Platforms Changing Their Terms? This Shouldn’t Be A Problem For You
Have you ever experienced a social media platform changing the rules on you?
What about a marketplace changing their fee structure or terms of conditions?
If you haven’t, then you’re a lucky devil… and with all luck, it eventually runs out. You should prepare accordingly.
At times, I feel like a conduit for all the information on internet business stuff. I have about a million email lists I’ve signed up to, a long client list that uses all kinds of different strategies and tech, and in the midst of all that, I have to run my own business.
Recently, the warning systems that come from the above have been going haywire.
Just before Christmas, there was Patreon. They did something that I don’t really know about. It had something to do with their charging a minimum fee or pledging at a certain time of the month or something.
Then there was YouTube. They’ve decided to demonetize channels with few subscribers and few hours watched.
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Then there was Facebook. They’ve decided that they’re basically pay-to-play for business exposure.
This all exists as a backdrop against writers constantly complaining about shifting Amazon fees and internet marketers complaining about Google algorithm updates.
A lot of people worry about this and if you go on forums and the like, you get an overwhelming sense of dread emanating from the constant “Sky Is Falling!” posts.
People are right to be worried. The sky really is falling this time.
If you are worried, read this article and I’ll help you out.
The Sky Falls In Every Day
If you go back years, you’ll see the same arguments over and over again.
The internet used to be the Wild West. Everyone used to spam backlinks and there were no rules. Then Google said, “Hey… these millions of blog comments don’t mean a site is good” and you’d think affiliate marketing was over.
Amazon had its Kindle Unlimited program where you got paid $1 for every time someone borrowed your book, no matter how short it was. So people pumped out ten page stories and did that every day and made thousands per month.
Then the terms changed.
The terms will always change because the big platforms are just trying to make as much money as they can. So are you.
This is just an unalterable fact. I see a bunch of people each time this happens start online petitions and stuff… and it’s a waste of time.
Here’s what you need to do.
Your Business, Your Priority
Presumably, you care more about the success of yourself and your business than you do about the success of Google or Amazon or wherever.
If that’s not the case… then I don’t know what to say. Stop being stupid.
A lot of people don’t act in their interests though.
They’ll think that going all in on one platform is the way to do it.
They’ll spend hundreds of hours making YouTube videos without their own website. Then when YouTube demonetisation happens, they earn no money and yet YouTube still gets their views.
Or, someone will spend years building a Twitter following only to get banned and disappear forever. (Or go to Gab.ai… but those two things are basically the same.)
Worse yet, people will create content to deliberately play to a specific crowd or algorithm. It’ll turn out that Amazon prefers ten page stories so that’s all a person writes and they only sell it on Amazon. A million words later, Amazon hates short stories and our writer has no list and a bunch of stories that nobody will pay for.
You have to be smarter than this.
All of these platforms are enablers. They are suppliers (in the case of Amazon’s print-on-demand service for books) or marketing tools (in the case of Twitter, Google and YouTube.)
Your business is not your marketing channel. Your business is not the supplier of raw materials.
You cannot think of any of it this way.
Should Any Of These Companies Disappeared Tomorrow, What Would You Do?
If Facebook disappeared, would your business still run?
If you were banned from all search engines, could you still make money?
Ask yourself those questions. Should the answer be “no” to any of them, you have a critical weakness.
If YouTube took away monetisation on your videos, would they make any money?
If the answer is no… then you have a weakness.
This Doesn’t Mean Stop Using The Channels
If you are one of the people affected by YouTube’s demonetisation, you should be happy. You still have all of your videos. You can still edit the descriptions.
That means you can correct the biggest mistake that you are making.
You are not pointing your traffic and your subscribers to better offers.
Every video you have should point people into your funnels, where you have control of products, services and thus income.
If you do this, then it doesn’t matter if YouTube never plays an ad on your videos again.
The same is true with your Twitter account. If you aren’t pointing it to your site, then you’re doing it wrong.
You can use the channels, sites and suppliers, but at all times, you’re building your own business.
The same is true with marketplaces.
If Amazon banned you from selling on their site, would this bankrupt you? Hopefully not.
Hopefully, you’d still be selling on your own site, on Ebay, on Etsy or wherever’s applicable.
If you’re not… then you have work to do.
But What If It Becomes Too Expensive?
You have a cost to produce any service or good. You also have a marketing budget- be that in terms of money or time.
With every channel you create and every supplier you use, you need to have that figure in your head.
If spending fifty hours a week on Twitter makes you a million pounds, then great. If it makes you ten pounds, then you need to stop doing it or seriously adjust your strategy.
This is no different when it comes to suppliers and marketplaces.
If you sell on Amazon and Amazon’s fee changes so you make a loss as opposed to profit, then obviously you stop selling there.
If Facebook says, “now you have to pay for marketing” and you don’t have the budget, then it’s time to move somewhere else.
Providing you have followed the step above and been smart about cultivating an audience and customer base you have access to, then this is not a problem.
They will follow you.
When you’re in the tech giants’ houses, you have to play by their rules. The easiest and best solution is to spend a lot less time in their houses, and when you are there, to encourage people to come to your house instead.