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Discussion on: I'm concerned with the move that FreeCodeCamp just pulled by leaving Medium

tantricbuddha profile image
J man

You think this is bad, you should see what they've been doing to their guest authors on YouTube. They basically get them to agree to post 1-8 hour long videos onto their large YouTube channel with a promise that they will "promote" the author's content. Yet very few of these authors see an appreciable change in subscribers after doing so. And of course by promoting, I mean they just put a few small links in the bottom of the video's description box and pin a comment to the top of the comment section. They don't use the YouTube systems which were made for promotion like Cards or End Screens; in fact the end screens just promote more FreeCodeCamp videos.

One of these Authors gave them 4 hours worth of content which is roughly 80% of his channel. The video was comprised of 60 short videos in a playlist on his channel. The video got roughly 60-70k views on FreeCodeCamp's YouTube channel but the Author didn't see any change in his subscriber base and his original content is now dead with maybe 1/20th of the viewership (and that is considering all 60 videos). I am not sure if this is related but this Content Creator also hasn't posted a new video since.

They are basically getting these content creators to compete with their own content. And whats to stop them from one day deciding to add advertisements to their YouTube channel? I know a guy who was approached by them with this same deal. He expressed concerns to them about how they were promoting the content and they replied with a bunch of platitudes about how great free content is and how he should fork over his content regardless of any potential upside for the sake of making it "free". Any YouTube content creator knows that their content is basically free regardless of how many advertisements they put on their videos because a large portion of viewers use adblockers.

Frankly, this entire process is extremely shady and this is ignoring the potential copyright legality of re-posting content onto another channel. If FreeCodeCamp wanted to, they could issue copyright strikes against all of the guest content creators which is a scary thought. The Videos on FreeCodeCamp might be "free" but they promote the FreeCodeCamp brand and in doing so, squash the competition.

beaucarnes profile image
Beau Carnes

I manage the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel. I'd love to have a chat with this creator about how we can better support their channel. Could you have them reach out to me?

The feedback I've received from people who allow us to post their content has been very positive. There are many reasons people share their content on the freeCodeCamp channel. It is not always because they want to grow their own YouTube channel, though people report that they get a bump in subscribers. Some people want to promote their paid courses or their personal brand and others just want to provide quality learning content for free to a big audience.

People can revoke their permission at anytime and we will take down the content. This has only happened once. People have gotten jobs or raises at work partially based on their content posted on the freeCodeCamp YouTube channel.

Finally, will never show ads on any platform.

tantricbuddha profile image
J man

Somehow I doubt that you get mostly "positive" feedback from your guests. You guys basically take the content that they make and create a way for that content to directly compete with the original channel. My friend and I did the research, we went through a large chunk of the guests you've had on your channel since the beginning of the year. Very few of them have seen any kind of results from your promotion in terms of YouTube Subscribers or views. You talk about a bump in subscribers but I haven't seen anything of the sort after looking through the analytics. I won't name any names because I don't want to speak for anyone but there is very little cost efficiency for partnering with your channel.

Your company might be a not-for-profit company, but that isn't the case 99% of content creators. Most of them are developers and professionals who want provide education and make some money on the side. Many of them do the work because they find it interesting and fun but its also still work. Each video takes time and effort to create and giving away that work for "Free" to another company just isn't a good choice especially when that company could be doing so much more to pay back this donation via promotion.

To put things into perspective, it takes my friend roughly 4-5 hours to make ~20 minutes of video. This includes recording, editing, making a thumbnail, marketing, and setting up everything else. This doesn't include research which I would argue could almost double the time cost. If he was to give away 4 hours of his content; it would roughly equate to 48-60+ hours worth of work. If you do the math to make partnering with your channel worth while a channel would have to grow significantly and gain a fairly high click through rate (Which certainly isn't the case).

For a recent example lets look at this video: "Learn Data Science - Full Course for Beginners" which was just released on the 30th. This video sits at about 36k views right now and it was created by a YouTube channel that has a total of 1.4k subscribers. On the day that the video was released, the channel received a total of 88 subscribers, the next day they received 36 subs and then the next day they received only 15 subscribers (falling back to its original average). Lets assume for a moment that all of those subscribers came from this video release (probably not the case); that's 139 subscribers in three days from a video that has 36k views - a 0.3% click through rate which is pathetic (for reference, 4-5% is the average you would expect on a normal YouTube Video). Most of the top comments on this video directly reference free code camp; they don't seem to have any idea that this was created by a user who isn't affiliated with your company. And why should they? nowhere in the video does it show that this video was created by the 3rd party author. The first thing you see is a big logo for FreeCodeCamp.

This video is a 5 hour video by the way, this author was very generous when he gave you the content. But where is your company's gratitude for this content creator? There are no cards promoting the channel, no end screen, no logo in the beginning of the video, no audible mention of the channel name, nothing except a small link in the description box (at the bottom mind you). And whats worse, you guys went and branded the video with your own brand. All I see are people talking about how great Free Code Camp is when in reality you are just taking content that other people made and not giving them proper compensation.

This is really shitty. I think I am going to go and contact your CEO directly because this is seriously worse then I thought it was. You guys are like a cancer that potentially destroys many budding content creators. I personally am going to go through each and every one of the guest authors that you've had on your YouTube channel; look at the analytics and parse the data so that I can create an article addressing this problem.

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andrewbrown profile image
Andrew Brown 🇨🇦

This is my experience, and I'm just one person but I thought I'd share.

First-Hand Experience

I'm a guest content creator where I have published 3 courses (4 hours, 4 hours and 10 hours) and the result has been overwhelmingly positive every single time.

The struggle was incredibly hard before freeCodeCamp Youtube that I'd be embarrassed to put that story to ink. I will tell you first-hand experience the results it has produced.

The Results

This is the results of publishing on freeCodeCamp Youtube:

  • Searching "AWS" on Youtube puts me on top as the first result
  • My own Youtube channel has received a large uptick in subscribers
  • Even though I gave my courses away for free, people pay to support the creation of my free courses. This is leading to sustainable revenue.
  • Multiple job opportunities, paid workshops
  • Nearly everyone in Toronto (that's where I am) whether it be an accelerator, incubator, tech firms or otherwise knows who I am. No more am I being ignored and people want to collaborate. I have the street cred to do talks where I was one turned away.

The Support

Both Beau and Quincy will provide you with the support and mentorship you need for your content to succeed but it's your choice to listen and take action. If you listen, they'll tell you more, and in turn, you'll maximize the result you to gain.

Thoughts About Promoting their Guest Content

freeCodeCamp isn't a big ad for my brand and to convert direct sales to me. I never expected Cards or End Screens because that would go against the principle of the no ads.
I mention my name and my brand in the introduction. At every section, I say my name and my brand, but this simply out of habit and because I already shot the material. I make no call to actions, I don't show people my platform, people consume my content, they get to know me and find me afterwards. Is it in the magnitude of the number of views on the original video? No. But it is still in the thousands.

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abdurrahmaanj profile image
Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

I'm just one person