YouTube cracks down on fake video views; Sony and UMG lose billions of views

Just recently, Google stripped Universal, Sony and other music labels of some 2 billion faked views from their respective YouTube channels. There has not been any word from the music labels in regards to the bust.

The cumulative view counts that were recently stripped from Universal Music Group, Sony/BMG, RCA records and a few others was in regards to what is known as ‘black hat’ view counts.  The companies were using programs or paying a 3rd party that manipulated view counts on YouTube videos, which are essentially robot views.  The purpose of the higher counts is to make the songs look more popular than they really were.  Over 2 billion views combined were removed from the companies' videos.

According to the statistics available on the website socialblade, it was apparent that Universal was the biggest instigator with a loss of 1 billion in view count from a former statistic of 7 billion views total on all videos. Sony/BMG was the second largest with a loss of 850 million views, which brought their total down to 2.3 million views.  RCA lost 159 million views bringing their total view count to 120 million views.

While the news is mildly shocking to some, it means a lot more when you look deeper into what the companies were doing.  By manipulating views and making them appear more popular, they were able to get more advertisements near or on the videos themselves.  

Google has been meticulously making major changes in how YouTube looks and operates.  The crackdown on fraudulent activities on YouTube extended beyond big corporations and businesses as Google tracked down many individuals and cited them for violating YouTube’s Terms of Service (TOS) agreement. 

At first many users thought it was a bug or some other glitch when they received notices. However, that theory of a glitch was quickly put to rest when a Google representative informed users in a YouTube forum that the notices were in regards to violations in their view count policy.  The notice also directed users to a page titled 'Views and 3rd party services'.  The webpage goes over how YouTube uses view counts and that any person or company engaging in deceptive view counts may be terminated from the site.

The violation in question is specifically mentioned in YouTube’s TOS item 4, Section H, which bans users from creating fake views.  In part it reads, “You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, ‘robots,’ spiders’, or ‘offline readers,’ that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.”

So far none of the music labels who were caught with faked views have made an official comment.