter subscribers into time periods, for example; the last 30 days, 60 days, etc. You can also sort them by various factors, including by their subscriber count.

How to Make Your Subscriptions Public or Private

If you want to change your own subscription visibility, either to allow YouTubers to see that you are subscribed to them, or to make it so they can’t see you… or even if you don’t care, but you’re curious what yours is set to, you can find the necessary option in YouTube’s settings menu.

Simply head over to YouTube and click your profile picture in the top right-hand corner. In the dropdown menu, find “Settings” and click it. It should have an icon of a cogwheel next to it. From there you should be presented with your settings page and a bunch of categories down the left-hand side. You want “Privacy”. Once in there, you should see an option called “Keep all my subscriptions private”, which you can toggle on or off depending on your preferences.

Why Hide Subscriptions?

Some people are just very private, and don’t want people to know what they watch on YouTube. That being said, there are also practical reasons. For example, if you are a YouTuber who makes controversial statements, there may be certain channels—or types of channels—that you do not want to be seen subscribing to as it might affect your reputation.

Given the way most of us use YouTube, there is also the prospect of long-since forgotten subscriptions causing problems. It is increasingly becoming commonplace for people to go deep diving in the online past of people they want to take down, and finding that you subscribed to someone eight years ago who has since become incredibly controversial, or perhaps committed crimes, would be exactly the kind of thing they would look for.

How to Hide Your Subscriber Count

Subscribers aren’t the only ones who have the power to make their subscribing habits hidden; YouTubers can also choose to hide their subscriber count, essentially making their subscriber situation a total mystery to regular viewers since even the subscribers who are public aren’t viewable to anyone besides the YouTuber.

If you want to hide your subscriber count, first you need to get back into YouTube Studio. Click on “Settings”, then “Channel”, then “Advanced Settings”. Scroll until you find a section labelled “Subscriber Count” and there should be an option underneath called “Display the number of people subscribed to my channel”. You can toggle this on or off as preferred.

Can YouTubers See Their Subscribers? 1

Why Would a YouTuber Hide Their Subscriber Count?

There can be any number of personal reasons to hide your subscriber count, but one of the most obvious and common ones is optics. As much as it shouldn’t be the case, we often let popularity cloud our judgement, and channels with low subscriber counts regularly get passed on because they are seen as lesser.

We should be content to judge a new (to us) YouTuber on the content of their videos, but many of us don’t. We find ourselves wondering “why have they got so few subscribers? There must be something off”, even when we are there because we have just enjoyed one of their videos.

Hiding your subscriber count is a way to eliminate this factor from the equation. Additionally, if and when your subscriber count reaches a level where you would no longer have to worry about it putting people off, you can always decide to show the number of subscribers you have then!

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, it is entirely up to you as a person with a YouTube account (whether you make content or not) whether you want to allow anyone to see what you are subscribed to. And you don’t need to have a “good” reason for that decision, nor do you have to tell anyone what that reason is. The same goes for YouTubers and their subscriber counts.

As the Internet continues to fill up with more ways to track your online presence and collect your data, online privacy continues to be a big issue, and you should be free to exercise as much—or as little—privacy as you want.

 

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. Rev.com helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.

Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube

I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.

I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.

That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.

Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).

5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.

Categories
DEEP DIVE ARTICLE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Is it Dangerous to be a YouTuber?

Doing anything online these carries with it an inherent amount of risk, whether it is risk in the form of identity theft or risk in the form of abuse and harassment.

YouTube is a fantastic platform, but it is not exempt from these dangers.

Indeed, anyone who has spent enough time in a YouTube comments section could be forgiven for feeling that YouTube might be one of the worst examples of online dangers. At least when it comes to abuse and harassment.

The dangers a platform like YouTube poses are not only varied by their intent, but also by the person using YouTube. For example, an eleven-year-old child faces a largely different set of risks compared to an adult.

Is it dangerous to be a YouTuber? As with many things on the Internet, all but the most sinister of dangers can be mitigated by or avoided entirely by your behaviour. To borrow an example from email etiquette—you can’t get a virus from an unknown link if you don’t click on unknown links.

In this post, we’re going to look at the various ways in which YouTube can be dangerous, explore what YouTube do to prevent this, and look at how you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

Can I Create A Youtube Account For My Child? 1

Is it Dangerous to be a Child YouTuber?

We’re starting with children because, despite the sensitive nature of online safety for children, this is actually the most straightforward aspect of this topic to cover.

Firstly, children under the age of thirteen are not allowed to have a regular YouTube account under YouTube’s terms of service.

The only way a young child could be a YouTuber (without breaking the rules) is if they are YouTubing with an adult, such as their parent.

The child could appear in the adult’s videos, or the child could entirely run the channel while the adult manages things from behind the scenes. Either way, there will be an adult there who can guide the child through various Internet pitfalls they might otherwise have fallen down. Most social media platforms have similar rules regarding age, meaning you shouldn’t have to worry about your child being exposed to the less savoury denizens of the web.

They could lie about their age, of course. Sites like Twitter don’t have any kind of age verification, how you handle that will be down to your own parenting style.

Once your children are older than thirteen, however, they are allowed to sign up for a wide range of platforms, like YouTube and Facebook. However, they will still be a minor under your care, and you would still be legally within your rights to prevent them from doing so.

Again, this is a decision that would have to be made by you based on your parenting style. You an read my blog on setting up a YouTube channel for your child here.

If you choose to allow your child onto the Internet, you must prepare them for what they may find. Have a real conversation with them about the risks, and about how people on the Internet can be less than pleasant sometimes.

Give them a thorough grounding in the basics, such as not giving usernames and passwords out, and how to spot a shady site. These are all things that your child will need to learn regardless, so getting a head start can’t hurt.

Is it Dangerous to be an Adult YouTuber?

The dangers of being a YouTuber as an adult are not much different from the general dangers of being on the Internet. Things like identity theft, fraud, and general mental well-being are all things to look out for.

If, however, you become a famous YouTuber, you should be prepared for the responsibility that brings. A person with a few thousand subscribers can make an ill-advised statement or be rude to someone, or let a bit of personal information slip out, and the world will keep turning.

A YouTuber with perhaps a few hundred thousand subscribers may see significant consequences from such behaviour. And a YouTuber with a few million subscribers could make mainstream media headlines from it.

While we understand the desire to rush to success, building a following as you would have with a successful YouTube channel is best done slowly for several reasons, not least of which is it gives you time to grow and adapt to your newfound popularity.

Another way in which being a YouTuber can be dangerous is in the real world implications of your content.

Granted, this probably won’t affect someone who is making inoffensive life hack videos, but if you have opinions of a controversial nature, and you are voicing them in your videos, it could have harmful side effects. In today’s reactionary world, your job could literally be at stake. And, while we might all have the dream of going full time with our YouTube channel, most of us still have to work a day job in the beginning.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

What Can YouTubers do to Keep the Negativity Away?

Beyond simply ignoring negative comments, there are things you can do as a YouTuber to keep yourself, your channel, and your community as safe as possible.

Obviously, shutting down comments entirely and not having a presence on other social media platforms will all but eliminate the opportunity for bad faith actors; however, it will also hamper your ability to grow as a channel since community involvement is crucial in the early stages of your YouTube adventure.

So, with that in mind, we’re going to assume that you don’t plan to lock your channel and social media down altogether.

Set the Tone From the Start

Think of unwanted audience behaviour like a bad habit. It is much easier to cut it off at the start than it is to deal with once it has had time to take root and become ingrained. If you make it clear from the beginning that particular behaviour will not be tolerated, and enforce those standards wherever you can, it will be far less likely that you will have a problematic audience when you start to grow as a channel.

Of course, what one channel considers unacceptable may be fine for another channel. Swearing is an example of something that can be fine depending on the channel and the community.

The point is that by setting the tone early on, you’ll have less to deal with as you grow. You may even reach a point where your community polices itself.

If it is established that you do not allow profanity in your comments section, your audience will likely start letting newcomers know when they are behaving in a manner that is not in keeping with your community.

This also applies to behaviour that, while perhaps not offensive in nature, is nonetheless a bad precedent to set. For example, while getting involved with your community is a great way to grow your audience early on, it’s important to establish boundaries.

If you make yourself too available—beyond any reasonable expectation your viewers should have—you set the expectation that you will be similarly available in the future. And, as your audience grows, it will become more challenging to devote enough time to these kinds of interactions. This can lead to a negative reaction from your viewers, who feel they are being snubbed.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 8

Separate Your Online Life From Your Real Life

Being a YouTuber can sometimes lead to problems in your real life. Those problems may be small, such as mild embarrassment over a family member seeing one of your videos, or very serious, such as your employer seeing you say or do something controversial that leads to your firing.

You may not feel like you have anything to hide from your real life, and you may be entirely correct. However, it can still sometimes be good practice to separate your YouTube personality from real life if possible. You can do this using a pseudonym, or being virtually faceless on your channel (though this can have longer-term branding implications).

You can also keep the two separate by not sharing YouTube things on your personal accounts, and not linking personal things to your YouTube account. A common practice is to have a private Facebook page where you can communicate with friends and family online, reserving places like Twitter for your “YouTube persona”.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 1

Take Extra Care With Your Personal Data

There is a myriad of ways in which sensitive personal data can find its way into the public domain. For example, did you know that when you register a domain name, the details of the owner are publicly available unless you pay extra to keep them private? What’s worse is this data typically includes your address.

Another example would be giving out your address to receive packages from viewers, or sending a package to a viewer and having your home as the return address.

It is also worth putting a little extra effort into making sure your videos are free from any sensitive information. For example, if you do an unboxing video, make sure the packing label is removed or covered up before you start filming.

Preparing Yourself Mentally

While the material risks of being a YouTuber are very real, many dangers are less obvious and can creep up on you if you are not prepared for them.

Lack of Privacy

It may seem silly to think that a lack of privacy could be an issue for someone who chooses to put themselves online in a very public way, but as we mentioned above, there should be boundaries.

Still, even with firm boundaries in place, you are putting yourself out there, and there is an unavoidable degree of vulnerability about that.

Criticism

Following directly on from that, there is the criticism. There will always be a negative contingent online who are looking to say unhelpful and hurtful things. As a YouTuber, you need to become proficient at recognising the line between criticism and insults.

Legitimate criticism should be taken on board, as it can help your channel grow, whereas insults and general hurtful behaviour serve no purpose. If a person is looking to hurt you and nothing more, you won’t gain anything by attempting to mollify them, and their words should be dismissed as they have no objective merit.

Or, to put it another way, you wouldn’t ask a friend who hates Chinese food for recommendations on where to get Chinese, so why would you listen to opinions about your YouTube channel from someone who just doesn’t like your channel.

Lack of Understanding

While YouTube has become huge over the last decade or so, and made many people very rich and very famous, it is still covered by the shadow of scepticism when it comes to people who do not spend much time on the Internet. Unfortunately, for many of us, our families and friends will include a certain number of these sceptics.

Explaining what you do and gaining the understanding of people like this can be difficult. This is especially the case if you are hoping for a supportive reaction from your friends and family if you decide to move into YouTubing full time.

The best you can do in these situations is explain things as honestly as you can, let them know how important it is to you, and then try to move past it if they refuse to take it seriously. Try not to hold grudges—YouTube is relatively new, and the idea of a YouTube career is even newer. It’s not entirely unreasonable of them to have a little skepticism about it.

Do YouTubers Get Paid for Likes? 1

Lack of Patience

Unlike the last one, this one is on you. Succeeding on YouTube takes time. Attempts to cheat the system and speed things along usually end in YouTube redressing the balance—sometimes by deleting your subscribers—so there is no quick fix to success.

If you do not have the patience for the YouTube long haul, there is a very real danger that you will run out of steam and quit.

It can help to visualise your goals, but never be anything less than brutally honest with yourself about the rate of growth you can expect. That way, you won’t be disappointed when you aren’t an overnight success.

Categories
DEEP DIVE ARTICLE SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS & TRICKS YOUTUBE

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

Internet security has never been as prevalent in the public consciousness as it is now. With significant data breaches a seemingly regular occurrence in the news, double factor authentication increasingly becoming a minimum requirement, and restrictions on how your passwords can be structured making them almost impossible to remember, it’s clear that security is important.

But staying safe online is not just about secure passwords. We have never been more visible than we are right now. We have pages and pages of tweets and Facebook posts and Instagram pics, and much of it is public. Now, be honest with yourself—do you consider the full privacy implications of your social media posts before you hit send?

This post is about YouTube, so you may wonder why we’re talking about Facebook and Twitter, but all will become clear soon enough.

Still, is it safe to have a YouTube channel? Yes, if you are careful. As you grow make sure you think of privacy long term. Always pick safe secure passwords and try not to post your entirely life on the internet – that’s when it gets extremely risky.

Let’s get into it.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel?

How Can Youtube be Dangerous?

There are different ways in which YouTube could be considered dangerous to the YouTuber posting videos, and it is essential to understand what these ways are if you have any hope of avoiding them. Let’s start with the least sinister one.

Putting All Your Eggs in the YouTube Monetisation Basket

YouTube has a patchy history when it comes to monetisation. It has made a lot of people rich, but it is also notoriously unreliable as an income source. If you’ve been in the YouTube stratosphere for a while, you’ll have heard of the “adpocalypse”.

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ll have heard of multiple adpocalypses.

This is the label name given to the various times that YouTube has made profound, seismic changes to its advertising policies and algorithms. These changes tend to negatively affect YouTuber revenue across the board, and even wipe it out entirely in some cases. One of the more recent adpocalypse’s (the fourth one, if we’re counting) saw many political punditry channels lose all of their revenue more or less overnight. And we’re talking channels with millions of subscribers here.

More recent changes have hit channels whose primary audience is children, with offensive and hateful content being targeted quite early on.

Whether you feel YouTube is overreacting in any of these cases or not isn’t the point here. The point is that in each of these cases, YouTube made significant changes—often without warning—that wiped out entire revenue streams overnight, and there’s no reason to believe it won’t happen again. So what’s the danger here?

The danger lies in your YouTube success reaching a point where you can afford to go full time, and rushing into it. Many people would happily scrape by as a YouTuber rather than make a comfortable wage doing a job they don’t like, but if you take that plunge before you are ready, and YouTube makes changes that hit your channel, you may find yourself in a very sticky situation.

How to Avoid This

First and foremost, don’t rush into a fulltime YouTube career. Be sure to weigh up your options properly, and discuss things with anyone who is likely to be affected by your decision, such as a partner you live with.

If you decide to take the leap, take your time with the transition. Try to build up a reserve of savings if you don’t already have one—at least enough money to cover a few months of living expenses—and the more, the better. That way, if things go wrong, you’ve got a bit breathing room to decide what your next move will be.

Going forward, always be on the lookout for ways to diversify your revenue streams. If you are getting your income from multiple sources, then the sudden disappearance of YouTube monetisation will not hit you as hard. Consider things like Patreon and merchandise sales. Brand deals are another way to monetise your videos without having to worry about what YouTube is planning.

Affiliate marketing can be a great long term source of income but can be a little confusing. I wrote a huge deep dive into affiliate marketing for beginners which will help you with everything you need to know about to

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 1

Personal Data

While not strictly a YouTube problem, the opportunities to inadvertently give away potentially damaging personal data as a YouTuber are greater—especially if you are or become popular.

The kinds of personal data we are talking about here include any information that could be used to commit fraud against you.

Let’s look at an example.

You know those security questions you often have to fill out? Things like “What was your mother’s maiden name?”, and, “What was the name of your first pet?”. If you use the real answers to those questions, and you happen to mention that bit of information in a video, you could be providing someone with a vital piece of the puzzle if they want to break into your accounts. It is easily done. After all—what’s the harm in mentioning that your first pet was a cat called Fluffy, right?

Another example of this kind of danger would be inadvertently showing a password or other sensitive information in your video. One example might be doing an unboxing video and having a clear shot of the address label. Another might be signing up for something in the video and typing a password in clear text that you use for other accounts.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 2

How to Avoid This

Try to avoid the possibility of situations like those mentioned above happening in the first place. If you are doing an unboxing video, make sure any labels are covered up, that way you don’t have to worry about whether they end up in the shot.

The best way to prevent any of this from getting to your channel, of course, it a watchful eye in the editing process. If you don’t have an editing process, it might be time to develop one. Even if you only watch the video through to check for problems like this, you should always give your footage the once over before publishing. If nothing else it is a matter of quality control, but it also allows you to make absolutely sure you haven’t inadvertently filmed a clear shot of your credit card!

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 3

Personal Safety

We mentioned the word “sinister” earlier on in the post, and with good reason. It is an unfortunate reality of the human experience that there are deeply unpleasant people out there. These may be people you know from your real life, such as abusive family members or people who have a grudge against you, but the Internet has its fair share of unpleasant strangers as well.

It is one thing receiving a threat of physical violence from a stranger on the Internet when they know nothing about you, but it’s an entirely different prospect when that stranger has managed to piece together your home address from the information you’ve sprinkled throughout your videos. This is something that the popular YouTuber and Twitch streamer Sweet Anita has had to deal with recently. Her situation has progressed to the point that she even had to take a restraining order out against one unhinged individual who figured out where she lived and even moved to her town permanently.

Of course, this is an extreme example, but it is not nearly as uncommon as it should be, and while most threats of violence are just that—threats—it is something that every YouTuber should be aware of going in.

How to Avoid This

The kinds of people who behave like this are not particularly prone to reason, so there is no sense in attempting to moderate your content so as not to attract the attention of dangerous individuals.

Unfortunately, the only way to really protect against this kind of thing is to keep an airtight lockdown on your personal information. Don’t let any private information become public. Doing this means careful consideration of your actions outside of YouTube, but that’s where our next topic comes in…

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 5

Keeping Your Private Information Private

Okay, most of us know not to go sharing bank details through random links, and to use a password that isn’t easily guessable, but there are many ways to inadvertently give away your personal data that are not as obvious.

For example, when you register a domain name, the name and address you register it under is publicly available and easy to find unless you pay for domain privacy protection.

Another way you might not have considered is geotagged information. For example; location data on your pictures, or routes from your latest run. It can be very tempting to share your latest Strava personal best but have you considered what information your route gives away. If you started and finished at your home, that’s not going to take much deciphering. Still, any run in your local area will allow nefarious actors to narrow down your location.

Do you use your real name on YouTube and also have a LinkedIn profile that lists your current employer? What about pictures from your home where distinguishable landmarks are visible in the shot?

Of course, there is such a thing as being paranoid, and there is only so much you can reasonably do to keep yourself safe before it becomes more practical just to stop being on YouTube altogether. A significant portion of this is knowing the risks, even if you don’t plan to mitigate all of them.

Tips for Staying Safe

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, so we thought it would be nice to break down some of the more actionable tips for keeping yourself safe as a YouTuber.

This is not necessarily a “bare minimum” situation since every action you take should be subjectively judged on what is best for you, but these are some of the more fundamental aspects of YouTube safety. In other words, make sure you have a good reason for not doing any of the following.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 6

Keep Your Residence Private

For most of us, our home is our set. Having a separate “studio” is a luxury that many can’t justify. Still, that doesn’t mean your home has to be recognisable.

Try to limit filming to areas where nothing distinguishable is around. For example, if you live in an apartment in New York with the Empire State Building behind you, avoid shooting with the window behind you.

Of course, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t give out your address.

Do Not Let Trackable Information Become Public

We have mentioned avoiding things like packing labels being visible in your video, but there are other ways information like that can get out. For example, if you accept packages from viewers, do not use your home address for the delivery of those packages. PO boxes may cost money, but they should be considered essential if you want to give your viewers a mailing address.

Consider using services like Google Voice instead of any landline phone numbers.

And, finally, while it may not seem like a big deal, consider keeping your birthday private, especially if your full name is public. A lot of information can be uncovered about someone with just their full name and a birthday.

Is it Safe to Have a YouTube Channel? 7

Do Not Make Travel Plans Public

This tip is more of a general Internet safety tip, rather than a YouTube specific one, but announcing to the world that your house will be empty for two weeks is not a great plan.

Especially if you are a notable figure on YouTube. If you’ve handled yourself carefully, it won’t matter because no one will know your home address, but it’s better not to run the risk and come home to a ransacked house.

Google Yourself

We know it’s generally considered vain and narcissistic to Google your own name, but you will be doing it for a good reason. Your aim is to try and stalk yourself and see what you can find out.

Remember, unless you’re a cyber-security expert, the chances are there will be people out there who can find more than you can. So, if you manage to uncover personal information about yourself through a bit of intensive Googling, you can bet others can as well.

Use this information to shut down any leaks in your online privacy, and keep you and your loved ones safe.