Every once and a while I will come across a “viral” video contest where the winner is determined by youtube views. And when I do see a contest like that it takes a lot of will power for me NOT to enter. You see, in my time running this website I have learned a lot of shady tricks; and “how to get to get tons of fake youtube views” is one of those tricks. Basically if you go to the right website you can order all the views you want. But those “views” are just fake, junk views. They’re just generated by some guy in India using a computer that is constantly changing its IP address. (or something like that) They don’t come from real people. So in most “viral” contests, buying fake views would be considered cheating. If you buy fake views, there is a chance you could get caught because fake views leave evidence behind. And not only could you get disqualified from the contest you’re in, you could be kicked off of youtube for violating the site’s Terms of Service.
So like I said, I try not to enter “viral” video contests. But about two months ago I came across a contest that was being run by a new micro-jobs website that I just had to enter. The competition was being run in two stages. In the first stage, people were supposed to create funny videos about giraffes (The website’s mascot is a giraffe) and then try to get as many youtube views as they could in four weeks. The people who created the Top 5, most viewed submissions got to go on to round two where they would compete for $15,000. I decided to enter but I promised myself I would NOT buy fake youtube views. (here’s my submission) I figured that with the resources I have at my disposal I could get into the Top 5, fair and square. This website just keeps getting more and more traffic so I stuck a banner ad for my own video at the top of this page. And man, did that get me a lot of views! Plus, I have a kind of popular youtube channel with a few thousand subscribers. So I was able to get a good chunk of views from there too.
But inevitably, as the view count deadline approached, the cheating began. Several other contestants started buying fake views and I was pushed out of the Top 5. I contacted the contest organizers and I explained how you could tell when someone’s view count was phony. But they said they really couldn’t do anything about it because the practice wasn’t actually against the rules. (So technically, it wasn’t even cheating!) So basically I recived the OK from the contest organizers to do whatever I could to get in the Top 5. But I still didn’t want to take the easy way out. So I started looking for a legitimate solution to my problem.
And I found that solution in like five minutes. It turns out that any youtube user can now sign up for the site’s “Promoted Videos” program. Basically you can now buy views from youtube! Except unlike the other views you can buy, these are REAL views that come from REAL people. If you use youtube’s promotions program to get 10,000 views, it means that 10,000 different people actually watched your video. So while some might consider this bending the rules of a viral video contest, no one could claim that you’re breaking the rules since your views are coming from real people and since you’re not violating youtube’s terms of service.
Here’s how the program works: After you sign up you pick which video you want to promote. Then you tell youtube how much you are willing to pay per view. I think I went with 12 cents but you can go even lower. And remember, that is the most you are willing to pay per view. You then get to select the keywords you want associated with your video. So if your video has a giraffe in it (like mine did) you can select “giraffe” as a keyword. Then when someone searches for giraffe videos on youtube, your video will appear in the “Promoted Videos” sidebar. The more specialized a keyword is, the more you will pay per-click. Here’s a a screengrab of my Promoted Videos Dashboard that shows the keywords I used for my giraffe video:
So even though I “bid” 12 cents per view, most of my views only cost me 2 or 3 cents. And as you can see, the keyword “funny” was the most popular keyword by a long shot.
After you set your keywords, you tell youtube how much you want to spend every day promoting your videos. If you say “$5.00” youtube will run your video as an ad all day until you have spent $5.00. I think the best thing about this program is how fast the process is. If you want a huge number of views right away, you can tell youtube you want to spend $200 a day. Youtube will pimp your video like crazy and by end of the day, you’ll have thousands of real views. Here’s what your “dashboard” will look like once your “campaign” is up and running:
The final view count for my giraffe entry was about 16,000. And that was enough to get me into the finals. As you can see, I recived 10,659 views thanks to youtube’s promoted video program. And that means I was able to get 6,000 views on my own. And that’s pretty damn good! If the other contestants hadn’t bought fake views, I would have been able to get in the Top 5 without any help from youtube.
So youtube’s Promoted Videos program is pretty much just a giant, view-creating machine. However many views you want, you can get. And you only get charged when someone actually clicks on your video. But there is one major drawback to this program; this s&%# ain’t cheap. I spent about $300 to get those 10,000 views. So was it a wise purchase? Well, the results of the contest I was will be officially announced on November 1st so check back here on Monday to see how I did.
UPDATE: The sponsored decided to split the prize 3-ways so I won $5,000. That means my investment paid off big time. But one of the other winners just happened to be the biggest cheater in the view-count round. So it was awesome to win $5,000 but I’m annoyed that a cheater got a slice of the grand prize.