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YouTube: Only channels with 10K views can make money off ads

Aiming to curb abusive accounts and copyright theft, YouTube is crimping a route to easy money by keeping ads off channels with fewer than 10,000 views.

YouTube's Robert Kyncl giving a keynote address at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show.
YouTube is setting a total-views threshold for channels to make money off ads.
James Martin/CNET

YouTube is getting a little pickier about who can make money there.

Google's massive video site said Thursday that channels must reach 10,000 total views before they qualify to run ads, the most direct way to make money there.

The logic, essentially, is to remove one of the main incentives that spur bad actors to set up bogus accounts with somebody else's content -- the easy money.

YouTube characterized the move as a curb on channels that re-upload other people's videos or impersonate another's channel, in a blog post announcing the change. It also comes two weeks after YouTube suffered big advertiser pull-outs after a rash of news reports about brands' commercials running next to objectionable videos, like those with racist language.

Starting Thursday, the service reconfigured its YouTube Partner Program that activates advertising on channels so that it won't serve any commercials until a channel reaches 10,000 total views. Typically, YouTube counts a view after somebody watches it for about 30 seconds.

And in a few weeks, the company is going to add a review process for new creators who apply to host ads. After a channel hits 10,000 views and applies to the program, YouTube will review its activity to confirm it is following the site's community guidelines and advertiser policies.

"Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules," Ariel Bardin, vice president of product, wrote in the post.

Any revenue earned on channels with under 10,000 views up until Thursday will not be affected. YouTube pointed creators to its YouTube Creator Academy for tips to help reach the 10,000-views milestone.