When you view the home page at YouTube.com there is a link called “browse” near the top. If you click the link it will take you to a page that displays the top video bloggers and their latest videos. Some of these videos rake in hundreds of thousands of hits in a matter of days and if it is an unknown author chances are that if you see them on the browse page their video has gone viral.
Some might claim that it takes time, a certain flair and a bit of style to rank on this page but most of the videos displayed there leave a lot to be desired in the form of information or entertainment. You may be wondering just how the authors on that page have thousands of subscribers and hundreds of thousands of views on each of their videos.
YouTube partnership programs include incentives to post often and to create engaging content. For every one thousand views a video receives YouTube will split the ad revenue 50/50 with the person that created and posted the video. Usually this is about $1.50 per one thousand views and the “vlogger” gets half of that. At $0.75 per one thousand views you can see why the author of the video wants to see hundreds of thousands of views. How do they do it and most of all how can you do it too?
It may seem like a dream job. Sitting comfortably at your desk cranking out as many four to five minute videos as you can in order to make as much money as you can from the YouTube partnership program. First of all you have to get at least a few thousand views before you can become eligible for the program. So the initial views you receive from your videos are basically for free and only YouTube makes money from the ad revenue generated from the traffic to your page. Once you have established the fact that your videos are getting traffic and can produce repeat traffic you might get an email from YouTube inviting you to become a partner in their ad revenue program.
The problem is that the system can be ea silly cheated. If you can establish a base subscriber list then you may have a few hundred views to your videos a month. This is a lot compared to the 200 views most people get to their videos over the course of months or even years. So one might ponder how a video of a cute kitten that is thirty seconds long can have half a million views in a week. Yes, people love cute kittens but are there really that many people viewing the video and then forwarding the link to that video to their friends? In some cases, yes. In other cases there seems to be something amiss about a person droning on about the way they make a bowel of cereal in the morning and that video having one to two million views.
In a world where content is king and frequent updates are the queen it doesn’t seem likely that a semi-funny video would attain such high view counts. Simply refreshing the page over and over will increase a videos view count into the hundreds. Using software to do the job for you has been developed by people that want to reach YouTube stardom. There have been several reports that a few of the YouTube communities top vloggers have been cheating the system by using software that automatically sends several hundred views from several hundred proxy sites in an attempt to make the views look like they came from several different places though out the day. They also have commenting software that will post comments on their videos so that the view count and the comments seem about right. Usually the views will exceed the comments but some videos will have half a million views and only ten comments. This looks fishy so some of the big hitters on YouTube started rotating comments for the first few hundred views they get.
It is something that is easy to spot. If you post a comment and there is a glitch in the system you might see two or three of the same comments consecutively. In the case of the cheaters you will see ten or so comments that seem to repeat for the first few pages. This seems odd because if it were only one or two comments one might think that it was a system error or that the person that posted the comment had posted two or three times. Take a look at the top ten video authors under the browse link and when they post a new video almost immediately they will have the same ten or so comments about the video almost as soon as it is posted.
This seems strange because the people that subscribe to their favorite vlogger may not be waiting by their computer when the video is posted. Just waiting to see the video and then immediately post a comment or rate the video. Most people have a life and a job so in those cases it may be hours or even days before they see a newly posted video. Yet, the numbers, comments and ratings are there almost as soon as the video is posted.
Let’s not forget the content. In most cases the content is mediocre at best. Some videos are about applying make up, going on vacation or just a slightly boring rant about what the vlogger thinks about during the day. Some videos that are posted are about other videos that have gone viral or have had so many views that they have landed on the top ten page on YouTube. In these cases it is more like a short news program about the videos that you can watch without having to check with the top vloggers first. There has been much debate about views, comments and ratings on YouTube. Usually a vlogger can cheat the system to get the ball rolling as it were and if they take it far enough they can land on the top videos page and start getting real views, comments and ratings. This compounds the work they have already performed by keeping their new post on the top page for as long as 48 hours. The higher the view count, the longer the video stays on the top page.
What does it all add up to? Money. Lots of money if all of your videos have view counts in the millions. The top vloggers know this and some can earn as much as $125,000-$250.000 a year from ad revenue. This money comes in all the time and the more videos that someone posts the more money they can make so it is in their best interest to have hundreds of videos posted and collecting ad revenue. The motivation and incentives are quite simple when you think about it. If your video looks popular then you have a higher chance of someone clicking on it and giving it even more views, comments and ratings.
Personally I have watched several videos that had extremely high ratings and thought to myself how is this possible when the content was not that great. Most comments might even say something like “I want my two minutes of life back”.