Twitch Yanks Advertising Revenue From Popular 'Hot Tub Streamer' With No Warning Or Dialogue

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.

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Filed Under: content moderation, kaitlyn siragusa, monetization, rule changes, streaming
Companies: twitch


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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 May 2021 @ 10:46pm

    BUT THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!!!!
    Seeing a wet sideboob will scar them for life!!!!!!!

    So is like Amazon trying to beat the cell phone company for worst purchase that they managed to destroy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 1:57am

      Re:

      Seeing a wet sideboob will scar them for life!!!!!!!

      I dare not imagine what a baby actually nursing "naturally" (or what ever the least offensive/trending term is for this) would do to them. Turn them into some sort of horrible monster probably.

      And don't get me started on what might happen if a child looked in a mirror, or used their own eyes while dressing themselves.

      (/s, definetly /s)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 May 2021 @ 11:50pm

    'They're still here?!'

    With the repeated and blatant anti-creator moves Twitch has been engaging in at this point you almost have to wonder if they are trying to tank the platform. Between permanent strikes based upon vague(if any) information with the potential to kill your channel to now just removing the ability to monetize at all with no warning or explanation it almost seems like they are doing everything they can to kill the platform and drive everyone off.

    If that is their goal then while it's certainly a puzzling one they do seem to be right on track to manage it, and if it's not then someone, likely multiple someones, is in dire and immediate need of being fired and replaced because at this rate that's where they're going to end up, driving off a bunch of their creators and gaining a reputation so toxic that no-one wants to replace them

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      BG (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 2:54am

      Re: 'They're still here?!'

      I think they're taking a leaf from YouTube's book and trying to sanitise their content to make it more appealing to advertisers, or at the very least less controversial and thus less oversight/expenditure required to handle the advertising side of things.

      Doing this to just one of the streamers in this space smells of them testing the waters to see what pushback they get from the community before either doing the usual "we hear you and we have learned from that" bullshit or going full steam ahead with their new policy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 3:47pm

        Re: Re: 'They're still here?!'

        Thing is YouTube has failed to sanitise their content and instead made it less appealing to advertisers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 4:28am

      With the repeated and blatant anti-creator moves Twitch has been engaging in at this point you almost have to wonder if they are trying to tank the platform.

      Tank it? No. Sanitize it? Absolutely. Amazon makes the site less…“creative” in general and advertisers — or potential buyers — think of Twitch as more appealing to throw money at. No mainstream advertiser would want to associate with female streamers wearing bikinis in a hot tub. But every advertiser will always want in on the cash flow involving the latest Call of Duty.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 4:00pm

      Re: 'They're still here?!'

      Thing is there really no where to go for most creators just look at YouTube.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 2:07am

    It shouldn't come as a shock that a company owned by a company that is notorious for treating paid employees like garbage is treating content creators with no legal protections at all like garbage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 3:34am

    Their dmca policy is awful a dmca strike is permanent
    On YouTube its gone after 90 days
    People stay because its the best community for livestream
    with options for income from subscriptions
    and advertising
    Twitch is to live streaming like YouTube is to video
    In December they will provide more options to respond to a dmca strike

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    LittleCupcakes, 20 May 2021 @ 4:39am

    Wait, I thought it was totally cool for corporate platforms to moderate the content however they like even though such moderation is quite difficult. This piece seems to indicate an editorial position that it’s not totally cool, and is in fact maybe actually bad.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 4:43am

      Re:

      They can moderate however they want, the issue is that they stated this was allowed and then used the banhammer anyways without contacting anyone. This is poor communication and bodes negatively on the platform for creators

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 20 May 2021 @ 4:57am

      Re: "Wait, I thought..."

      Yeah, Twitch can do whatever they want. And streamers can do whatever they want.

      If Twitch drives content creators off the platform to the extent that their market position is weakened, it reopens the possibility of new competitors springing up, or at least more streamers deciding to just deal with Youtube's BS rather than both Youtube's and Twitch's BS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rocky, 20 May 2021 @ 5:00am

      Re:

      Your post seems to indicate you didn't actually read the piece. At no point did Twitch moderate any user-content.

      Now, go back and actually read the article before posting vague and uninformed arguments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 5:14am

      Twitch has the right to do what it did; that doesn’t mean I have to think what it did was right — or stop myself from saying so.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 5:22am

      Re:

      The content remains online so it wasn't moderated, and the issue isn't moderation, it's the lack of communication, just pulling a revenue stream without warning because prudes and incels have been kicking up a stink.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 5:57am

      Re:

      Very true, corporations are free to demonetize creators. They need those advertising dollars, so therefore it isn't actual content moderation.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      Not surprised bots like Cupcakes here show difficulty in parsing English.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      "This piece seems to indicate an editorial position that it’s not totally cool, and is in fact maybe actually bad."

      This comment seems to indicate an opinion that it’s not totally informed, and in fact may be completely ignorant.

      Read the damn article. No content moderation took place so your comment is nonsense. And even though Twitch's decision is completely within their rights, that doesn't mean nobody can express the opinion that this is yet another bad business decision in a pattern of similar decisions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 3:09pm

      Re:

      Are you aware of the difference between a writer on a blog criticizing a decision and the force of a government restricting decisions?

      It's not a difficult concept to grasp, except, of course, if you're willfully dumb.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Simpleton, 20 May 2021 @ 6:32pm

      Re:

      I think you are conflating a few things.

      X is/n't allowed
      X should/n't be allowed
      Company does/n't do X
      Company should/n't do X

      One can hold any view on all 4 things without being contradictionary.

      So I can say Twitch is yanking ad revenue from a twitcher (which I'd consider moderation to a degree).
      I also can say Twitch should be allowed to do so (which I'm not necessarily am, but that would demand digging in deeper when they should and when they shouldn't be allowed, stuff like market dominant position comes to mind).

      All while I can say they shouldn't do it.

      I didn't see any point where the article talks about 1 & 2 (which were the case with Facebook banning the annoying orange and the likes). Point 3 is made which just is a matter of fact and point 4 I'd say is implied as shouldn't.

      Also Techdirt isn't a hive mind but consist of different writer with different views, so if you think there is an inconsistency in views, make sure it's the same writer and that it's about the same point and then you should look about context.

      One can absolutely say one should be banned for inciting violence while say one shouldn't be banned or restricted for displaying secondary sex markers.

      Those are distinct positions to hold.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 5:55am

    Time for streamers to type "alternatives to Twitch" into a Google search and go researching.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 6:14am

    For the sake of defending Twitch, I wonder if they have an NDA with their advertising partner(s). We'd never really be able to know and it's entirely possible this stems from something like "We here at Ford do not endorse breasts!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Keroberos (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 6:29am

    The 50,000 dollar question.

    Is Twitch still running ads on her channel? I'd be willing to bet they are. If they are they're profiting off their creators and not paying them for their work, which in any other industry would be an illegal contact violation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 10:47am

    Twitch has all of the money, all of the audience(the raw majority of which will never follow a creator off to another site), and zero real competition. The idea that all it'll take is for big streamers to leave the service and go somewhere else to then put pressure on Twitch to change for the better is ludicrous.

    Twitch has a subculture and fandom for Twitch as a whole, and most viewers will simply drop the streamers they watch like they're yesterday's news because if it's not on Twitch it may as well not exist. That, and Twitch feeds users digital trinkets and emotes to get them locked in and be loyal to the platform. You can't compete with the cult that Twitch has built up by using the fabled "better prices, features, & services" and that's a fact.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 1:33pm

      Re:

      I bet MySpace thought that too...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 May 2021 @ 4:00pm

        Re: Re:

        This isn't 2007 anymore. The old "MySpace getting its lunch eaten by Facebook" chestnut that keeps getting dragged out like it's the law of the land was well over a decade ago when the tech landscape was vastly different than it is now. The network effects of Twitch are larger than anybody at MySpace could've ever dreamed of back in the mid-00's, and like I said, Twitch feeds users digital trinkets and emotes to lock them into the platform. There's no plucky startup that's gonna swoop in and start the slow-but-steady drain of traffic from the Amazon-owned Twitch when Twitch's audience is so locked-in. If a streamer leaves, Twitch users just find someone else to watch, like on TV where you simply change the channel.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 20 May 2021 @ 12:28pm

    Our western societies don't like it when women utilize their own sexuality to augment their market (contrast when a corporation uses young sexualized teens to sell clothes or cars). I'd say it was a US thing, but it notoriously happened in the endgame Soviet Union and Mafya-run Russia in the 90s. (Young women selling themselves curiously correlates with failing economies)

    We don't mind porn. We mind when women benefit from porn. We don't mind using sex to sell so long as it's clear the body in question is an employee of a larger entity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    StormT (profile), 21 May 2021 @ 1:06am

    I am more leaning towards Twitch decision here! I mean, if it has to be sexual, there are a couple of other streaming services dedicated to that. And I would bet that she would make much more there as well. Just my two cents though!
    Storm, a danish twitch streamer and banker at http://sparexperten.dk/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    adrianh (profile), 23 May 2021 @ 11:49pm

    AMAZON AMAZON AMAZON

    So many of the issues that are now negatively affect Twitch were brewing when Amazon bought it. It's disappointing they had no real strategy on how they were going to tackle them. I realise the copyright is a hard one, but there was some hope that Amazon was powerful enough to help standup to the copyright bullies. For they to be even weaker than Alphabet is just wow. These there is this garbage which makes no sense at all. Sometime I start to wonder whether these new mega-rich oligopolistic tech companies are really as good for the world as they tell us they are... I might even cancel my Amazon prime. No, on second thought, lets all write to our politicians about anti-trust.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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