View Count Policy

View Count Policy

Google just deleted billions of inflated view counts on a number of major media companies on YouTube. Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, and RCA as well as channels belonging to Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Beyoncé, and Avril Lavigne, were slashed. To give you an idea of the scale of deception consider these numbers Sony declined from 850 million to just 2.3 million. RCA declined by 159 million views to a total of 120 million and Universal lost more than 1 billion views and now stands below 6 billion. In all, more than 500 very high traffic YouTube channels have been stripped of preexisting YouTube views in the past 30 days.

Google’s take down of these major music channels comes at the same time as hundreds of YouTubers have reported widespread video take down notices on both their channels and Google forums. YouTube has confirmed that these widespread bans were due to violations of their Terms of Service (TOS). Specifically, TOS item 4, Section H, which bans artificially inflating view counts through automation.

What does this mean? This means that unethical site traffic building services like Tapangoldy, (who offer YouTubers an excess of 10,700 new views to any video of their choosing for $5, no questions asked) have cost their customers a significant amount of money and caused no small amount of damage to their brand as his customers have had thousands of videos removed. Tapangoldy FYI, is a 16-year-old seller of YouTube views on the favors site Fiverr where he claimed last month to have already raised $60,000. Currently he was being inundated with negative reviews on Wednesday, most of which painted him as a fraud who uses bots to accrue YouTube views.

It is important to understand that services that promise the perception of greater user exposure have become commonplace on the web and there are plenty of sites such as YouLikeHits, which allow users to increase the number of Facebook likes and Twitter followers. The danger in services such as these is that these inflated numbers can then be used to justify equally inflated marketing budgets. And let’s face it folks if the only people looking at your site and content are Bot’s how much real business will that drive to your site?

As a further to note to this situation, I believe that this move is part of a much larger plan of Google to shore up their infrastructure for what I expect will be a much more comprehensive system of tracking real world ROI, this means off site tracking of purchases, via phone and credit cards and it will be huge. Currently there is no system in place to track a land order of a product that was “shopped” on the web. Customers who phone in orders are basically counted as abandoned carts. Providing a service such of this would make it very easy to tell the difference between a “real” flesh and blood customer and an automated system clicking on links.

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