Cheaters never win. Or rather, they never used to win. Now it seems as though things have changed, at least on YouTube. For a long time YouTubers have been warned that trying to game the system would backfire. Using misleading thumbnails, tags and titles and buying views as frowned upon and YouTube claimed that their algorithm would catch these behaviors and, in the long run, it would only hurt you in search results and could even get you banned. But YouTuber The Will of DC has got a theory that cheating your way into YouTube views is now legal—and he’s got proof!
Will actually gives two examples as “evidence” in his video. The first, a video from YouTuber KingGavinXXX called ‘The Money Shot’, which had over 2 million views but only 1,203 likes and 953 dislikes, has been removed from YouTube because it violated the site’s Terms Of Service, so it will have to be discounted. However, the second video, ‘The Mechanic – Throwback Trailer’ from CBSFilms is still up on the site. The trailer has over 800,000 views and only 545 likes and 79 dislikes.
As Will explains in his video, “Anyone and everyone knows that viral videos deliver lots of views but they have spillover metrics as well. You’re gonna get tens of thousands of thumbs up, you’re gonna get thousands and thousands of comments and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of subscribers.” The asymmetrical relationship between views and likes on the video indicates that something fishy is going on.
In the case of CBSFilms’ ‘The Mechanic’ trailer, it looks like the views came straight from Yellow Thunder Media, a service that promises to “help you dominate social media.” According to their website, “YTM exponentially increases organic views and gets your brand’s videos onto YouTube’s Homepage, Most Watched Videos of the Day and Top 4 Videos on Mobile, exposing your video to 50 million impressions daily.”
According to Drew Baldwin of Tubefilter, who happen to be hosting a meetup about gaming the system in online video with The Fine Brothers and Yellow Thunder Media, Tony Chen of YTM claims that his technique works with “any video.” But I’m sure that views cost a pretty penny and is it really fair for those YouTubers that are working their butts of to get views, as Will puts it, “legally”, while bigwigs like CBSFilms fork out money to Yellow Thunder Media in exchange for views? And, more importantly, is this practice even legal?
Will asserts that YouTube is turning a blind eye because companies like Yellow Thunder Media work with big brands and major Hollywood studios (after all, they’re the ones that can afford the service) and these are exactly the big brands and studios that YouTube is trying to bring to the site (a face that is clear from their recent foray into professional, TV-quality channels featuring big-name stars like Madonna, Jay-Z, Tony Hawk, Deepak Chopra and more).
But is YouTube giving these big brands and studios an advantage at the expense of their partners (who actually made the site what it is today)? What do you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
If the subject of paying for views interests you, check a couple of our previous posts on the subject. In Brands That Want A Viral Hit Better Be Prepared To Pay Seraj Bharwani, Chief Analytics Officer and Visible Measures, and Molly Sugerman, Director of Digital Innovation and Horizon Media, talk about the price of “earned media.” Also check out our interview with Jun Group CEO and Founder Mitchell Reichgut on his position that “viral video is a myth.”
Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times. Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.