If you’re a regular viewer of PCWorld’s YouTube channel, you may have noticed the channel had been offline since Monday, July 25. We just got the channel back this Tuesday morning. So what happened?
The channel went down due to a chain-of-ownership snafu. Someone who works for PCWorld’s parent company, IDG, was attempting to consolidate email databases, and in that process triggered a series of events whereby PCWorld lost ownership of the channel. Primary ownership is directly attached to a single email address, and lacking any primary owner, YouTube’s automated system marked the channel for deletion.
Since the channel went down on July 25, we’ve been running an all-hands effort to correct the mistake. Our first stop was to engage YouTube’s standard support team, but that didn’t yield an urgent response. Our channel creators—Adam Patrick Murray, Gordon Mah Ung, Alaina Yee, and Brad Chacos—also reached out to other YouTubers, hoping they might have some kind of express-lane support contact at YouTube. (Thank you to everyone who helped!) We also had IDG executives reach out to contacts they may have at YouTube via pure business relationships.
It took a while, but we finally landed on a Google team member who could help investigate exactly what happened and help us reinstate the channel. That process involved a lot of technical discovery and repair, plus documentation that established our parent company, IDG, owns PCWorld.
This episode reminds us that YouTube has a very asymmetric relationship with its creators—which might make sense when you consider its support infrastructure must assist an estimated 51 million channels, with more than 29,000 of those channels serving more than 1 million subscribers. PCWorld’s channel has 295,000 subscribers, and we’re thrilled (and relieved) we could get the channel back in their subscriptions list.