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Saturday, January 25, 2020

A re-launch progress update


It's been two weeks since I was forced to yank the e-brake and put a full stop on the JANGBRiCKS channel on YouTube (and almost everything else, for that matter).  By the time I posted my video explaining how YouTube had killed nearly all value in nearly all of my work of the past 10 years, I had formed a mental image of what my primary content, LEGO reviews, could look like in the post-COPPAcalypse era.  Based on viewer feedback, I discarded that initial concept and eventually figured out something that would be less of a dramatic departure from the style many people had come to really enjoy.

Since then I have completely disassembled my entire review space and built something new from the ground up in its stead, in an area roughly 1/3rd the minimum size most studio pros seem to recommend for how I'm planning to use it.  As of this writing I now have one furniture assembly, one lightweight construction install, and a bunch of odds & ends to complete before I'll be ready to start recording again.  Because I've focused primarily on the technical setup, my actual use of the redesigned space may take awhile to mature, but I'm hopeful that with more of your valuable input I'll be able to hit a new stride fairly quickly.

Of course all of this upheaval struck at the absolute worst time, right after I had spent a small fortune on a huge stack the latest LEGO sets that everyone was eager to see me immediately film & discuss, thus all of my momentum was perfectly zeroed out after a hard-fought year of recovery from a 3-year algorithm-driven slide & slump.  It cannot be overstated:  I need to get out of this cruel YouTube prison.  I enjoy being able to reach at least a tiny fraction of the tremendous audience I've gained on the platform, but the relentless balancing act & battle against endless anti-creator forces is utterly ridiculous and unsustainable.  I need to get back to making content that I enjoy and that you enjoy in a more natural way and at a comfortable pace.  Before that can happen, though, I need to get back to making content of any kind and at any speed.

Soon.  Knock on ABS.

65 comments:

  1. Good luck. As you say, making content is key. Hopefully you will manage to get back into the rhythm soon. I personally appreciate the effort that obviously goes on behind the scenes to ensure that your videos are the best they can be. Much love.

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    1. Jang take all the time you need
      Thanks for the insightful reviews and ps please make some vids with your doggo

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  2. Good luck Jang love your videos about lego sets very informative!

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  3. I really hope you figure this out. I have grown up with you and your videos and it's painful to see all these restrictions on your creativity and content. Good luck Jang

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  4. Hope you can get through this.

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  5. Wish you all the best. I believe in you.
    As for the content, variety is always a good thing and assembly line work never as satisfying as individual products you're passionate about. I still hope, though, that we'll get to see reviews. I know it's probably shallow of me, but that is the content I enjoy the most on your channel, as your reviews are so insightful and useful for me when it comes to bying decisions.

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    1. No worries and I don't find that shallow at all. Rather, I take it as honest and meaningful feedback.

      Reviews will remain the majority of what I do on my main channel for the foreseeable future as it's what the majority of viewers want. I'm just hoping to shift the balance a slight bit in the direction of things I personally enjoy more. I don't need much for myself to be happy, so don't expect a sea change! I'd also like to review more things that I have skipped before due to the YT algorithm making them especially difficult to justify.

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  6. You know your audience best. I really thought it was adults. It was a real surprise that you chose kids as your audience. Perhaps one click of a button could fix this

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    1. My audience is primarily teens & adults. My content matches COPPA factors. As I've explained a number of times, this makes me what YouTube calls a "mixed audience" creator, yet YouTube has no such categorization. If YT followed COPPA in its entirety, rather than the absolute bare legal minimum, then I could mark my entire channel as "not for kids" and all would be well.

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    2. I think you're taking the law way too seriously Jang. Figure out what is the worst that could reasonably happen keeping in mind that the FTC has little to no resource to enforce the rules and the rules themselves are at best "open to interpretation". Any fine you could possibly be imposed will be relative to your earning capacity. YouTube got a tap on the wrist which cost them a fraction of the billions they made in ad revenue from kids. Be strong, change the setting and get your life back. Your content is not made for kids and you have nothing to back away from unless you choose to. Best of luck my man and may common sense prevail,

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    3. I've explained my reasoning in detail many times with ample quotes & sources. My content classifies as "mixed audience" like I just said again, and unlike COPPA, YouTube requires that to be marked "for kids." The FTC is the least of my concerns. If YouTube('s bots) feel I've self-classified incorrectly, independent of the FTC even knowing I exist, YT can delete my channel and all 4,000+ videos & 10 years of work, instantly, with only the slimmest chance of any appeal if I'm lucky enough to raise enough of a social media PR mess. Not. Worth. The. Risk. Period.

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    4. Also, I don't appreciate the "be strong" (ie. "you're weak") dig at all. You don't know me, my motivations, or what I've successfully fought through in my life.

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    5. Hi Jang,

      I’ll be honest - I absolutely love your videos and have been following your Lego channel and RC channel before that! BUT, your reply above to the guy who said ‘be strong’ was innapropriate and strange - if you read it from the perspectivec that I’m sure he was coming from, he was just trying to be helpful not offensive... you took it like he was saying be strong because you’re weak, but was clearly (seemingly) just saying it in the way that showed compassion from what you’ve gone through and suggesting to push through the issue because he thinks you can do it.

      Anyway, like I said, I like your videos and sorry to hear for the issues you’ve had, but had to say something as I found your reactions to ‘some’ comments quite harsh..... I know why though, and it would be because there are absolutely some idiots out there and lots of bad comments... but I think that makes your comments to a lot of ‘not’ bad comments a bit over the top. Anyway, good luck with all your stuff, hope you get back on track with the videos.

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    6. I've absolutely received plenty of comments in this exact context on this exact subject very clearly and in far more certain words (most backed by expletives or homophobic language) directly insulting me and calling me "weak" or a "baby" or "spineless" et al. for not "standing up and fighting" by stubbornly risking it all and instead protecting 10 years of work by following the rules as they're written to the best of my ability. If Jeremy Herbert was not on that track in even the slightest, I didn't see it and owe him an apology. I've just never been one to let anybody try to walk over me from behind their keyboard in another state or country without a response and I do acknowledge that 25+ years of being a target of online toxicity due to one or another form of "success" has raised my guard higher than average.

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    7. For what it's worth, Jang, I read the exact same tone in Herbert's message and interpreted it the same way. Lots of loaded language and backhanded encouragement. Opening with a statement minimizing the issue (and therefore your response to it), using "be strong" to preface his idea of the right thing to do, and ending his string of opinions with "may common sense prevail (which implies that what you're currently doing may not be 'common sense') is all very deliberate manipulation and you were completely justified in reading into and responding to it the way that you did. Lots of opinionated folks out there not having to deal with this stuff firsthand.

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  7. Hey jang, many creators have fallen at the hands of YouTube. Linus From Linus tech tips has helped create the floatplane Platform with the team leader luke as a back up plan of sorts. which allows videos to be posted freely regardless of content. Maybe you could get in touch with them, they’re always happy to help out fellow YouTubers. Good luck

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    1. I looked into it a month or so ago at viewers' suggestions and saw that viewership on even the marquee channels was pretty poor. Now they've implemented a login gate across the whole site and I can't even peek at any of the content from the outside, which will surely tank adoption :(

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  8. Wish you the best luck, Jang. This war on creators like you is ridiculous, years of work profitable for all sides were literally ruined. Prepared to support your Patreon or support you in any other eventual way that lets you keep on creating the content thousands of viewers enjoy. Hope to hear from you soon!

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  9. Thank you for all the fantastic content you created in the last few years. I hope you get to go back to doing what you love soon, no matter what form it might take!

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    1. Thanks for the support! I'm making good progress and will be back in full force ASAP.

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  10. Have you thought about an alternate platform such as floatplane ?

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  11. I wish you the best of luck. I hope you can get everything ready. I hope you can get back to doing what you love. I will be really excited when you start posting videos again.

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    1. Thanks! I'm almost there & should start making videos again this coming week.

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  12. I am going through JANGBRICK withdrawals. Go ahead and turn on Patreon, you have a large group of fans ready and willing to help support your channel.

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    1. Thank you! I will as soon as I feel fully comfortable about how it's set up.

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  13. Keep moving forward! You have many supporters and we are on your side.

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  14. I’m missing your content. Get that patreon up and running :)

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  15. I'm rooting for you Jang! and I'm gonna see if I can donate the grey tier to you!

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  16. I'm rooting for you Jang! And I'm gonna see if I can donate the grey tier to you :)

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  17. Hi Jang,
    your hints about the new studio are making me very, very, very curious. I´m sure, you´ll come up with something fabulous. To bridge the time, I began (re-)watching older videos about your city, truly recommendable, everybody.
    Take the time you need, don´t work too much, we´re out here, waiting for you.
    Greetings from Germany!
    Ennasus

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    1. Thank you for your support and patience! The positivity & kindness gives a wonderful boost.

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  18. We love and support you. May the force be with you!

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  19. Good luck bro..... Love your content. Many thanks for all the hard work you put in, it's hugely appreciated... PEACE : )

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  20. Yes come back soon and goodluck

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  21. Thank you for the update. I assume longer term data has confirmed the coppacalypse? Also, is moderation off on this post -- some trolls seem to have crept in (see 1/25@8:25 AM).

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    1. Moderation is on. I don't see any posts marked anything x:25, AM or PM (not a time zone issue) either logged in or logged out & anonymous in a different browser. What's the username behind the post you're seeing?

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    2. PS: Data has very much confirmed the 'lypse.

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    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. Definitely miss scrolling to read comments in your videos. I feel that it allows a sense of community to be built.

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    1. I definitely agree and am looking forward to doing videos I'm confident in legally marking "not for kids" again soon so things can get back to normal-ish.

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  23. Best to you Jang.
    Perhaps you can offer MoC's/instructions for sale of your designs.
    Raffle off some sets, etc.

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  24. Jang, there is a GIANT void in my YouTube subscription page each night and it's terrible. I miss your videos and appreciate all you are doing to get back up and running. I'm sorry you are having to go through all of this. All the best to you!

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  25. Have you considered YouTube unrelated revenue streams? Like writing a book or selling (LEGO related) digital downloads? It wouldn't be an immediate cash influx, but a long term one. I'm looking into it and can share notes if you're interested :)

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  26. Jang, isn't there a way for you not to take legal responsibility for the content you POST on YT, by getting hired by your own company / a limited anonymous company / someone else's company outside the US and/or to purchase an appropriate insurance that would cover legal costs of a possible trial ?

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  27. Miss your videos Jang. You have 100% of my support during this transition period. I had a small channel that I was hoping to grow throughout the years but then this whole COPPA thing happened and I completely scrapped it. No creator should ever feel like they’re being silenced. Good luck you my friend. I’m looking forward to what’s coming.

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  28. We patiently look forward to the new Jang Bricks!

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  29. I hope everything gets better jang 🙏

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  30. Thanks Jang! Watching your content over the years and trusting your honest and elaborate opinions on sets showed me and others just how important Lego is to you. As it is to a lot of us.
    Keep building and filming and we will keepy building and watching!

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  31. Does coppa say you can't make ad revenue from kids? I mean ever watch saturday morning cartoons? You don't need to steal their data and viewing habits. But rather target based on content of the channel. If it's a child YT account viewing the video then show ads for kids. I would actually really appreciate my kids not getting served ads for horror movies! It just seems like common sense here has gone out the window!

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    1. You're not wrong! The thing is, though, COPPA isn't about regulating or enforcing what's right or appropriate for kids, it's just about protecting their private info and preventing them from being digitally tracked 24/7.

      As for the ad revenue issue, again COPPA mostly doesn't care. This one just comes down to how heavily YouTube/Google leaned into their tracking data to sell ads on even clearly "for kids" content where they weren't supposed to collect & use it. It's not difficult for companies to focus their ads on kid-directed content with basic COPPA-compliant contextual keyword matches, but Google pushed so much into the non-compliant bucket that when the latter got cut off, it left a huge void. Hopefully companies will adjust and Google will help re-educate and empower marketing folk to put more appropriate ads on appropriate content in legal ways.

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  32. Hey Jang! I wanted to say already a long time ago, that I find you very inspiring, and not only as a brick builder or a video creator!
    I am really impressed how you deal with the present difficulties and how you positively and creatively react, fully conscious of your strengths!
    Thanks !

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  33. Jang I really hate to see good wholesome things be trashed by networks or the failures of others, I really enjoyed your content and your input, I wish you didnt have to change your ways.

    But hey if you set up a discord I'll be happy to join you there and share your content with the 405th becasue I've been talking about your reviews there.

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  34. Off-topic, Jang, but I finally included your minifig representation into my tower. You're on the second floor, where there is a bar. Your drink is milk (or a milk brick) because I'm cool (or perhaps uncool) like that. ;)

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  35. Best luck to you. I've always loved watching your reviews for the most honest and informative views on the product without being biased. I don't know if it's possible, but I guess you could try more gaming videos on TheJang for things that you also enjoy like Halo. But best of luck!

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  36. I will wait for your relaunch Jang, my favorite LEGO reviewer.

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  37. I am truly looking forward to the path to recovery for your work. It is a shame creative outlets have become prisons for those who seek to bring joy to like minded people. I wonder if the Youtube Startups had this in mind ... I think not. Anyway as stated, looking forward to see what is to come. I wish you a lot of mental relief and energy to push through.

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  38. Jang, When I renewed my love for Lego 5 years ago I found your channel shortly after. Your content really made me love it even more and I find it fun and inspiring. I really appreciate you keeping your fans in the loop on what you are doing and look forward to the next chapter.

    I wish you nothing but success as you tackle this hurdle!

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  39. Hi Jang. Just wanted to give you some support with the new look. Really enjoyed the new review, think it will be successful.

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  40. Hope you can get things sorted soon. I wish there was another platform that you could use.
    Love your videos, love your reviews and MoCs.
    My wife and I are always keen to see the latest updates to New Jang City.
    Sending lots of love.

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  41. I wish you luck and wisdom getting through this. If there is anything we as fans can do: please do not hesitate to ask

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