Since 2010 every December has seen the release of YouTube Rewind, a short video looking back on the ever changing online video culture through the past 12 months. The first couple of versions were nothing special, simply lists counting down the most watched videos of the year (the 2011 version was even hosted by Rebecca Black – the winner of that year) but in recent years the format has somewhat evolved.

YouTube Rewind 2010

Rewind quickly became something YouTubers new and old wanted to be featured in. It meant you’d made it, you were somebody. The videos peaked around 2014, when the like to dislike ratio was mainly in favour of likes, but in recent years things have taken a strange turn.

In 2017 the viewers began to turn on Rewind, using what should be a celebration of YouTube to vent their frustrations. In early 2017 what became known as the ‘Adpocalypse’ happened, something blamed on Pewdiepie’s loose tongue and love for edgy jokes, which saw YouTube change their policies on who and what could become monetised.

The media continued to fuel the flames, hunting down channels and content supporting terrorism, which also happened to feature ads from major brands. Advertisers pulled out, and for a time there was genuine concern over how long left YouTube would have without the same volume of ads. Many channels were hit by the Adpocalypse, with smaller channels being prevented from advertising altogether. It was a messy, confusing time, and people didn’t like it.

And so a love hate relationship with YouTube was established. Fans love to support the creators, but loath to support the platform. But with little alternative, what are creators and viewers supposed to do?


When the internet wants to achieve something, that’s exactly what they do. Until early December the video for Justin Beiber’s Baby had been the most disliked YouTube video of all time, with over 10 million dislikes – a crown it had held for many years.

But then YouTube Rewind 2018 came along featuring Will Smith, some big name YouTubers and a bucket full of cringe, and stole the crown from Baby within a week. As of writing this, YouTube Rewind has 14 million dislikes and growing, quite a statement to tell YouTube.

And of course, there is no mention of Logan Paul and his trip to the Japanese Suicide Forest, or PewDiePie and his ongoing battle with Indian channel T-Series to be the most subscribed channel on the platform.

So, where does this leave YouTube as we head into 2019? Will they listen to their critics and improve, or will they continue to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the platform is without its fair share of bad eggs?

The one thing we know for certain is that the next 12 months are going to be very interesting. We can’t wait for Rewind 2019!

About Viral Seeding

Viral Seeding is a specialist content seeding and influencer marketing agency.

We offer a personal service, taking the time to understand your campaign requirements to execute a strategy that ensures that we deliver views, engagement, endorsement and sharing via social media.

Viral Seeding has worked on social good campaigns such as Testicular Cancer NZ, Greenpeace and The Syria Campaign in the past. If you think your organisation could benefit from working with us in the future please get in touch.