Dec 282012

UPDATE: The following post as originally written was based upon reports from the two sources identified at the end of the post.  It now appears that one of those reports — which claimed that YouTube’s reduction in view counts was due to fraudulent count-inflating practices by record labels — was an exaggeration. While a portion of the view counts were indeed eliminated because they did not represent legitimate views, the vast majority were apparently removed for other reasons, at least according to this article, which was published after my original write-up:


Here’s an interesting piece of news: Within the last 30 days, YouTube has deleted more than 2 billion fake video views in the music channels of Universal, Sony, and RCA. And it didn’t stop there. At the same time, YouTube deleted preexisting views from more than 500 other prominent YouTube channels.

Google, which owns YouTube, has asserted that all of these companies and YouTube users violated its terms of service by artificially inflating their video views through the use of so-called “black hat” view-building services who use automated methods to create video views that in fact never existed.

Sony/BMG’s YouTube channel was hit the hardest with views dropping from a total of more than 850 million to just 2.3 million. RCA declined by 159 million views to a total of 120 million. Universal lost more than 1 billion views and now stands below 6 billion.

In addition, each of these labels’ YouTube archives have suddenly dried up. Universal’s channel now features only five videos, none of which are actual songs, and Sony’s page is currently empty.

Among individual musician channels, Britney Spears’ channel lost 462,567,893 views and Chris Brown’s lost 187,412,448.  LOL.

I checked YouTube statistics compiled by analysts at SocialBlade, to see if any YouTube channels for any metal artists had been subjected to this purge. Skimming their data, I found this:

Apocalyptica’s official YouTube channel lost about 10.3 million views, Avenged Sevenfold’s lost about 9.2 million views, and MetallicaTV (the official Metallica YouTube channel) lost 4.6 million views.

I seriously doubt that these bands themselves have anything to do with maintaining their own YouTube channels; those chores are undoubtedly handled by their labels. But it’s still something of a black eye for the bands to be associated even in name only with allegedly fraudulent view-building shenanigans.

YouTube isn’t the only online platform that’s the subject of such manipulative actions. There are also services out there who use automated methods to inflate Facebook likes and Twitter “followers” for a price, as well as businesses that offer “search engine optimization” services in order to generate better search results — which are fictitious.

Yeah, information will be free, and it will also be falsified in the pursuit of the almighty dollar.

Of course, I have no way of knowing whether YouTube is correct in concluding that all of those companies and other users have been phonying up their view counts. But if it’s true — and I bet it is — I have two simple words for the people responsible for these frauds:

Fuck.  You.




  1. Already saw meme-pictures being posted on Reddit. Only possible reaction to this: “BWAHAHAHA! Burn! HAHAHAHA…”
    Seriously, fuck ’em. 😐

  2. Fuuuck u know they only doing it to people thats rich and famous tho fake views from nobodies dont mean shit to youtube.. This is gonna put a dent to their careers tho! SHAME!!

    • “Hi, you’ve reached the Incoherent Babbling Hotline! You seem to be trying to express a thought in a manner that will leave others either utterly baffled or furiously confused. If you would like to remove helpful punctuation, press 1. If you would like to possibly express sympathy for unsympathetic morons, press 2. If you would like to masturbate and use your own tears a lubrication instead of proofreading your post, press 3.

      For all the above, press 4.

      If you require further assistance, please hang up and punch yourself in the face until the people in white coats arrive with a gurney to take you away.

      Thanks for calling and have an indecipherable day!”

  3. I like this version of things, and I’m always gratified by evidence of the wrongdoings of big corporate machines –(and I’m not being the least bit sarcastic here, I really do enjoy it. However, I’m . afraid this story isn’t accurate. It’s a victim of the lazy reporting/investigating of others, who are quick to jump on Big Bad Wolf moments concerning–well, just about anything that could prove sensational (and again, I’m one to love to such moments myself when it involves the corporate America).

    Only a small fraction of those YouTube views were actually from bots. Most were just views of videos that are no longer housed on the Google-owned website, and which Google decided to stop counting within YouTube. Rather than paraphrase all the detail, I’ll just point you here:

    Sorry to be the Grinch that stole Merry Kissmyass*

    * Merry Kissmyass is a Trademark of NCS

    • “Hi! You have reached the Well Researched and Written Comment Hotline! You seem not to need any assistance. Press 1 for a cookie.

      Thanks and have a great day!”

    • I’ve read the second half of that article 3 times now and I still don’t understand it. The article also doesn’t address the reduction in view counts for hundreds of other YouTube channels, including channels for individual artists. However, if the reporting is correct, it appears that the vast majority of view counts that were eliminated were removed for reasons other than fraudulent manipulation of the counts (even if I’m not following the reasons).

      • Yeah I’ll admit I don’t fully understand it either. From what I gather, a bunch of Youtube videos were moved to some VEVO channel within YouTube. Vevo is a different video hosting website, somewhat in competition with YT (though specialized in music vids). In other words the videos are also no longer hosted by YouTube/Google. So I assume that the VEVO *channel* is just a gateway to that website, within YouTube. Which would explain Google’s move to un-count views that actually went thru VEVO, rather than youtube-hosted videos.

        Hell that was a mouthful…

    • Hmm… Now, that’s just sad.

  4. As you can see, we have hired the Phro Phantom Boner answering service to generate automated replies to post comments, thus saving the NCS editorial staff time while allowing us to create a false impression of being interested in what readers have to say. As an added bonus, the Phro Phantom Boner service accepts horse semen as payment instead of conventional currency.



      • I think I’m going to have to terminate your service. Your reply deviates from the contract, which clearly requires that all automated replies to my comments will consist of this statement: “Glorious Leader, your words are wise and just and we are humbled and privileged to receive them.” The contract also clearly provides that the automated replies will contain no references to my anus. I expect a full refund.

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