Direct access to YouTube video viewing volume brushing: fake audience, real trafficDirect access to YouTube video viewing volume brushing: fake audience, real traffic
com (WeChat:)] reported on Aug.
14 (compiled: Tian Xiaoxue) Martin Vassilev, 32 years old, his daily job is to provide fake YouTube video viewing records.
Since the beginning of this year, the number of fake videos he has provided has reached about 15 million.
However, he did not personally provide these false viewing records.
Its website, 500Views.
com, can act as an intermediary to connect relevant customers with services that provide viewing records.
The so-called viewing records are generated by computers rather than manually, including simple likes and dislikes to watch comments.
When a supplier is unable to meet its own order requirements, Vassilev will contact another supplier as quickly as an operator.
"I can provide an unlimited number of videos for a video," Vassilev once said in an interview.
"although the parties concerned have been trying to ban this kind of behavior, it can be said that there are policies at the top and countermeasures at the bottom, with little effect.
" In addition to Google, more and more people are choosing to search for content on YouTube.
YouTube has successfully overtaken social giants like Facebook and Instagram to become the most popular platform for teenagers, according to a report released this year by pollster Pew Research Center (Pew Research Center).
With billions or even tens of billions of videos viewed every day, the site can effectively promote the spread of global culture, create more jobs, promote marketing for various brands and promote political agendas.
Like other social media companies affected by fake accounts and malicious campaigns, YouTube has been grappling with fake viewing records over the years.
Fake viewing record generation systems like the one in which Vassilev is involved do have a negative impact on YouTube's credit rating and brand image because it manipulates digital currencies that are valuable to users.
Although the website said that these false viewing records accounted for only a small part, but in fact, it will still have a greater impact, misleading consumers and advertisers.
Based on dozens of interviews, various sales records and examples of fake viewing trial purchases, the New York Times conducted an in-depth investigation into how this market space works and tested YouTube's ability to detect negative manipulation.
Although deliberately exaggerating the number of video views is a violation of the YouTube service agreement, if we use Google to search for content such as the number of views purchased, we will see hundreds of websites that offer fast and convenient services to increase video viewing rates, ranging from 500 to 5 million views.
Those who charge only a few cents per viewing recordThe site may even appear in Google's ad search results.
To test the sites, a Times reporter once ordered thousands of fake viewing records from nine different companies.
It turned out that almost all the purchased viewing records were displayed in the profile of the target video within two weeks.
Among them, there is a website called Devumi.
According to relevant data, in the past three years, the company has successfully sold 196 million fake viewing records of YouTube videos, earning more than $1.
Moreover, there are many viewing records, which are still valid up to now.
From 2014 to 2017, most fake viewing and recording orders will be completed in just a few weeks, according to an analysis report.
Of course, if the number exceeds 1 million, it will take a little longer.
After all, providing a large number of viewing records at a low cost in a short period of time usually means that the authenticity of the service is not guaranteed.
Specifically, Devumi's clients include an employee of (RT) Today, a Russian government-funded news media, and an employee of Al Jazeera's English channel (Al Jazeera English), which is funded by the Qatari government.
In addition, there is a filmmaker who works for the conservative political group Americans for Prosperity in the United States, and the head of the New York Post.
Of course, for these dishonorable things, Al Jazeera and the New York Post said that they did not authorize the relevant personnel to buy false viewing records, and both of them had fired the people involved.
In addition to these, musicians will buy false listening records in order to make their works look more popular.
Because market research companies like Nielsen (Nielsen) and music rankings such as Billboard's top 100 most popular songs include the number of listeners and viewers of YouTube.
Other companies buy fake viewing records for their customers and take advantage of the potential promotional effects of social media to attract more people to watch the videos.
Judith Oppenheimer, 78, hired a company to promote his new book for $5000, hoping to increase sales.
With the help of Devumi, her video was quickly viewed more than 58000 times.
As for how such sites increase the number of targeted videos, it actually varies according to a variety of real-time strategies.
Sometimes, there is an increase in automated viewing traffic.
Sometimes, pop-up videos are unexpectedly dropped on the user's computer.
However, YouTube said that its own platform has formed a set of effective mechanisms and processes to deal with these false traffic increase channels.
Jennifer Flannery O'Connor, head of product management at YouTube, said: "for many years, we have been doing our best to find positive solutions to these negative problems.
" At this stage, YouTube's surveillance system can continuously detect the activity of a video.
At the same time, the company also set up an anti-fraud team.
The team will often take the initiative to place orders to buy fake viewing records in order to better understand how these sites operate.
At present, this reverse monitoring system has brought better results.
But even so, the challenges facing YouTube are daunting.
According to the company's own introduction, as early as 2013, the number of real visitor viewing records on its website was comparable to that of machine-generated fake viewing records.
As a result, some employees worry that the company's fraud monitoring system will not function properly, so they classify the false viewing traffic upside down.
At the time, Blake Livingston, who was still working on YouTube's fraud and abuse team, said: "the problem itself is very thorny, and then the website was attacked and the company took some repair and response measures, which effectively curbed the further increase in the number of fake video viewing.
" Years later, YouTube is still struggling with fake viewing records.
Even in response to Russian intervention in such false information during the 2016 US election, he has not relaxed his efforts and vigilance in this regard.
Although it does not disclose the number of fake viewing records it intercepts every day, it also says that the company's team has been trying to keep such false records below 1% of the total video viewing records.
However, if you look at the specific data, there are at least tens of millions of false records in the billions or even tens of billions of new video viewing records that it generates every day.
"as long as the YouTube platform stays in operation and all kinds of videos keep playing, the manipulation of fake viewing will always be a problem," Livingston said.
"after all, everyone wants their videos to be popular.
" It took only 18 months for Vassilev to bring real money from dole to buying a house and a car.
By the end of 2014, his site had become the first number of Google search YouTube video purchases to show results.
On average, the site has about 150 to 200 orders a day, with revenue of more than $30,000 a month.
A reporter from the Times mentioned above placed an order for purchase.
I bought a record of 25000 views.
The following day, the goods were "received" smoothly.
In response, a Google spokesman said that these sites that sell false viewing records appear in search results mainly because of relevance to the content searched by users.
Of course, it also admits that there is still a lot of room for improvement.
In the future, some security warnings will be provided while presenting search results to users.
Although Vassilev declined to say which customers it had, it said it had a lot of orders from public relations or marketing companies.
At this stage, he will complete most of the orders on his website through SMMKings.
com, a wholesale supplier run by Sean Tamir.
Tamir, 29, charges Vassilev $1 for every 1000 viewing records.
You know, for every 1000 views, Vassilev sells for $13.
According to Tamir, YouTube changes its fake viewing record monitoring system several times a year.
The most recent one happened at the end of January this year, but in fact, within a few weeks, many of these sites were up and running again.
Many vendors say that when the YouTube system is updated, they will deliberately make their viewing records look more normal and make sure that those records come from users who have had real viewing records before.
Among them, there is a supplier named Carlton E.
Bynum II, who specializes in advertising to attract customers.
This year, he has made a successful profit of $191000.
But in contrast, he spent 109000 dollars on advertising to appear on the front page of Google search.
Its website GetLikes.
click sells not only YouTube viewing records, but also fans of Instagram and Twitter, the number of likes on Facebook and the number of SoundCloud broadcasts.
While Google in principle does not allow ads with the words "buy YouTube viewing history" to appear on its site, Bynum says there is an alternative to deliberately misspelling search content and continue to submit after the first ad submission failed.
And even if Google removes ads that buy YouTube viewing records, those ads will appear again in two weeks.
In fact, Bynum was a buyer himself before selling video viewing recordings.
After buying, his video ranking is much higher than that of his competitors.
Moreover, the effect of buying viewing records will be greater and greater, and you will be able to help yourself by watching more videos.
To make more money.
Vassilev also said that he has also used fake viewing records to promote his own website to make people believe that what he is selling is actually real viewing records.
In terms of industry category, most of Devumi's customers are from the music industry.
Because in the music industry, this kind of purchase behavior is very common, even very necessary.
Silvio Pietroluongo, vice president of Billboard, said: "YouTube is one of the main sources of music consumption and one of the important indicators of music trends.
" Back in 2014, music starlet Aleem Khalid hired promotional company Crowd Surf.
But the company bought 10,000 views of each of its three videos without his knowledge.
In his words: "I thought the greatest advantage of these social media platforms was that they were real, but now they all seem to be fake.
" For a long time, YouTube engineers, statisticians and data scientists have been optimizing their ability to deal with these problems.
But at the same time, it is becoming more and more difficult to solve these problems completely.
After knowing that there are "undercover" reporters secretly investigating under the pretext of buying, these websites have strengthened their repair ability one after another, slowing down the speed at which viewing records are put in place.
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