UPDATE 8/11: Great news — the StartupBros YouTube Channel is back! Thanks so much for your help bros!

For anyone in the same situation — check out our guide on how to get your terminated YouTube channel reinstated…

For the past 6 years, the StartupBros YouTube channel has been churning out all sorts of YouTube videos helping new entrepreneurs grind themselves out of their day jobs. It’s not the biggest channel, but we did pretty well — and built up over 2-million views on our ~200 videos…

I know some of you really enjoyed these videos — we had well over 30k subscribers (rapidly rising), and we had just invested well over $10,000 into our studio to deliver even better videos to you…

But today that all abruptly comes to an end. YouTube has permanently & immediately terminated the StartupBros channel — with no warning whatsoever.

What Exactly Happened?

About an hour after our latest YouTube video went live, we received our first ever Community Guidelines Strike…

youtube community guidelines strike

All right, no big deal. Sounds like we got caught up in some algorithmic moderation, and just need to appeal this strike. Worst case scenario, we’ll re-edit the video and cut whatever YouTube’s algorithm doesn’t like…

But wait — not more than 15-minutes later, there’s another email — 

youtube termination suspension ban


Apparently there was a ‘complaint’, and a ‘review’ that determined we were inciting users to commit crimes. And not just any crimes — but crimes so heinous, simply removing the offending video wasn’t enough…

For the world to be safe — YouTube had to completely scrub StartupBros from their platform…

But You Must Have Done SOMETHING?!

Before we blamed YouTube for anything — we first blamed ourselves…

We went back and listened to all our most recent videos for anything that could be misconstrued as inciting users to commit crimes. Our best guess was from our latest video (published just a few hours before our suspension)…

You can watch the video YouTube deems so dangerous here —

In this video — I point out that your IRA’s are protected even in bankruptcy. Because of that it makes sense to fund your retirement accounts before making any debt payments…

And although I explicitly tell you NOT to do it (3 times) — I make the point that it would even make sense to go into debt to fund your IRA…

It’s a fairly sophisticated and complex financial point, and I’m pretty sure it’s completely legal… 

But I KNOW that YouTube’s content moderators don’t know if it’s legal or not — so how did someone manually decide to terminate out entire account instantaneously for that?

Seems like a longshot…

So What DID You Get Banned For?

Outside of a junior content moderator at YouTube getting overzealous with their CPA knowledge — we truly don’t know…

Before last night, we were the ‘ideal YouTubers’ — we worked hard to follow the rules, and had never received a single strike (community or copyright).

What’s really interesting, is that YouTube is actually violating their own policy here. Just take a look at some of the language from their “clear and consistent” Community Guideline Strike policy…

youtube community guideline strike policy

I can now tell you personally that this is all bullsh*t. We received no warnings, no strikes, no video removals…

In fact, we received no contact from anyone at all. Just an email letting us know all our hard work has been deleted. Thanks for using YouTube!

Our Appeal to YouTube

YouTube’s termination email included a link to appeal, so went ahead and submitted the best appeal we could. Here’s what we wrote, for anyone in the same sitatuon —

Thanks so much for your help in advance!

We just had our account terminated, and are hoping to get it back. The account was in good standing before tonight -- we've never even had a single strike on the channel.

We received the notice "We don't allow content that encourages illegal activities or incites users to violate YouTube's guidelines"

It also states "The only depictions of such activities that we may allow need to be educational or documentary in nature"

In our latest video we posted on 7/27/2020, we do precisely that...

At 5:39 we talk about how important it is to fully fund your IRA & 401k. To show how important it is -- we make the point that IRAs are protected in bankruptcy (so that makes it REALLY important to fully fund them).

But at 5:40 and from 6:06 - 6:14 we give explicit warnings that say "I am 110% saying you should not do this" and "it's...bankruptcy fraud".

We are not sure how this got picked up as illegal activity, but we'd be happy to remove the video.

After submitting our appeal, we received a strange G Suite notification —

youtube suspension appeal notification

I tried doing as much as I could with this, but it seems like just a random notification to let you know your appeal has been received…

So Now What?

Well — that’s it, silly!

Now we wait to see if our corporate overlords decide to allow us onto their platforms. But we won’t hold our breath — there’s no obligation for them to even grace you with so much as a human reply…

In fact, I’m not sure there have been any humans involved in this process whatsoever. This is just another story of algorithms gone haywire, and probably a vision into the algorithmic tyranny we’re moving into…

We Need Your Help!

It’s insane to me that it’s come to this — but if you want the StartupBros YouTube Channel to live on — we’ve all got to FIGHT for it!

Most of the appeals I’ve read about are DENIED — and the ONLY way to beat the censorship systems is to MAKE SOME NOISE!

So PLEASE, if you’ve ever found value in what we do here at StartupBros — PLEASE MAKE SOME NOISE! 

It’s up to the entire StartupBros community to keep the drive alive! This is the ONLY time I’ll ever ask you — PLEASE TWEET!

Any extra attention you can bring to this (particularly to the @TeamYouTube account, or anyone you know at YouTube), will be DEEPLY appreciated!!!

What You Can Learn From All This

It feels weird talking about myself, so let me give you some takeaways from all this…

  1. Being a YouTuber, blogger, influencer, or content creator doesn’t make you a business owner. It makes you a slave to whichever platform is supplying your traffic.

    Amazon, Google, Facebook — use these platforms to get your message in front of more people. But never forget they can be taken away from you instantly. You don’t own squat — you’re just building their platform for them…

    The only thing these monopolies can’t take from you is the RELATIONSHIPS you’ve built up with your audience. For example, Joe Rogan couldn’t build his podcast anywhere but YouTube — but now that he’s built rapport with his audience, he can lead them off to Spotify…

    Never confuse your current position in someone’s algorithm with your real long-term worth.

  2. Speaking of algorithms — don’t depend on them to build your business ‘organically’. Organic growth used to mean you had a product or a message that was so awesome — it just naturally spread like wildfire. Go for that kind of growth, and everything else will work itself out…

    A company built around the latest algorithmic loophole might make money right now, but it’s going to become a nightmare as those algorithms continue to be developed. And my version of financial freedom certainly isn’t losing sleep over what some recent college grads are doing with some computer code…

    Instead, build an experience that creates a lasting, memorable impact — and use these platforms as a way to help spread your message. Don’t just create random time-wasting clickbait because the algorithms like it — create memorable experiences, and people will naturally want to come back for more…

  3. Once you have an audience, don’t be stupid enough to send them OFF your platform. Try to keep them in your eco-system as much as possible (else they fall back into the hands of our corporate overlords).

    For example — I was stupid enough to send out these videos with direct links to YouTube. And now, everybody clicking that link is seeing a terminated YouTube channel. Bad move…

    If I simply embedded that video on the StartupBros website — I could have just replaced the YouTube embed with a Vimeo embed, and lots more people would have seen the video.

    So be smarter than me — and keep your audience on YOUR platform instead of THEIRS.

  4. Backup everything. The cloud is not a permanently safe place to store your important files. This type of algorithmic policing is only set to get worse — and it’s slowly spreading even into people’s private storage like Google Drive.

    I don’t know why this is happening to entrepreneurs, but it’s happening. I assume we are getting unintentionally caught up in extremely overzealous algorithmic moderation (although YouTube says there’s humans doing the checking).

    But the point stands true. You can’t depend on cloud services to safely store the fruits of your labor. You MUST have HARD BACKUPS of your work. 

In Closing — Please Help 🙁

I’ll keep this post updated as the situation progresses, even if there’s technically no update to give.

If you’d like to see more StartupBros videos in the future, be sure to make some noise and tweet @TeamYouTube — and hopefully we can get an actual human to take a look.

And for those of currently investing your time & money into YouTube — I hope this helps, and hope you can avoid the arbitrary ban-hammer longer than I…

God Speed into this Brave New World, Bros…


8/5: We tried making a post on the YouTube Support Forums to try getting someone’s attention. This seems to have worked for some channels in the past…

8/5: We finally got a response from a human being — not to our appeal, but through YouTube’s Creator Support! Unfortunately, it’s not a very helpful one…

A fine gentleman named Mclin sent us this –

youtube creator support reply

So apparently there was an internal review team who already reviewed our appeal decided to keep our account suspended based on “Community Guidelines” and “Terms of Service”…

Because Mclin is from a different department, we decided to NOT treat this as a final decision — and continued waiting for an official response on our actual appeal…

8/7: We decided to submit another appeal. This one is a lot more broad that our original appeal, addressing a bunch of common algorithmic screw-ups people have ran into…

We were suspended based on 'encouraging illegal activity', which we have never done. We believe there has been an error or mistake.

- We work hard to follow YouTube's rules, and had never received any warnings or strikes in over 6-years of publishing 200+ videos

- We have NEVER encouraged users to do ANYTHING illegal. In fact, we actively teach AGAINST using any manipulative tactics or deceptive strategies.

We're trying to figure out what actually triggered the error here, and here's some things we've come up with...

- We have videos where we use the terms "Productivity Hacks", "Mindset Hacks", and other uses of the word "Hack". These videos have nothing to do with hacking or anything illegal.

- We have never promoted any cryptocurrencies or ICO's, but have talked about Bitcoin in some videos before

- We have videos that talk about counterfeit products from China and how you should NOT buy/sell them

- We have dirty competitors who report our content to try to harm us Please help!

8/10: We published a new blog post asking for more help
(we removed this now that we’ve got the channel back). Just a few minutes after publishing this update, we got an update on our case from a real human being!

youtube lei is awesome

I’m not proud of the amount of joy Lei brought myself and our team with this email — just letting us know we haven’t been forgotten about…

But it’s definitely the best progress we’ve had so far. It looks like the duo of Lei & his sidekick Mclin may have finally gotten our appeal escalated to a human review…

We immediately replied to Lei to let him know he’s our new favorite person at Google…

lei rules response youtube

But until the StartupBros YouTube Channel is actually reactivated, we’re still asking for all the help we can get…

8/11 UPDATE — We Got The Channel Back!

After making enough noise for Lei to get involved, he worked his magic and got our channel back within 24hrs!

youtube channel reinstated

We immediately replied and just wanted to let Lei know how much he is appreciated by people like us…

youtube channel reinstated we love lei

I’m not sure we would have gotten our channel back without Lei taking the time to get involved. So we were delighted to see we could at least repay him with some appreciation…

rock on lei

So thanks again to the entire StartupBros audience for making enough noise to get Lei’s attention! 

I hope you never have to deal with a YouTube Channel Termination yourself, but if you do — I know this guide to getting it reinstated will help…

We’ll be back creating videos for you fine folks again shortly <3


Avatar for Will Mitchell
Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the Startupbros about page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

44 comments add your comment

  1. I am in great nightmare as my youtube channel of last 7 years of daily efforts including more than 600 videos, 100k monthly watch time and over 300 view time suddenly got removed by youtube as i uploaded a video game two videos in 5 minutes that included an anime girl character kissing a boy in skirt. In next 5 minutes, i got email though videos were in private section for one hour but youtube only marked them as 18+. Now despite of all requests and apologies, they dont hear and i asked them to check same videos of other content creators but they dont reply or get any email. Such an disappointment. Youtube has become a place of worst people i think and too much brand cash.

  2. Thanks for your info, I just had the same thing happen to me. Now I’m going to post my own blog first and foremost. All other platforms are secondary. I will just keep other platforms as just extensions and not my main platform. I’ll put more effort into posting my videos on my blog and stop posting on youtube, it’s too much of a nightmare to give all your creativity to one platform.
    Why because they hold you to ransom, and forget that we are their main sore of money. Yes, that’s right without us, they wouldn’t exist. youtube has gotten too big for its own boots. They have forgotten that even the mighty fall.

    Take back your wonderful creativity and send your followers, friends, members to your blog.

    All the very best Joanna

  3. Hi Will, I found your Youtube channel just 4 days ago. I watched your video about 99 designs, it impressed me so much, it felt like your can explain information so well in such an easy way that I can implement it, I trust you and you gave me clarity, you have an expertise and I become your admirer straight away. I found so much value and good cause in you and I was looking for a content like yours and think that you inspired me and I can look up to you. I came back to rewatch the video with a pen and 99designs website opened and I could’t find your channel. That’s how I found your own website :D. So I started to read more about you and what you do. I sow your interviews and get understanding that not only you can explain anything to even a golden retriever (a.k.a dumb me) but you’re actually having financial success in life, you’re smart and you make $50 millions K a year and you created it on your own! Somehow I felt that I’m so proud of you and imagined that you probably can battle and prove your parents that you have financial success and you have like an adult numbers to show them. For me it’s like a real life example or a proven sign that you’re smart (I don’t) and you can officially impress your parents (I don’t have any numbers to show them so I’m losing trust in me and afraid to believe my parents that I’m weird and very dumb and should better get back to my doctor’s degree). But Will that’s where I get that you sell courses. Why would you want to charge more than 1-7$ for your courses or just teach people with your wisdom? Why would a financially successful person want to charge for courses? I don’t get it. For what? I can’t even imagine what could be the reason behind that? You make me fear of do you want to scam… your pets? All best things in life are free (let’s say Google), don’t you think so? My first language is not English so I hope you can read through my mistakes.

  4. Tweeting is for Pu$$ies, sue them and make them pull this back out of their crapper. 🙂 Humor of course.

  5. Will, thanks for sharing about yet another super-power suppressing freedom of speech. Request sent. Blessings. Hoping for the best.

  6. I am sorry to hear that happened to you! Totally agree on not working for those big platforms and depending totally on them and their system. Wise guys do their own thing 🙂 I have heard many accounts on banning from Amazon, Facebook and Etsy. It’s just not fare to those who put so much work in it and lost it all in a bit!

  7. Was your GSuite account what you used to sign up for YouTube with? I’m wondering if that’s possibly connected? I tried to sign up for YouTube with GSuite one time and they seemed to have an entirely separate set of rules for GSuite accounts where I couldn’t create an account within X days of creating the GSuite account etc.

    It’s unbelievable how impossible it is to contact a human at YouTube.

    • Yes agree. They dont have any contact but some robotic messages if you by chance get some reply box or an email sent option. Youtube has become a monopolistic platform with more on brand cash and pedos.

  8. Done!
    Wow this sucks, and is scary to think that you can put so much time and effort into building something, then just get it taken away. I hope we can get your channel back up Will.

  9. I’m totally agree with , it happened to me several times with Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, TNT , DHL, and google. All of them have very ‪bad customer services. They are very restricted without any reason. The feel like they dominate the people and they can control everyone and all people can’t live without them. In the fact , they are useless. They don’t have vision, they only try to sack more money from audience and business. They are growing by people interest , but they don’t appreciate the people. I think the best way is to build our platform and make it popular for the people without using their platforms. We can only use them for sharing and make the platform more popular, but without depends on their platforms completely. All contents should be in our platform only.

  10. Hello Will:

    I’ve never seen your videos or website, but Spencer Haws sent me an email about it. I’m furious at the censorship going on these days, and so retweeted your messages! I hope you win this fight, and thanks for the advice about how to secure our freedoms by keeping backup copies and sending people to our own platform. I will follow you from now on!

    • You’re absolutely right that we can’t depend on these platforms as anything but temporary solutions. Always be building YOUR thing.

      And thanks for the help 🙂

  11. I just sent all the tweets. Hope this gets straighter out ASAP! Thanks for the great content! I really appreciate everything you provide.

    • Hopefully more YouTube-style video content on the way. They waited til the moment we were finally getting 2 videos per week out to you guys 😛

  12. Done!! You’ve always given so much value, Will, and I agree it’s the relationships you and STARTUPBROS have worked so hard to build that will follow you anywhere you go.

    • I’m more appreciative than ever to have you all here and willing to help me get the channel back! More than ever, we’re going to have to stand by each other. These platforms are going to become more and more anti-competitive towards other business owners. We’ll beat em though!

  13. Hey Will,
    Feeling sorry for you guys. But am not surprised though because it’s a “been there, done that” feeling..
    My channel went through the exact same experience about 3 years back (I am sure a lot many others too would have). Almost 100 videos just went down the drain. The appealing process wasn’t the easiest. But I continued reaching out to them and they finally reinstated the channel. Shockingly by the time I could read that email (a delay of about 2 hours, considering the timezones), they terminated the account again for the exact same video they had flagged earlier and never reinstated it.
    Since, then I have been following pretty much every one of those things you have mentioned in there.
    I have tweeted and will try to make some noise where-ever possible because I know how it feels.
    Will pray to the real gods (and the unreal ones at Google as well) to help get the channel back online.


    • YouTube has violated their own policy or warnings & strikes in both of our situations. Who exactly is running things over there? What a disaster…

  14. I’ll actually send an email to my manager at YouTube explaining exactly why channels like yours should get banned and remain banned.

    • All right — but maybe do something productive today, too? Instead of just being purely destructive?

    • Don’t forget to blind copy your MySpace manager on that email. The entire organization awaits your “explanation”.

    • James you are an idiot, fuck you, your manager and YouTube. Remember, nothing is permanent, moron!

  15. It’s for the better. You’re just pushing your courses and that’s it. Good on YouTube.

    • I have a feeling you’ve never watched our YouTube videos…

  16. maybe the youtube bot is interpreting some of what you’ve talked about the same as a UK audience might…if they just read one snippet in total isolation.

    those three initials in the UK, combined with talk of funding, that only means one thing.

    • It’s possible. Clearly we got caught up in some type of algorithmic hell-hole. I’m sure we will never find out which one, or how it happened. No accountability at these massive companies…

    • In the future, we will back our videos up to as many platforms as possible. Hopefully there is a tool that just pulls YT videos straight into these anti-censorship platforms.

  17. DONE!! Scary s**t happening out there, and NO ONE seems to see it!!!

    • I certainly see it now! Hopefully enough people stand up soon to stop the trend, because I don’t want to know where it ends up…

  18. hmm,running a channel for six and it would just be of existence in a twinkle of an eye

    That is too bad

    • Make sure to keep those in separate Google Accounts if possible. Or else 1 random suspension will affect all your channels.

  19. Sorry to hear. It must really suck to get all the subscribers, then losing them all based on one video. Hopefully, you guys get it worked out with Youtube.

    • You’d think they’d just remove the video they didn’t like. Ya know, like their policy states they will. Can’t depend on these companies to follow their own rules though :-

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