Only monetization-enabled YouTube channels can now link videos to associated websites, Google confirms
As some of you might already know, YouTube offers ways to build viewership and make videos more interactive by utilizing options like end screens and cards. However, for the past few weeks, users have been reporting issues with the functionality while linking their associated websites.
Specifically, the trouble creeps in while adding associated website links to cards and end screens. Users say they are greeted by an error message stating “URL not recognized as an associated website, merchandise, or crowdfundind site.” The following user-shared screenshot displays the error in question.
The error notification is displayed despite the channel having required permissions like website association confirmation and enabled external Annotations, as well as Google Webmasters tools showing the website set-up correctly (or having websites verified at Google console). All settings, as can be seen in the subsequent screenshots in order, were confirmed by one of the affected users when inquired by an expert on the official YouTube forum.
The issue was first reported on May 5, and after all the investigation, an expert on the official YouTube forum said on August 24 that they’ve informed team YouTube about the issue.
“This has been reported to YouTube, and I’ll post back here if there is an update, or they need more information”
Shortly after that, on August 25, an employee from Google finally addressed those affected by announcing that it’s no longer possible to link videos to associated websites if the YouTube channel isn’t monetization-enabled. Here’s what exactly they said:
“Following a recent change, your channel needs to be enabled for monetization to link to your associated website from cards and end screens. If you’d like to link to your associated website from your videos, please follow these steps to enable your channel for monetization“
They further added:
“If you’ve already set up cards and end screens that link to your associated website, these will continue to show. However, you don’t have the option to edit them any more, only to delete them”
While Google says existing cards and end screens shouldn’t be affected with this change, some users say YouTube is also showing notification on existing cards. They note that on the Video Manager, the cards for ‘Associated websites’ display a yellow triangle icon next to them, hovering over which pops up the ‘Viewers can’t see this card’ message (as can be clearly seen in screenshot).
Affected users also note that deleting an existing card is possible, but recreating the same is not supported, which is inline with what the Mountain View, California-based company has said.
Evidently, the step is aimed at improving user-experience. For example, people create dummy/misleading videos that link to questionable websites. So with this change, Google seems to be tightening noose on such YouTube channels.
While that’s no doubt a good step, there’s a flip side as well. Small/less popular channels that don’t have over 10,000 views can’t get monetization enabled, even if they want to. So they can’t link their videos to associated websites, at-least for now.
There’s no clarity on whether or not displaying ads is mandatory in case you do get your channel monetization enabled. Some say it’s mandatory to have at-least one advertisement on your videos, others say they disabled ads after getting approval for monetization, and are now able to link their videos to their websites without any problem.
The news may be disheartening for some, but sadly the reality now is that it’s mandatory to have monetization enabled for your YouTube channels if you want to link your videos (end-screens and cards) to your associated websites/blogs.