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Kugee's Vlare channel, STG Recordings playlist

Update (2/5/2021): Unfortunately, Vlare is no longer a thing, as whatever existed of the new incarnation will likely be merged into another site. May the efforts of all those involved in the site never be forgotten... see this video for more details regarding that and the direction of my YouTube channel from here on out.

Vlare is a recent alternative video sharing platform to the likes of YouTube. As of now, it is very small, but much more fulfilling for viewers and creators alike. While it has gone under extended downtime so the staff can work on a more stable foundation, I strongly recommend you try it yourself when it goes back up. You'll love it! https://vlare.tv

Here's my Vlare channel, where you're guaranteed to see all of my newest videos as soon as possible whenever the site does go back up: https://vlare.tv/u/Kugee

I don't get paid to write this stuff. Some people have speculated I do, but by the time you're finished reading this whole page, I'm sure you'll get the idea that I make my push for Vlare out of the most pure sincereity.

Oh, YouTube...

So, I'm guessing you've used YouTube before. Who hasn't at this point? Over the years, it's become the dominant platform for online video sharing. It's also the reason why I am where I'm at now; since I first started watching videos on the site in 2006 and made my own for it the following year, it's helped me grow into something very different than what I would've been otherwise. The endless variety of videos from countless random people all across the world challenged what I previously thought I understood and enlightened me on an avalanche of new subjects I was never even aware of.

YouTube may have been the single most important breakthrough in the history of the internet. Other platforms have came before it, but it was the first one to provide a point of entry for absolutely anyone. Sadly, as time went on, the website lost touch with its original meaning and its userbase more and more. YouTube needs a company as large as Google in order to even survive, but Google certainly is not kind to any of us...

The Decline

The full story is long and complicated, so I can only brief on it here... maybe later, I will have a larger page documenting as many of YouTube's sins as possible, including those you don't know.

As early as June 2007, YouTube has demonstrated an unwillingness to cooperate with its community in various incidents of increasing scale. Almost every single time, it's been the exact same cycle: YouTube or someone on the site does something really bad, the community bands together to call for YouTube to halt the bad thing or addressing something properly, YouTube ignores the outcry and follows through with whatever's at hand.

Even so, 2005-2009 could still be regarded by many as the golden era of YouTube. After this timeframe, the site started to take some nasty turns. The entire site layout could never sit still, false copyright claims were getting more out of control, and a number of warning signs foreshadowing the corporatization of the video domain were in sight.

Popular YouTubers were bought out by obscure media companies, and others resorted to extreme clickbait and leeching off of yet more user's content. High quality creators, most notably animators, were thrown off their momentum on a whim because YouTube started favoring watch time over view counts, paving the way for a larger quantity of trashy, bloated content.

Google+: Bow to Us!!!

And then Google+ was forced onto every YouTuber in late 2013. The new comment system's bare functionality was actually a much needed improvement over the heavily constraining 500 character limit and constant CAPTCHA prompts, but at what cost? Everyone was forced to have a Google+ account handy in order to post comments at all, and yet many of them were suspended because people weren't using their "real" names. Talk about forced privacy violations...

At first, I wanted to turn to another YouTube alternative, but gave up on the idea very quickly since I felt like I was getting another bad ZippCast-like experience. Fortunately, I was able to evade the real name policy by creating a "brand channel". I don't run a brand, but I guess if a non-name works for Google+ that way, it'll be enough to save me from that mess. I still run the channel to this day with a more relevant name in place. Others could not figure out a way around the policy, and were left having to use their real names or something that looks like a name.

Thankfully, Google+ failed so miserably that hardly anyone ever used it for more than a few seconds... seriously. The Google+ requirement to post comments was dropped in 2015, and some years after that, Google+ was set to die in 2019. It's a rare case of justice being served in the realm of YouTube, but most end up never being resolved. Well, you done good, Bob...

The Demoralization of Creators

YouTube has been demoralizing its creators more and more due to a number of factors which I can't immediately name. More channels got their revenue drastically cut, and they struggled to gain any velocity as YouTube demanded they pump out more and more content without regard to quality. Serve the machine... keep everyone else in the machine... endless engagement... yes...

Even for someone like me who doesn't even bother with video monetization, I always hated YouTube's playing field. It was so damn difficult to get off the ground, and when I finally did, it was through some stupid video I never intended to have become popular. That thing became such a headache that I deleted the thing before it could hit three million views. Meanwhile, most of my higher effort works could not even come close to breaking five thousand.

I spent a long, long time creating Arowana behind the scenes, trying all sorts of new techniques to streamline the process of benchmarking eight different operating systems. The effort never paid off, demonstrating a brutal lesson of making videos for YouTube: no matter how hard you try to make a video as good as you possibly can, you will not be rewarded in kind. If you get anything, content leeches will probably be more favored than you.

The Last Straw

I couldn't take it anymore. The algorithm was too oppressive. I hardly ever wanted to bother making videos anymore, knowing they would barely reach out to even one tenth of my subscriber base - by that, I mean 1,000 of around 10,000. It was like I was just creating videos for the void and having a great big "fuck you" echoed back to me.

Around the same time I was turning to other endeavors, an attention-grabbing doomsday event caught my eye: starting in 2020, the FTC was going to fine content creators for up to $42,000 if they incorrectly marked their videos as being for kids or not... all because YouTube knowingly profited off of children's activity on their site, and made efforts to turn the blame on us, who had nothing to do with it!

While no cases of individual creators actually getting fined seem to have occurred as far as I'm aware, the damage resulting from this is very real. YouTube yet again showed it would gladly betray their users in order to even slightly reduce the damage it takes. Many videos would be incorrectly marked as being for kids by YouTube's bots.

Time to Switch...

For a time, more people started flocking to a startup website called Vlare, the successor to VidLii and Vanillo. I've heard of Vlare before, and was actually quite skeptical of it because it was run by the same person who created VidLii. VidLii was the first YouTube alternative I truly believed in, but I had to turn away from it because the community there was too toxic and it was poorly managed.

Yet when I decided to finally test the waters on Vlare, I basically knew I had to set aside my concerns and start promoting this platform myself, vowing to be much more active on it than I was on previous sites. I believe one of the reasons why a lot of non-YouTube video sharing sites either fail or remain so silent is because nobody actually posts so much to them. They treat it as a secondary outlet rather than a primary one, and if anything is to change for the better, it has to start with our attitudes towards a site like Vlare.

By the time I was fully immersed into Vlare at the start of 2020, something awakened in me that I probably never felt before. I had suddenly acquired a very strong motivation to make videos again, practically a duty to help prop up Vlare knowing that one day it could be a welcoming harbor for disenfranchised creators. I ran so much with it, creating at least 25 exclusive videos over much of the year. It was delightful the whole time, except...

But Vlare is unstable!

Yes... Vlare was plagued with a ton of its own problems that held me back from giving to it all the time. Outages were common, the interface was a little broken, and eventually the premium signup form malfunctioned, preventing me from uploading Bigeye to it much sooner.

I would have to blame Jan for much of this. Reportedly, he hasn't been publicly active online since January or even before then, leaving us brave ones in the dark regarding the direction Vlare would take. It's been difficult trying to make my case for this site. People called me out for sticking to this site as I stood in front of its routine crumblings. It was incredibly frustrating and sometimes embarassing. At some points, I myself even wanted to abandon my effort, but even then, I pressed on. YouTube could guarantee plenty of uptime, but in turn, it hated everyone's guts. I'd rather experience regular outages and still feel like a human being when I make videos for a site than the other way around.

A Brighter Future

Vlare is set to reopen soon after having been shut down by a sketchy DMCA notice they never received. Even better, on October 3rd, 2020, WYSIWYG, a known developer who has been much more active compared to Jan, fully acquired Vlare. This may very well indicate that Vlare will finally be able to make further progress in stabilizing its existing self and creating a much more rock solid infrastructure later on. Given how negligent Jan has been to both VidLii and Vlare, this transfer of management should ease your concerns.

Even in the face of an evil YouTube and those who stubbornly downplay our efforts, we will surmount. I've made videos for Vlare and will continue to do so because I understand the dire importance of a healthy community-driver video sharing platform. Vlare has been bringing me closer to fulfilling my decade-long dream of seeing a viable alternative to YouTube rise. Vimeo couldn't spark my interest, Dailymotion was bland as all hell, and even the defunct Vidme felt alienating, but Vlare has become my inner whale energy.

It doesn't matter who you are or what you make. If you join Vlare and contribute to it, you help all of us move closer to a brighter future in the world of online videos. We need your talent, your passion, your ambition... together, we will fight the demoralizing conditions of YouTube, and make everyone feel like they actually have a special place in the community instead of being cogs in a machine. Onward! https://vlare.tv