Streamer Craig Williams, who streams under the name CraigSetupShop on Twitch, was permanently banned, and then unbanned, on Twitch today. Williams was not given a clear reason for the ban, only that he had violated community guidelines. That was, until he reached out to Twitch for clarification and received a particularly harsh and baseless reply.
Williams chronicles the exchange on his official Twitter account today. Williams reached out to Twitch after being banned without explanation. The response from Twitch said, "Greetings, We do not pay out fraudulent revenue, that is why you have not been paid out. Did you not notice how you have well over a thousand subs but when you stream no one talks? Then when your stream is offline you have hundreds of subs?"
2/2 no research was given into what i did, no questions where asked, from my first email you did nothing to help, you just assumed i was being a fraud, 1300 subscribers and 300+ of that number used NONE PRIME accounts. btw, most professional email iv'e ever recieved pic.twitter.com/bwPaNbDJow— Craig Williams (@NBDxWilliams) July 29, 2019
Williams is a content creator for online racing simulator iRacing. The streamer makes setups for vehicles in the game, a difficult and time consuming process, and provides them to the members of his community. You can access his setups for a monthly fee, or by subscribing to his Twitch channel. Though CraigSetupShop has very infrequent streams and low viewer counts, his channel picks up a lot of subscribers that want access to his content.
Twitch is apparently on the look out for fraudulent subscribers on the service. Twitch knows they have a problem: according to Twitchmetrics, 7 out of the top 10 fastest growing streamers in July are German female World of Warcraft streamers with obviously fraudulent viewer activity. Like CraigSetupShop, these streamers all have infrequent streaming schedules, tons of offline subs, and almost zero activity in the chat despite growing at a constant rate.
However, unlike CraigSetupShop these streamers are clearly using fake subs, typically purchased by bot accounts using stolen credit cards. Williams on the other hand is running a legitimate, albeit unconventional, business through Twitch.
It's an interesting concern for the platform. Though his account has been reinstated, they may not be satisfied with the way Williams has chosen to funnel money through Twitch into his setup business. The lack of streaming content he produces as well as limited interaction with a community makes him atypical as far as profitable streamers on Twitch go, putting Twitch in the uncomfortable position of squashing or setting a precedent for other entrepreneurial streamers.
Williams has not received any further correspondence from Twitch following their (frankly) dismissive message. It's would seem the Twitch employee that banned his account and/or sent this message saw the patterns of fraud and pulled the trigger without thoroughly investigating. With regard to recent Twitch moderation controversy, this is yet another black mark on the streaming service's growing list of inconsistent and irrational treatment of streamers.