I’m subscribed to the American Family Association’s mailing list, since I like to keep track of what they’re up to – I suspect many people are subscribed for the same reason. Today, they sent yet another riveting missive: “An unusual request from American Family Association”. My immediate impression was, wait a minute, everything they do is unusual by any rational standard. Like calling Home Depot the “Homo Depot”, which I’m sure is really amusing if you’re 12. Their latest cause, however, actually is pretty unusual:

With your help, YouTube has agreed to feature an AFA-produced patriotic video on their front page!

A few months ago, AFA commissioned Christian songwriter/singer Eric Horner to write a moving patriotic song to honor our national motto, “In God We Trust.”

Without any fanfare, we posted it on YouTube. The response was so overwhelming that YouTube called us to find out what was going on!

The fact is, the video is patriotic and inspiring, and it shares the message of faith. People love it!

YouTube has told us that if we can get 20,000 people to watch the video, they will feature it on their front page. That means that the tens of millions of people who visit YouTube’s website each day will be offered the opportunity to watch the video – a video with a Christian message!

Okay then. First of all, if your video currently has fewer than 20,000 views, YouTube is not going to be calling you about it. Maybe if it was 2 or 20 or 200 million views, but it’s still rather implausible that YouTube would actually call you to “find out what’s going on”. (YouTube, being YouTube, would likely have a better idea of that anyway.) It is possible that they would email you and invite you to enroll your video in the Individual Video Partnership revenue-sharing program so that they can run ads on it. But this is fairly common and part of an automated process – it isn’t that exceptional.

Getting 20,000 views on a video may seem like a lot, but in an absolute sense, it’s still not especially significant. For instance, an above-average video of mine might get 20,000 views. This has happened many times, and it’s not such an “overwhelming response” that anyone was calling me about it. Just for a sense of scale, here are a few select YouTube videos and their respective view counts:

This is what your anvilicious Christian takeover anthem, now sitting at 51,076 views, is up against. Good luck!

Now, as for their video being featured on the front page of YouTube if it gets 20,000 views, this is almost certainly false. That’s not a guarantee that it will appear on the front page, and that specific number likely has nothing to do with it. There are videos with both higher and lower view counts that are listed in the featured section of the front page, and YouTube has stated that featured videos are now selected by an algorithm, not manually chosen. As for including them in the spotlight section of the front page, it seems unlikely that YouTube would choose to place a controversial and partisan message front-and-center on the site. That’s something they tend to shy away from. And even if they were willing to do so, a threshold of only 20,000 would mean having to feature millions of other videos which meet that same requirement.

However, it’s quite possible that their video will be featured in general, which is distinctly different from being highlighted on the front page. According to a YouTube employee I met with, videos that are enrolled in the revenue-sharing program are automatically entered into the pool of videos that can be “featured”. Videos which are marked as featured aren’t necessarily featured on the front page; they can be displayed as featured at the top of the related videos on an individual video page, or alongside search results. Many of my own videos have been featured in this way despite having fewer than 20,000 views, often being placed atop the pages of people criticizing me – which they just love.

In any case, there’s no assurance their their video actually will be shown on the front page, and 20,000 views is a pretty low target to meet. It’s hardly an “overwhelming” response – for me, that’s just a decent day on YouTube. If anything, I’d expect their video to get more views from being mirrored on one of the many channels that ridicules tacky religious nonsense. Aim high, guys!

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6 thoughts on “WHAT? TWENTY THOUSAND!?

  1. 2

    YouTube called them? That is almost certainly a lie. Does the AFA realize this is 2010, not 1983? Even if YT did contact them, it was probably through email. This sounds like another sensational story from a Christian outfit desperate for attention from the younger generation that is (hopefully) too keen to fall for its bullshit.

    Sure, their video will be “front paged,” but only by those that already subscribe to their network. Perhaps it will even be put on the front page of others without reaching any milestone numbers. But so what? I saw a video of a guy busting his nuts on a railing. That didn’t convert me to take up skateboarding. I also like how they pretend as though a video with a “Christian message!” is like some new, hip thing, instead of a 2,000-year old pile of nonsense forced down the throats of one generation after another. It’s like the whole of Christendom has become like a Steve Balmer Microsoft rally, completely unaware that everyone has its product, and yet everyone fucking hates it.

    Good catch there, ZJ. I’m sorry you must endure the misery of the AFA mailing list, but rest assured you’re helping to pad their already fragile ego. I can just imagine them counting each new subscription and high-fiving one another with a “Praise Jesus!”

  2. 3

    And, of course, when the video doesn’t get featured on YouTube, they’ll be able to drum up righteous indignation among their members by telling them how “YouTube hates America / families / Christ / God / fill_in_the_blank.”

  3. 4

    The ICP video is actually what introduced me to your videos, my brother is a juggalo and he showed it to me and later I decided to check out the rest of your videos. That was an awesome one by the way.

  4. 5

    Hhhhhi Sweetie Darling,

    I just wanted to share a thought with you about the ICP video “Miracles” (which I am about to watch). Okay, maybe they are trying to say that one day all that seems like magic will be explained by science…….mmm……like we once thought that gravity was a miracle, right? Well, food for thought.

    Love Ya,

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