Youtube Shut Me Down And I Don’t Know Why Part 1

Update: As of 6:45 pm on December 1, 2011  my Youtube Channel  is officially back and open for business!

Here’s what they said:


YouTube Support

show details 6:45 PM (5 hours ago)

Hi there,

After a review of your account, we have confirmed that your YouTube
account is not in violation of our Terms of Service.  As such, we have
unsuspended your account. This means your account is once again active and

If you forgot your password, please visit this link to reset it:
(link removed)


The YouTube Team

I’d just like to say “Thank you”  to the team member at Youtube who was finally willing to review my account for me, and also for reactivating it after all these months. Thank you, I truly appreciate it!

Here’s even better news:

They didn’t put any restrictions or demands on me, and they didn’t ask me to remove any of the videos… they restored it to its 100%, fully operational state.

However, even though they didn’t ask (or require) me to remove any of the videos…

I’ve been meaning to update the content on my “Jeff Johnson Youtube” channel for a long, long time.

So I just told my Operations Manager to have the guys to start “cleaning house” and updating the content on my youtube channel.

It may take a few weeks since we are in  the middle of a new product launch, but I hope to have it completed for you as soon as possible.

That means… plenty of new training videos are on the way!

If you’d like to have instant access to the new training videos as soon as they are released, simply subscribe to myJeff Johnson Youtube” channel and you’ll automatically notified each time the new training videos are uploaded.

Here’s the original story:

Youtube shut me down and I have no idea why they would do such a thing.

I’m hoping you and my other readers can help me figure this out.

Here’s my story:

Last week Youtube terminated my account.

On August 4th Youtube sent me an email that said “YouTube Community has flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate.”

They went on to say “Your account has received one Community Guidelines warning strike, which will expire in six months.”

Additional violations may result in the temporary disabling of your ability to post content to YouTube and/or the permanent termination of your account.”

Here’s a copy of the email they sent me:

(click on image to view full screen)

youtube suspension notice






This was the first and only notice I received from youtube about this  or any other video being an issue in the last 18 months… I searched my inbox just to be sure and it’s the only one I can find.

Yet they terminated my youtube account that very same day. .. youtube didn’t even bother  giving me the six months they mentioned  in their email message.

Even worse …  in my opinion youtube’s doing a great job of tarnishing my reputation by telling everyone who tries to view one of my videos that I’m some sort of “repeated or severe violations” offender.

(Note to youtube: Are two flags for marketing videos hat have been seen hundreds of thousands of times  in 3 or 4 years really “repeat” or “severe”?)

Here’s what you’ll see if you visit my old youtube channel right now (click image to view full screen):

youtube severe violation




I had something like one million views of my youtube channel so chances are pretty good a LOT of people will see this less than friendly message.

And here’s what you’ll see if you visit one of the pages of that used to host my individual video:

youtube spam scams commercially deceptive







Not cool, youtube! You are accusing me of posting “spam, scams, and commercially deceptive” videos yet nothing was being sold in the video, and it was 100% unique educational content that I created for my thousands of loyal youtube followers.

(Note to youtube: Everyone makes mistakes, especially me. But isn’t it possible that once in awhile your automated software systems or overly tired employees that are tasked with reviewing tens of thousands of videos a day make a mistake as well? If so, why not  say something nice like “sorry, this video is no longer available”, when you remove a video… It just seems much “nicer” in my opinion and doesn’t seem nearly as offensive to someone if their video was mistakenly removed.)

Now I’m a big boy and I know when I do something wrong but I still have no idea what I did wrong

The video they flagged as “inappropriate” was me speaking at an internet marketing seminar.

The title of the video was “Part 2 — Internet Marketing With, SEO, youtube,  Myspace, Facebook,  RSS Feeds and More.”

I believe this particular video was posted in 2008 as part of an 18 part series that has been viewed over a hundred thousand times (I can’t give you exact dates or total views of each of the 18 videos in that series since youtube has locked me out of my account).

(Note to youtube: My team was able to locate a backup copy, but what  about all the people that don’t have backup copies of their videos? It sure would be helpful to everyone if you allowed us limited access to our accounts after you terminate them so we have an opportunity to download the videos in our account.)

I’ll go on record right now and say I HAVE ABOSLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT COULD POSSIBLY BE OFFENSIVE ABOUT ME SPEAKING AT AN INTERNET MARKETING SEMINAR… I was teaching people how to use web 2.0 to promote their business (which by the way is permissible according to youtube’s own terms of service).

I still have no idea why they would terminate my account and ban me from youtube for life for such a video…

But just to be safe I checked out youtube’s Community Guidelines:

Here are Youtube’s Community Guidelines as printed on their site as of August 11, 2011

(my comments are below each youtube guideline and  is marked with “Jeff Says:”)

1.  ” YouTube is not for pornography or sexually explicit content. If this describes your video, even if it’s a video of yourself, don’t post it on YouTube. Also, be advised that we work closely with law enforcement and we report child exploitation. Please read our Safety Center and stay safe on YouTube.”

Jeff Says: I have never posted anything remotely close to pornography anywhere on the internet, especially on youtube. Don’t get me wrong, I like naked women as much as the next guy but my youtube channel is 100% porno free so this can’t be the issue.

2.  Don’t post videos showing bad stuff like animal abuse, drug abuse, under-age drinking and smoking, or bomb making.”

Jeff Says: I don’t abuse animals, I don’t do drugs, I don’t smoke and I don’t encourage under-age drinking and I’ve never posted anything related to any of these topics on the internet, especially my youtube channel.

3.   Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone being physically hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.

Jeff Says: The video was of me speaking at a seminar and I promise you I didn’t attack, physically hurt or humiliate anyone in any of my videos. Although if you’ve ever been to a seminar you’ll know that there are those people in the audience that you wish you could just smack upside the head for saying or doing stupid. But this just wasn’t’ the case in any of my videos.

4.  YouTube is not a shock site. Don’t post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies or similar things intended to shock or disgust.

Jeff Says: No dead bodies, no mutilations, no accidents or anything even remotely close to that in any of my youtube  videos. The only thing shocking in my videos is my ability to talk really, really fast and cover a ton of material in a short period of time, but thankfully there’s no youtube rule against that (at least not that I’m aware of).

5.   Respect copyright. Only upload videos that you made or that you are authorized to use. This means don’t upload videos you didn’t make, or use content in your videos that someone else owns the copyright to, such as music tracks, snippets of copyrighted programs, or videos made by other users, without necessary authorizations. Read our Copyright Tips for more information.

Jeff Says: I created all of the videos in my youtube channel except for a few of my speaking at an internet marketing seminar and I have full permission from the seminar hosts to use them in my marketing. 

(Note to  youtube: there are dozens of illegally posted copies of my videos on youtube, including copies of the video you terminated my account over. But when I tried to report them as copyright infringement… I couldn’t use your online form since I was locked out of my youtube account… and you need a youtube account to report copyright infringement using your online system.)

6.  “We encourage free speech and defend everyone’s right to express unpopular points of view. But we don’t permit hate speech (speech which attacks or demeans a group based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity).”

Jeff Says: Definitely does not apply to any of my youtube videos… I’ve been on record in my videos saying many times “why can’t we all be friends” and “spread the love, baby”. I’m all for world peace and letting everyone just do their own thing as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

7.  ” Things like predatory behavior, stalking, threats, harassment, intimidation, invading privacy, revealing other people’s personal information, and inciting others to commit violent acts or to violate the Terms of Use are taken very seriously. Anyone caught doing these things may be permanently banned from YouTube.”

Jeff Says: There’s nothing predatory in any of my youtube videos, and the only thing I incite in my videos is the burning desire to out and get some traffic, build a list, and make some money. Is that such a bad thing?

8.  ” Everyone hates spam. Don’t create misleading descriptions, tags, titles or thumbnails in order to increase views. It’s not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted or repetitive content, including comments and private messages.”

Jeff Says: This “everyone hates spam” is the only one I can think of that may apply.

But only because youtube has billions of videos to review so they may have been a bit too rushed when they looked at this particular video and didn’t realize it was indeed a unique video with 100% unique content.

I can certainly understand their mistake in their haste reviewing billions of videos so I hope this clears it up for them.

This particular video was part 2 of a 18 part series.

My presentation at the seminar lasted for almost 3 hours. But when I posted these videos in 2008 youtube only allowed your videos to be 10 minutes long.

So I chopped up the presentation into 18 unique videos that were about 10 minutes long.

Each video contained unique content from my presentation and needed to be watch in sequence, starting with part 1 or they wouldn’t’ make sense.

Each of the 18 videos had the same title and description with one exception; we added “part 1”, “part 2”, “part 3” to the titles so the youtube community could easily find all 18 parts.

The title of the video in question was named “Part 2 — Internet Marketing With, SEO, youtube,  Myspace, Facebook,  RSS Feeds and More”.

If I gave each of the 18 parts of the series a completely unique title and description youtube viewers would never be able to figure out which of the almost 90 videos in my youtube channel were related, and in which order they were supposed to watch them.

Yes, they were in a “playlist” but when you searched google or youtube they still came up as individual videos.

And if you visited my youtube channel after finding one of them in the search results of google, youtube, bing, or yahoo  they were still listed as individual videos in the channel (youtube designed  it to work this way, not me).

So to make it easier for the youtube community I gave each of the 18 parts the same title and description with the exception of adding “Part 1”, “Part 2″… “Part 18” to the title.

It’s like a moviethey called Lethal Weapon 4 for a reason. If you saw it on a video rental shelf and you hadn’t seen Lethal Weapon 1, 2 or 3 yet you may want to go back and watch those first so part 4 made more sense to you. Or if you watched part 4 and liked it, it would be easy for you to go back and rent parts 1, 2 or 3.

And how could you possibly know that” Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan” was the 8th movie in the “Friday the 13th” series if they didn’t tell you that in the title? They were all 100% original (arguably) movies but they shared a common title.

So in the end…

I did what I thought was best for the youtube community from a usability standpoint and used  an almost (but not quite)  title and description for each of the 18 unique parts of my one seminar presentation that was posted on youtube.

Each of the 18 videos contained 100% unique content.

I just added “part 1, part 2, part 3, etc”  to the same basic title so they would be easy to identify as related videos, and the viewers would be able to  watch them  in the correct order since they were all part of the same 3 hour long seminar presentation.

So let’s recap:

  • As far as I can tell I have never violated any of the youtube community guidelines that they listed as a possible reason for my account being cancelled.
  • I have never used automated software to increase anything with this account.
  • I never posted my youtube videos to more than one youtube channel.
  • I had approximately 7,800 subscribers to my youtube channel and every single one of them subscribed under their own free will because I gave away such great free content on youtube.
  • I posted almost 90 unique videos to youtube over the last 3 or 4 years.
  • I created all of the videos and owned the copyright, or I had permission from the seminar host to post my presentations given at their seminar.
  • I had over a million channel views on youtube.
  • My Individual videos had been viewed as many as 350,000 times and I never used automated systems of any kind to inflate my views.
  • And the video listed as inappropriate by youtube was simply me speaking at an internet marketing seminar teaching  people how to promote themselves and their business online. Which, by the way, is listed as a “permissable commercial use” of youtube in their own Terms of Service.

I wasn’t even selling anything in the video.

Yet youtube sends me an email and tells me that the video that has been posted for 3 years was “inappropriate”

And without further warning and without receiving any additional flags they immediately terminated my youtube channel and locked me out.

They won’t even allow me access to download the original copies of my videos that I worked so hard to create all these years.

And when I sent them an email asking them “why” they terminated my account they  replied with an email that said “We are unable to provide specific detail regarding your account suspension or your video’s removal. For more information on our what we consider inappropriate content or conduct while using YouTube, please visit our Community Guidelines and Tips at and our Help Center article…

That response really didn’t answer my questions so I sent them another email asking for clarification.

I know you guys are anxious for me to get my youtube account back so I can continue sharing my tutorials with you, and so am I because we all love youtube… it’s the best video sharing site out there, but I’m still not having much luck getting in touch with youtube.

As you can see from my post below either youtube’s customer service or automated response system could use a little help, or they just don’t feel like talking to me. Either way it is very frustrating.

Youtube sent the “flagged” notice to the gmail account associated with my youtube account. It’s the same email they send all their messages to, and it’s the email account I use to log into my youtube account.

When I replied to their “flagged” notice asking them why they would terminate my youtube account with only 1 flag in over 18 months, and only 2 flags in the history of an account with something like 1 million channel views…

Youtube replied by saying “The email address that you have provided does not match the email address of the account in question. In order for us to review your issue, you must be the owner of the account

(click the image below to view a copy of youtube’s email in full screen)





I’m not sure how that could be the case considering I logged into my gmail account and directly replied to the email they sent me notifying me that my video had been removed.

I’ve been known to make mistakes, everyone does, but in this case I simply replied to their original email by hitting “reply” from within my gmail account.

I then replied again telling them there must be some kind of mistake and that I could prove I was the owner of the account, and that “this” gmail account was indeed the account associated with my youtube account.

But it’s been 2 or 3 weeks and still no further replies from youtube.

I understand that youtube is busy, much busier than I am. But I’ve been waiting patiently for 31 days now and still no luck getting through to them. So I need your help clearing this misunderstanding up

Here’s How You Can Help:

If you have any idea why youtube  would have shut my  account down given the quality of the content I’ve been sharing on it for years I’d like to hear about it.

If you have any contacts at Google or Youtube that you could put me in touch with that would be willing to hear my case I’d love to hear from them.

If you have experienced similar issues with Youtube or Google (since Google owns Youtube)  I’d love to hear about it.

If you have any idea how I can go about getting my channel reactivated I’d love to hear about.

So please leave your comments below and let’s see if we can help us, and help youtube learn from this experience. And don’t be afraid to share this post with your facebook friends, your twitter followers or your email readers… the more people  that hear about this misunderstanding  the better.

More importantly… let’s see if we can clear this up so I can continue posting unique, helpful, content- rich videos to youtube for you and the million other viewers of my channel to enjoy!


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721 Responses to “Youtube Shut Me Down And I Don’t Know Why Part 1”

  1. matt stafford 03. Dec, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Great to hear you have your channel back, strike one up for the good guys. All the first rate content is really appreciated, Nobody does it like you do.

    • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      I appreciate your support!

  2. Larry 03. Dec, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    Excellent News on the Channel restoration. Looking forward to more content. I guess all the pundits were wrong.

  3. Sandra Bick 03. Dec, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I know what you mean about keeping backups. I always keep a record of the embedded code after uploading a video to YouTube. I use the embedded code to place the videos on a blog because it is easier than trying to upload the video to the blog itself (takes too long on Blogger).

    Glad you’re back!

    • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

      Me too!

  4. Jennifer 03. Dec, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    That’s great that you were able to get your account unsuspended! Score 1 for the innocent YouTube users! If you don’t mind my asking, but how were you finally able to contact YouTube? I had two of my accounts deleted at the same time because one of them violated the copyright terms (I had forgotten about that account since I don’t use it anymore) and I’ve been trying to find a way to contact YouTube but it seems like the only way for me to do that is by filling out a form then send it to them. …Then take them to court with an attorney (that’s what their rules stated for me to do since I violated copyright rules).

    • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

      I finally got around to sending them a letter about it a few days before Thanksgiving, that’s it. I found their physical mailing address on their site.

      actually, here’s an article with all their info on it

      • Jennifer 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

        You had to send them a letter? Wow. Gotta love YouTube/Google. I guess I’ll have to send one to them to. Thank you for replying to me Jeff and would you mind telling what address you sent the letter to?

        • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

          Not a problem, my attorney gave it to me (it’s actually on their website as well)

          YouTube, LLC
          901 Cherry Ave.
          San Bruno, CA 94066

          Here’s my Internet Lawyer contact info if you need his help.

      • Jennifer 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

        Never mind. Ha ha. I just noticed the link. Thank you Jeff. =)

        • Jennifer 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:13 pm #

          Dang. My phone is too slow. Ha ha. Thank you again Jeff. I really appreciate the info.

      • Jess 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:43 pm #

        Jeff great link! That article is probably the key to your YouTube unlock.

        Google has been getting more of this well deserved big brother market reputation for the last few years, Makes you wonder why some big legal firm hasn’t gone for the class action yet?

        Hopefully they wake up soon and respond to customer service issues faster. It must be hard to have billions of customers in so many varied markets. Without customers any business no matter how big will fail.

        • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

          Actually, when I sent their support desk links to my blog they refused to answer 🙂

  5. Danny & Heidi 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

    So how much are you selling the letter for 😉

    Seasons Greetings – Great to hear your problems are over with on YouTube!

    • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Too funny 🙂 I should have gotten around to sending it earlier, but better late than never.

      Happy Holidays to all my Canadian friends!

  6. JD Angel 03. Dec, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Hey Jeff,

    That’s great you are back. I just pinged about your account being restored on all my networks. It’s just nice to know a honest person operating a real business finally got a break from the big boys.

    Good news and Way to go!

    • Jeff Johnson 03. Dec, 2011 at 8:27 pm #

      Thanks for your support. Happy Holidays!

  7. Thomas Harper 04. Dec, 2011 at 6:46 am #

    I have had the exact same message and loss of my YouTube account (one person flagged this video as inappropriate) for a video which shows people how to navigate my website and press a few buttons – Note there is no porographic material, no infringment of copyright (it’s my own website) and no other reason I can think of to ban my account!

    I’m still waiting for them (Google) to “get back to me”. If Google was a company that relied on customer reviews, they wouldn’t get my vote for “Friendly and Supportive” company of the year.


    • Jeff Johnson 04. Dec, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

      Nor would they get my vote 🙂

  8. Bill Cobb 04. Dec, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Hi Jeff, what’s also sad is that you had if you had any Page Rank for your YouTube Channel, it’s gone now. SEOQuake is showing no PageRank for your channel. With being a member since 2007 and 104 video uploads, you should be at least a PR5 by now. Bill

    • Jeff Johnson 04. Dec, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Yep, they crushed my seo for all my videos by having the account shut off for almost 4 months. BUmmer.

  9. Hilmi 04. Dec, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    Good to hear that Jeff 🙂

    Keep up the good work and keep making more videos.

    • Jeff Johnson 04. Dec, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

      Will do, thanks for your suport!

  10. Kurt Pedersen 05. Dec, 2011 at 5:28 am #

    Google didn`t accept one of my Blogs for no reason at all.
    I had only just started the Blog. A 5 page Blog – all legal after their own terms.
    They gave me no warning, no explanation. (Arrogant as usual)
    If they can do such a thing to you, everyone is in danger. A lot of hard work can go right into the toilet.
    They shouldn`t have any need to show what kind of power they have – and as you said; their employees are human. Human does make mistakes. When they work in a company which have that kind of power, they should at least follow the company`s own rules.
    No wonder Facebook is growing so fast. Google is helping them by being jerks.

    • Jeff Johnson 05. Dec, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      Facebook traffic rocks!

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