Dec 28, 2012 – YouTube Fake Video Views Crackdown: Top Music Producers’ Video Deleted For Allegedly Using Fake Video Viewing Software
The world’s biggest recording companies have been stripped of two billion YouTube hits after the website cracked down on alleged ‘fake viewers’.
Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in the video site’s biggest ever crackdown on artificially inflated figures.
Sony was second hardest hit, with the label behind such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850million views in a single day.
The unprecedented move left Universal with just five videos on the site – none of which were music – and Sony with just three.
‘This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy,’ YouTube announced.
Over four billion hours of video are watched by over 800million unique visitors to the site each month.
The dramatic falls, highlighted by figures compiled by YouTube statistics analysts at SocialBlade, came after YouTube conducted an audit of its viewing figures aimed at combating black hat view count-building techniques.
This is when hackers artificially build up the numbers of views or likes on a YouTube video – enabling them to make clips appear far more popular than they really are and increase their exposure on the site.
The number of views attracted on YouTube are these days regarded as an unofficial worldwide popular music chart, and any suggestion that major labels are engaging in underhand tactics to increase their numbers could threaten the credibility of their artists.
YouTube viewer figures are doubly valuable to channel owners since it is also the primary way in which the site works out how to share its advertising revenue with partners.
Among the channels affected was that of British X Factor success story Leona Lewis. The official YouTube channel of the protégé of music industry svengali Simon Cowell, lost nearly 24million page views as a result of the crackdown.
The mass takedowns came the same day that hundreds of the site’s users flooded forums to complain they had suffered a series of video deletions for violations of YouTube’s terms of service.
Many speculated they fallen victim to a technical error, but YouTube replied to confirm that the users had been sanctioned for violating TOS item 4, Section H, which bans artificially inflating view counts.
According to the Daily Dot, the apparent crackdown last week was widely discussed on the Black Hat World forum, where visitors exchange advice on unethical search engine optimisation tactics.
In one thread on the forum, where YouTube included a link to the site’s policy on ‘viewcount gaming, the first post spoke of a ‘friend’ who ‘sells likes’ who had been told by four different customers that their videos were deleted due to violations of YouTube’s terms of service.
Universal acknowledged its drop in views, but told the Daily Dot its channel had been mostly dormant since it shifted its focus to Vevo, which it founded in 2009 together with Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media Company, and E1 Entertainment.
Commenters on the Sony YouTube channel gloated over the major record labels’ apparent comeuppance.
User Lattentreffer posted on SonymusicSME: ‘Pretty much f*** you, sonymusic…. Hahahaha. you got the axe on your black hat viewcount manipulating….!’
[DAILY MAIL UK]