Ads are killing discoverability

It finally happened. I’ve seen multiple Ads on Twitch when opening different streams.

I’ll admit, I use Ad blocking in my browsers and I have for years. Ads seem to pervade all corners of the Internet now, and one of the biggest draws for watching content on Twitch was the ability to go ad-free.

All you had to do was have subscriptions to your favorite channels (provided they had ads turned off) or link your Twitch account to your Amazon Prime account. I haven’t tried Twitch Turbo, or whatever it’s called, because honestly I shouldn’t have to when I pay for Amazon Prime but that’s just my opinion on that matter.

Twitch has been working towards changing all this for the last couple of years by injecting ads straight into a channels data stream and circumventing adblocking softwares, and there are a few issues I’m seeing as a result.

The first issue revolves around what I already alluded to with Amazon Prime and subscriptions. Those seemingly don’t matter, and others on sites like Reddit share the sentiment that it’s bullshit. Why are we paying for these things just so Twitch can put ads in our face? The idea of cord cutting, and transitioning to services like Netflix and Twitch, was to get AWAY from ads. Ads are a disincentive now for these kinds of higher level services and their subscriptions.

The second and third issue are related by the fact that they impact streamers.

The second issue I see is more specifically about ads being a disincentive for people to want to watch streams at all, so they seek content elsewhere. Let’s face it, as much as people are hating on YouTube for their business practices of late, at least theres a skip ad button in most ads. This gives people the choice of what they want to do, watch the ad if it interests them or move on. Not an ideal solution but better.

The third issue, and one that hits close to home for me despite streaming being a hobby, is that ads are killing discoverability of streamers that are looking to grow. THIS is why I’m writing this entry and I was spurred on by a couple of comments I read on r/Twitch. People are becoming aware that ads aren’t going away and can’t be blocked so easily anymore. They’re getting frustrated that every new stream they navigate to will start with an ad and knowing this they’d rather go watch a larger streamer. Why? One reason is because the ads on the larger channel generally say they support the streamer, and not “This ad supports Twitch” and another reason is they probably have a sub to that streamer and won’t get ads anyway.

Although adblocking is losing its strength, for now, I also saw another comment that I found interesting. Some people have different adblocking strategies and software that are still effective to some degree. Rather than circumvent the ad, and go straight into the stream, it replaces it with nothing. Just a black screen. And they’re fine with that. They’re comment was literally about how they would rather see up to 30 seconds of a black screen than watch an ad at the start of a stream. This is not a great solution, but if it makes the viewer happy then cool.

I’ll say it again. Ads are killing discoverability. It’s unfortunate and counterproductive to some of the other initiatives that Twitch has been working on to increase discoverability of new and growing channels.

Good luck out there, folks.

Networking is weird

Modern professional and social networking is weird, and the internet makes it as difficult as it is easy.

The way that I interact with people changes based on my goal (and theirs, if I happen to learn it beforehand) so I often end up bouncing back and forth between introverted and extroverted social and professional habits.

My current work has taught me a lot about professionalism and networking, and the lessons I’ve learned there don’t always seem to sync up well with networking on social media. On the business professional side you have the mutual understanding that you aren’t trying to become best friends and are simply looking to work together for your common goals or interests. The other side, social media based networking, often is associated with trying to meet with people that have similar interests and hobbies and maybe become friends. At least, that’s my perception of the difference between professional networking and social media networking. The problem I run into now, though, is that social media networking and professional networking have meshed together through the Internet because that’s where the people are and businesses know that fact.

Half of the problem with them being so meshed together is that everyone is now in your business, whether you like it or not. This means both professional networking and social media networking play an important role in growth as a streamer.

One of the pieces of advice I’ve heard to grow as a streamer is you need to do at least some networking. You have to put yourself out there and talk to people “behind the scenes” of your stream. You have to make, and sometimes break, those connections to get the things you need to grow. Whether it’s sponsors or other streamers to help get your content some visibility. For myself this leads to an internal struggle between fear of the negative impact of mass perception and doing what I need to do to chase a dream.

“He’s just trying to be a leech.”

If that sentence sounds familiar, you’ve most likely read it, or something worded very similar, being used to describe a streamer on social media that’s trying to interact with a another streamer.

The other half of the problem with professional networking being meshed together with social media networking is that one is, essentially, a modern way to make friends. People often forget that fact when they start trying to network for a goal. My internal struggle is that I still see it as a way to interact with and make new friends, all while trying to make those important connections to grow my stream. And it blows. Majorly.

I’m afraid of wording something the wrong way and upsetting (and possibly losing) a friend, or being seen as a sellout by trying to get in the good graces of someone else because I want something that they have to offer as a resource for growth. I’ve mentioned it before, but sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Chances have to be taken. I only hope that if someone somehow feels like I’ve wronged them along the way that they forgive me for not wanting to miss an opportunity.

Let’s chase a dream and keep on moving forward.