Surprise! YouTube is Auditing Your View Count for Fraud
I’d like to think that hard work and quality content are the keys to success on YouTube. But we’ve all seen those bad, useless videos that have more views in a week than most of us will see in a year. Sure, bad videos do catch on. Sometimes it’s because they’re so bad and sometimes because a celeb took pity and gave a young tuber a boost. In both of those cases, the video may not deserve the attention but they got their views organically and honestly.
The guy who pays a third-party service to inflate his views – not so much and YouTube is cracking down.
As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received. While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.
They don’t mention money, but inflated video views are bad for advertising. Even if the fake viewers aren’t actually clicking ads, inflated counts make it hard for anyone to evaluate the true worth of an ad on YouTube. And given out YouTube ranks videos and cross-promotes, we can assume that videos with inflated views also get fraudulently bumped into a higher position.
If you need clarification on what’s allowed and what’s not, YouTube makes it very clear on their YouTube Views Policy page.
What’s downright not allowed?
Purchasing views for your videos directly from third-party websites (e.g. paying $10 for 10,000 views).
Yes, YouTube says “downright”. And they follow that with a stern warning:
Remember that ultimately, you’re responsible for your video traffic. If you contract a company that gives you spam instead of views, you pay the price, not the company.
Bottom line, instead of putting your money into quick fixes, spend it on creating the best, regular video content you can afford. Honestly, there’s a lot more to gain by slowly building an audience of legitimate customers than waving the “look how popular I am” flag.