YouTube networks sound great, but do they really deliver? ScaleLab did not.
I was a member of a YouTube Network. Was is the operative term.
Back in September I received a message in my YouTube inbox with the subject: "Inviting you to be a leader in our YouTube Pilates community."
Well, I thought, this could be interesting.
So I opened the message.
Love your YouTube channel. I'm a huge Pilates fan, and actually do it about 3 times a week (YouTube is my teacher)!
My name is ------ and I work at ScaleLab, which is a Multi-Channel Network on YouTube. My job at this moment is to find the best Pilates channels to be leaders in our Pilates community.
OK, my Pilates channel is small, but high quality. I am a YouTube partner and actually make some money from the videos. I have a decent-size, active social media presence. And I don't play around with other people's material.
Here's the summary, real quick:
ScaleLab has created the first-ever community of YouTube channels with a focus on Pilates.
We'd love for you to be a Community Leader in our Pilates community, which means you'll have a prominent place among all other Pilates channels in our network -- and other channels will look to you to set the standard for great content.
It's not a paying gig. :) It's more of a prestige thing, but it will definitely increase your video views and subscribers.
There are a bunch more benefits that come from being a member of ScaleLab (increased views & subscribers, access to production financing, etc.). If you like, you can read about that stuff on the website.
Note that not only isn't this a paying gig, the ScaleLab YouTube network keeps 25% of YouTube ad revenue in exchange for all the groovy benefits. I checked the company website and Googled them to make sure there was no nasty news, and all checked out.
The first thing I noticed in the Community forums was how empty they were. However, folks were active and we did a lot of subscribing, liking, and commenting on each other's channels and videos. But we noticed a lack of company presence and communication.
Where were all "the other Pilates channels?" Why didn't the Network channel at the very least subscribe to all of its network members? Where was the branding, the banners to help us gain new members?
We received some emails and messages, most sounding scattered and definitely received as "too little, too late."
And then came what for me were the final straws - reading a news story about a major screw up where the Network channel claimed copyright on member videos (which is such a newbie screw up) and then discovering that the Network channel had been suspended - all with no communication from the Network.
So I emailed.
And they quickly dissolved my contract and offered to send me a check for any of the ad monies they kept during the past 3.5 months of doing nothing to earn it. They booted me out before I even had a chance to see them work.
According to their email, "We're a new company (operational for approximately 4 months now), and we're finding out that even when we hire the best possible people, growing pains and silly mistakes still happen.
"Occasionally, a situation arises where a channel within our network is so unhappy that the best solution is simply to part ways. This seems to be that situation."
Now, in all the company information I saw, nowhere was it mentioned that this was a start up venture. And frankly, growing pains and silly mistakes should not be happening when you are asking people to pay you to help grow the network.
And, how often has this happened? You have only been around for four months and have already done this more than once?
They didn't create the first YouTube Pilates Community. They invited me and thought I would invite others with no incentive whatsoever.
I am not the only one.