After Google Search engine, YouTube is one such online video sharing platform were a user spends almost 50% of time in daily routine. On the whole, it has over 800 million unique users each month. Over 1 billion hours of videos are watched each day. As of 2018, YT was installed on 5 billion android devices. YouTube is localized to 91 countries and is accessible in 80 different languages. (source: https://www.businessofapps.com/data/youtube-statistics/)
The monetization range for YouTube is any where between USD 1.34 to USD 6.24 per 1000 views, for displaying ads on YouTube channel and videos through Google Ads, a user is eligible only if one of the videos in the channel has more 5000 views. (source: learningcatalyst.in/youtube-monetization-rates)
The first video to hit 1 billion views was Psy’s “Gagnam Style”, but how many of these billion views are genuine? On an average YouTube must have payed approximately $7Million for one video itself. But how many of video views are genuine?
Recently, as per NDTV & Hindustan times one of the Indian Hindi rapper and singer- Badshah, was accused of buying ‘Likes’ fake ‘Views’ for a net some of USD$96,000. Same is the case with IG followers, as per (Source: Hootsuite. Blog), IG followers can be bought with a starting price range of $10 for 1000 followers, these followers are mostly bots or in-active accounts.
The term “Views” usually impacts the behavior of a user, imagine a video has generated 1Billion views in 7 days, Social media platforms automatically advertise about the great achievement and this ignites user’s curiosity and he is intended to watch the video.
NY Times in 2018 has once quoted about Mr. Martin Vassilev who made a living by selling fake traffic and views to videos and also his company 500views.com, connects customers with services that offer views generated by computers, not humans. Mr. Vassilev, has quoted that ”The giants have tried stopping it for many years but there is always a work around”.
The fake-view ecosystem can undermine YouTube’s credibility by inflating views that signals value to users. Ironically, there are ads which end up on Google search results for such companies even though it is a clear violation of Google’s policy.
According to NY Times reporter, a company called Devumi.top, according to the company records, it collected more than $1.Million over 3 years by selling 106Million video views.
The menu of services which these vendors offer:
- Increase view count by 2K, 4k, 6K until 5Million views, which estimates a total cost of $22,000
- Increase subscribers
- Increase likes, dislikes and shares.
- Increase IG followers
- Increase Twitter followers
- Re-Tweets, Likes and Auto Engagement
How is Fake traffic generated?
- Replace thumbnail image with a more enticing and catch image. Keeping the user in a loop of anticipation when the actual content will show up.
- Include automated or “bot” traffic and pop under videos on unsuspecting users’ computers.
- Create and maintain Clickfarms. Countries such as China, Philippines, Russia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and east European countries generate maximum number of fake likes and traffic to social media platforms (source: economictimes.indiatimes.com)
- Create a website, embed a ton of videos on one page and get them to auto play.
- Pay people to watch YouTube videos.
According to Juniper, in 2019 online advertising is facing a stunning loss of $42Billion due to ad fraud. Even though the above-mentioned list of vendors is blocked by Google, they are re-branding with a different domain and the same menu of services. YouTube statisticians, engineers and data scientists are trying to improve the view ecosystem but as long as the success for a video-based platform is determined by number of views it is difficult.