from the fast-twitch dept
We’ve covered a variety of issues Twitch is facing as a platform over the past several months, but there has also been a theme to all of these issues. Whether it’s been Twitch’s decision to simply nuke a bunch of creator content due to DMCA claims it received for them, its tone-deaf attempt to redirect the focus onto a dumb emoji, changes to its affiliate program, or how it chooses to roll out, or not, tools for creators to respond to the DMCApocalypse it kicked off, those stories all have one thing in common: they demonstrate that Twitch does a brutally terrible job of communicating to its most valuable asset, its own creative community.
When changes happen at Twitch, they often come as a shock to Twitch streamers. If you think that streaming on a platform that is constantly pulling the rug out from under you sounds like a terrible idea, well, I agree with you. And it just keeps happening. The latest is one streamer, who at least partially made a name for herself doing so-called “hot tub meta” streams, suddenly having her ability to make advertising revenue stripped from her without warning or dialogue.
Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa is one of the most popular female streamers on Twitch. As of now, she can no longer make money off ads on her channel. Siragusa, already one of the more recognizable names on Twitch, has benefited tremendously from the so-called “hot tub meta,” in which swimsuit-clad streamers talk to their chats, play games, and perform other activities from hot tubs. This has proven controversial despite Twitch noting to Kotaku and others that it’s not against the platform’s rules. Now Twitch has taken a different, arguably more damaging sort of action against the biggest streamer to participate in the meta.
“Yesterday I was informed that Twitch has indefinitely suspended advertising on my channel,” Siragusa wrote on Twitter today. “Twitch didn’t reach out in any way whatsoever. I had to initiate the conversation after noticing, without any prior warning, all the ads revenue had disappeared from my channel analytics.”
Let’s get this out of the way: you may not like the idea of streams that are essentially women in bathing suits in inflatable pools chatting with viewers and doing random things… and that doesn’t matter for this story in the slightest. Instead, what matters is that once again we have Twitch making important changes that effect streamers on its platform with both no warning at all and with no clear standard for the rules streamers are supposed to follow. In fact, as Kotaku notes, Twitch has previously indicated that these “hot tub meta” streams don’t violate its rules. So, then, why strip the advertising revenue?
Frankly, nobody seems to know.
“Many people complain about [Twitch’s terms of service] being ‘unclear,’ but at least there’s something to go by,” she wrote. “There is no known policy for what results in a streamer being put on this blacklist. With characteristic opacity, the only thing Twitch made clear is that it is unclear whether or when my account can be reinstated.”
“The issue isn’t Twitch removing ads. It’s them doing so without any clarification of what their guidelines are,” she said. “We saw this coming. Everyone expected it. No one expected it without communication, though. Just, like, a stealth removal.”
She also attempted to manually run an ad from her Twitch dashboard as an experiment, but when she clicked the button, nothing happened.
She’s exactly right, frankly. Say what you want about the sort of streaming she does on Twitch, but ripping away very real money and sources of income without warning is not a creator-friendly action for a platform to take. And, as I noted, this fits with the ongoing theme of Twitch not giving a hot damn about its creative community. Were it otherwise, the platform might actually attempt to communicate to and with creators, working with them to avoid this kind of policy-by-surprise system it appears to have set up for itself.
Twitch has built up quite a community for itself over the years, but lately its actions have called into questions whether it even deserves that community.