If you visit YouTube but don’t sign in, its suggested videos are based on best guesses based on trends, your location, your recent browsing history and a few other factors. I do this from time to time to see what sort of things YouTube’s recommendation algorithm serves up.
Last night, it suggested videos from the FREENVESTING channel (and no, I’m not linking to those jackals), which simply describes itself as “An inspiring channel for those who are seeking growth.” Established on September 1, 2020, it’s accumulated nearly 100 million views to date, and it appears to have done so by harnessing the fear of financial doomscrollers.
The videos feature financial gurus of varying quality. Some are more respectable, such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. Some are semi-respectable: Ray Dalio and Cathie Wood. And then there are the outright assclowns — I’m lookin’ at you, Robert Kiyosaki and Dave Ramsey.
The videos may change, but the themes and titles on the thumbnails stay the same:
- Don’t buy anything for 18 months
- Tell your family to prepare
- Why is nobody talking about this
- Everyone is going to be wiped out
- Most people will lose everything
- And my favorite, the “collapse” titles, which typically are:
- The collapse is coming
- The collapse has begun
- The collapse never ends
The channel was a little more “tips and tricks from the rich” in the beginning…
…and they certainly covered all the angles, as you can see from these two contradictory videos, which were released one after the other:
But like any good YouTuber, they did some experimenting and found a winning formula with this gem from Mr. “Rich Shill, Poor Audience”:
…and it’s been doom-a-rama ever since.
You’d think it might be enough to say “watch this channel, but only to recognize hucksters when you see them,” or to learn some tricks if you’re an aspiring YouTuber, but I recommend doing so very sparingly. This sort of fear-based stuff has a way of getting in your head, even if you’re trying to watch it objectively and from a distance.