Here is a warning to anyone using fake YouTube views to pad your stats. YouTube is on the lookout for you and they’ve already started dissecting accounts from companies like Sony, Universal, and RCA Records. Combined, the companies have lost over 2 billion views for their videos and have even had some of their videos deleted.
The move is an obvious attempt by YouTube to crack down on all of the black hat techniques being deployed by users to help pad their stats for better rankings and to appear more “official”. We all know how much Google has been trying to take back control of their search results on Google.com by punishing sites that use black hat link building techniques, and it looks like they’re trying to do the same with YouTube.
The YouTube channel that took the biggest hit was the Universal Music Group Channel. Their number of video views decreased by more than 1 billion according to SocialBlade. The channel that once had over 7 billion views has now been decreased to under 6 billion. The Sony/BMG channel also saw a considerable decrease in views as they lost 850 million YouTube views in less than 24 hours which brought their total views to 2.3 million. If you’re going by comparison, the RCA channel was pretty lightweight since they only lost 120 million views.
Universal Music Group Fake YouTube Views
Sony BMG Fake YouTube Views
RCA Records Fake YouTube Views
Another pretty interesting part of this saga is the fact that the number of videos on each channel has shrunk as well. The Universal channel only has 5 videos up, with 3 of them being a couple years old. The same thing goes for RCA records and Sony.
Earlier this week, the Google Forums were ripe with YouTube users who spoke about their videos being taken down for violating YouTube’s TOS. The specific rule users violated according to YouTube was item 4 Section H that prohibits the use of automated methods to gain YouTube views. A lot of users thought it was just a technical error or bug until the user ytDangler of Google issued an official statement on the forum:
“This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy.
To read more about YouTube’s stance on viewcount gaming, please see here: http://youtubecreator.blogspot.com/2012/01/views-and-3rd-party-services.html”
One of the most popular sites on the net for all things Black Hat is Black Hat World. Earlier in the week, user sk8tavou made a thread entitled “YouTube Changed the Game???” where he stated:
“I was speaking with a friend today who sells likes and told that 4 customers contacted him saying that their videos got deleted due to TOS violation. Now i also got a message from a customer who ordered views from me that his video was removed…”
In the thread, they mention a very popular Fiverr gig from user tapangoldy that “will get you fast 10700+ YOUTUBE Views In 24 hour Special Deal Ever for $5”. If you’re not familiar with Fiverr, check out a post I wrote about it– How Fiverr Can Help Your Blog. I never recommend using it for Black Hat techniques in order to avoid issues like the one we’re talking about. All of the gigs you see promising fake Likes, Twitter Followers, Website views, YouTube views, etc. all use automated software which is against the TOS for just about every social media site I can think of.
Some of the feedback about the tapangoldy gig after the YouTube cleansing is:
“this guy is a scumbag and ruined my whole business! All the videos got banned. He should give us all refund money but he’s an ahole”
“YouTube removed my video about a week or so later so had to re-upload video”
“can I get my money back? The video has been deleted & before it got deleted it wasn’t available in my country anymore.”
One person defended the seller stating:
“Hey it’s not the seller fault. Every major site that was selling views had the same problem youtube just want you to go through their p.a.y per click program so they can over charge everyone 4 views Mariah carey, beyonce, and more artist even got their videos deleted”
Tapngoldy’s gig is not the only one affected. Tons of other Fiverr Gigs for YouTube views have also been affected. Many have been paused or received negative feedback. There are tons of people advertising fake YouTube views services on internet marketing forums and other “gig” type sites that are feeling the wrath of YouTube.
One would hope that some of those bigger companies mentioned like Sony aren’t browsing Fiverr, Black Hat World, and Warrior Forum to buy YouTube views. I’m thinking that they may have hired an online advertising company at some point in the past that might use some black hat techniques.
For what it’s worth, Universal Music Group has come out and addressed the issue. They stated that the Universal YouTube Channel hasn’t really been used very often since they started branching out to giving individual artists their own Vevo channels. It still doesn’t really explain why they had over a billion fake YouTube views though.
If nothing else, hopefully this serves as a lesson to some of the people that use black hat techniques. While they may give you some success, in the long run they will come back to bite you in the behind. Now all of these people who ran businesses offering fake YouTube views will have to move on as their businesses have essentially been wiped out and rendered useless. Nobody is going to want to buy fake YouTube views while Google is on the hunt. Even if their channels weren’t affected, it’s really not worth the risk.
We’ve seen the same thing happen before with tons of black hat techniques where it’s Forum Profiles, blog comments, link trading, etc. The results are all ultimately the same and end in nothing but failure when it all boils down. Stick to doing things the right way and abiding by the TOS of the sites you use. I will keep my eye out on what’s going on and try to keep you updated so be sure to check back.
Here is the message YouTube sent out to users by the way:
“You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without
limitation, “robots,” “spiders,” or “offline readers,” that accesses the
Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube
servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in
the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, YouTube grants the operators of public
search engines permission to use spiders to copy materials from the site
for the sole purpose of and solely to the extent necessary for creating
publicly available searchable indices of the materials, but not caches or
archives of such materials. YouTube reserves the right to revoke these
exceptions either generally or in specific cases. You agree not to collect
or harvest any personally identifiable information, including account
names, from the Service, nor to use the communication systems provided by
the Service (e.g., comments, email) for any commercial solicitation
purposes. You agree not to solicit, for commercial purposes, any users of
the Service with respect to their Content.”
Please note that your video content has been removed. You may reupload
your removed videos in such a way that is not violative of our TOU.
again, your account will be suspended without the possibility for appeal.
YouTube takes the abuse of its system very seriously. Any user found
gaming views, subscribers, meta-data or otherwise misleading users will
have their account statistics wiped on the first offense, and on the
second offense have their account permanently terminated.
Many users trust their account to outside marketers who claim to be able
to increase views, etc. You are responsible for activity that happens on
your account, and are responsible for knowing and abiding by our terms -
this means understanding the nature of the traffic on your channel and
making sure you are in compliance with our terms.
The YouTube Team”
And for anyone who wants to read the actual rule that users have been breaking:
“You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, “robots,” “spiders,” or “offline readers,” that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser. Notwithstanding the foregoing, YouTube grants the operators of public search engines permission to use spiders to copy materials from the site for the sole purpose of and solely to the extent necessary for creating publicly available searchable indices of the materials, but not caches or archives of such materials. YouTube reserves the right to revoke these exceptions either generally or in specific cases. You agree not to collect or harvest any personally identifiable information, including account names, from the Service, nor to use the communication systems provided by the Service (e.g., comments, email) for any commercial solicitation purposes. You agree not to solicit, for commercial purposes, any users of the Service with respect to their Content.”
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