YouTube kills Problogger account


YouTube has unexpectedly suspended the account of Melbourne-based web entrepreneur and blogger Darren Rowse (pictured), who runs the high-profile Problogger and Digital Photography School sites, among others.

Rowse is arguably Australia’s most high-profile blogger. After starting a mainly personal blog back in 2002, he gradually achieved international renown over the past decade both for his work with blog network b5media, but also for founding the Problogger blog, which aids others in setting up and monetising their blogs, as well as other sites like Digital Photography School, which focuses on helping people learn more about photography.

Rowse also has more than 137,000 Twitter followers, and his sites are estimated to pull in more than 100,000 page impressions a day at least; he is widely believed to have become independently wealthy through his online efforts; even being featured in Google’s official YouTube channel for its AdSense advertising program. He is also an extensive YouTube user, picking up hundreds of thousands of views on his videos.

However, none of that appears to mean much to YouTube at the moment.

On his Problogger site tonight, Rowse noted that his YouTube account had been suspended for six months with little warning or explanation. Users trying to view one of his videos are greeted with a brief message: “This video has been removed as a violation of YouTube’s policy against spam, scams and commercially deceptive content.”

“Sorry about that,” it adds.

Rowse noted that after digging through his email, he found an email from YouTube earlier today which had noted that his account was suspended for six months because his latest video, entitled ‘Secrets to making money online’ violated its policies.

“It says it was for a single video … but doesn’t give any specific reason. I’m not sure what the problem with the video is (it makes no promises and promotes nothing) or why a problem with one video would trigger an account-wide suspension, why they wouldn’t just delete the video and/or ask me to make changes,” Rowse noted on his site.

“I’ve also heard from another YouTube user who also got suspended today for a similar topic video and we’re wondering if some keywords in the video description might have triggered this (despite the content on the video being fairly harmless in my opinion). Hoping it might be that simple.”

A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment sent late on Sunday night.

It’s not the first time a prominent Australian technologist has had an element of their online presence summarily cancelled by a major international technology company. In April 2010, local mobile evangelist Shane Williamson temporarily lost six years worth of blog archives hosted on Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces platform.

Eventually Microsoft was able to recover most of the blog, which had been deleted accidentally by one of its anti-spam specialists.

Image credit: Nick Bastian, Creative Commons


  1. What I don’t understand, is why YouTube closes the account of such a high profile user! I’m sure they would not have done this if they would have realized it’s the account of Darren Rowse aka ProBlogger! So apparently they don’t use some sort of alarm bells in case they close down a big shot like Darren. Very odd, if you ask me.

      • Unfortunately it appears that is not the case.

        A few other bloggers have been stung as well, each are deliverers of some of the most high value web video content that I know of.

        Really hoping that YouTube backs out on this one, and starts at least letting people know what the deal is. The message on Darren’s page, plus other peoples as well is just downright degrading.

    • Why should Rowse be treated any different than any other person on youtube? that is what net neutrality is all about, equal for all no matter who you are. but they still should not suspend him.

      • Well … Problogger is as much a ‘brand’ as Nike or Telstra, for example. I bet YouTube wouldn’t just delete Telstra’s official corporate account without some dialogue first; they should extend the same courtesy to smaller companies. What would it have cost YouTube, for example, to just have halted access to the particular video which someone found against the guidelines? They they could have discussed the matter with Darren at both their leisures.

        Customer service was lacking, is I guess what I am saying. And Darren has been a loyal customer for years.

        • Absolutely. A company like Telstra could invest hundreds of 000s in branded content through YouTube, and attendant display advertising. If they thought that could all be switched off overnight for no good reason and with no dialogue, that would seriously discourage their investment. Very poor business from YouTube/Google.

  2. That’s Google for you. Too big, unaccountable, unresponsive. Learn your lesson and ditch them for fairer providers – or at least have an escape route planned. Your content is hosted there only until the emperor makes it otherwise. That’s the deal you accepted.

  3. And THAT is one of the reasons I left Youtube and went to Vimeo, Youtube are like the Nazi’s of video sharing websites.

    • Shame vimeo doesn’t work on many phones and linux. Bambuser and seem better to me, but self-hosting is best if you can.

  4. Google is the same company that suspended my Adwords account because I run a mobile plan comparison service (and advertising comparison services is against its guidelines) and then constantly sends me vouchers to advertise on their network. Whether it is a mistake or not if it can happen to Problogger who would be well known to atleast Google Australia staff, can you imagine what happens to other small businesses that you never hear of (and who don’t have journalists to investigate for them).

  5. It sucked how ProBlogger got caught in this YouTube mass slaughtering of accounts. I understand how there’s a lot of spam out there, but I think a lot of innocent accounts get terminated. It’s great how Darren was able to get his account back up, but what about all us common folk who have legitimate content published through their accounts?

    You can check out our plight here…if you’re curious…looking for suggestions on how we can get our account back in YouTube’s good graces:

Comments are closed.