Inside the economy of fake views on YouTube and the role of click farms
Inside the economy of fake views on YouTube and the role of click farms

Take Chandigarh-based, 17-year-old Ankit Agarwal and his partner Saksham, who offer 1,000 YouTube views for Rs 200, apart from 1,000 YouTube monetisable views for Rs 250. “We promote ourselves through social media and get paid through Paytm. It’s an off-and-on business,” said Agarwal, who is awaiting his Class 12 exam results.

The agency owners felt YouTube only wants everyone to spend money on their platform. “They don’t want third parties, but it is not illegal. Also, we have two options — Google-approved views, which are slightly costlier, or normal views, which are available for about Rs 130 per 1,000 views,” said Socioblend’s Maheshwari. “When we started, there were no orders for 8-10 months. In the last couple of years, business is growing over 100% year-on-year.”

Gaming YouTube

A constant battle is on between YouTube and viewbotters. On January 16, YouTube changed the eligibility requirement for monetisation to 4,000 hours of watch-time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. Only those meeting these criteria could become part of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP), its monetisation plan.

In the last quarter of the calendar year 2017, YouTube even removed 8.3 million videos that had been flagged inappropriate by its users and algorithms.

“Views generated by some third-party businesses and services will not be counted or reflected on YouTube, and can lead to disciplinary action against the account, including removal of the video or account suspension,” a YouTube spokesperson said in response to ET’s queries.

Even as YouTube uses algorithms to filter out paid views, the agencies are gaming the system by using sophisticated bots that generate a random sequence by switching between different accounts across social media platforms to trick YouTube’s algorithm.

The second and increasingly more popular way is through private networks, where multiple users click on circulated videos for monetary gains. These networks, some experts say, are very hard to detect and eliminate, as every user exhibits regular activity.

The owner of a Lucknow-based company — who did not wish to be identified, and who charges Rs 4,500 for 50,000 views and Rs 8,500 for 100,000 views — said it’s easy to beat the YouTube algorithm. “We make sure views are a mix of Google-approved and bots from various geographies. We can deliver as per your timeframe, and gradually, so that there is no sudden spike,” he said.

Source : techgig