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New changes to Youtube make it HARDER to spot fake views

I used to absolutely love youtube.  It was such a fun, simple, efficient, user-friendly website.  But Google just couldn’t leave well enough alone and bit by bit they’ve turned the site into a cluttered, spam-filled clusterf*ck.  It seems like youtube only exists so that Google can force people sign up for Google + pages that no one will actually use.  Have you looked at a youtube channel page lately?  The new designs are ugly, boring and confusing.  I just don’t understand what that company is doing to that site.  It seems like they take one step forward and then they take two steps back.  Case in Point:  Last year Google “confiscated” billions of fake views that big name media companies had purchased so that their videos and channels would seem more popular.  I thought this was a great move since fake views, likes and comments have really ruined Youtube’s social credibility.  But for some reason, Google just made some changes that will make it harder for users to spot fake youtube views.

In 2009, Youtube added “insight data” options to every video on the site.  Unless you turned off the “statistics” option, viewers could see lots of information about where your views came from.  Here’s a screen shot of what that used to look like.


Those stats came from a video that was created by a spammer who was trying to get people to sign up for some get-rich-quick scheme.  Most of the views on his video were almost certainly purchased.  If you buy phony youtube views, you’re not actually getting real “views.”  Instead your paying for hits on your video that have been disguised as views.  After Youtube started the Insight program, view-sellers had to start covering their tracks by routing those hits through plausible referral sites like facebook and Twitter.  It seems that the easiest way to cover the source of fake views is to make it seem like the views came from a “mobile device.”  According to these stats, more than 1.5 million people watched this spammer’s video from a mobile device.  A ridiculously high number of views from a mobile device was a huge red flag and it almost always meant that all of those “mobile device” views were fake.  As I said, you could turn these public stats off but if you did, that would also be a red flag since it meant you had something to hide.

So as I explained in my post, How to Spot Fake Youtube Views, it was sort of easy to tell which members were buying phony views.  But for reasons that defy explanation, Google has removed some of the Insight Data options.  The public no longer gets to see where a video’s views came from.  Scroll up and look at that screen shot I posted.  All that stuff about Views from a Mobile Device and Views from Facebook are gone.

The loss of this data sucks but it’s not all bad news.  Google did enhance one aspect of the Insight reports.  Users can now see WHEN a video got its views.  Check this out:


That’s the Statistics Data for a video that was recently entered into Arpin Van Line’s “Movin’ With Arpin” video contest.  The winner of that contest was determined by youtube views and likes.  They guy who submitted this particular entry has (allegedly) won a small fortune by cheating in other online video contests.  If you look at the “Daily” data for that video you can plainly see that it got a huge avalanche of views out of no where.  Then after a second bump, the video’s view count totally flat-lined.  That (probably) means this guy bought a bunch of fake views and likes and the spike and the bump represent the days his orders were filled.

Oh but you wanna hear something funny?  This guy still lost even though he (allegedly) cheated his ass off!  Another contestant (seems to have) bought twice as many “likes” and wound up winning.  So there’s a lesson to be learned here.  NEVER ENTER A VIDEO CONTEST IF YOUTUBE LIKES OR VIEWS HELP DETERMINE THE WINNERS.  You can buy thousands of fake views and likes on sites like Fiverr for just a few bucks and it is simply impossible for a sponsor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a contestant’s views or likes are fake.  So just do yourself a favor and stay out of those contests.


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