Some of YouTube’s more popular producers of original videos are quietly reporting their viewership numbers have suddenly dropped. The problem isn’t that viewer habits are changing. We’re still in love with cute kittens and people in pain. The problem is click fraud and online video producers are finally getting busted for it.
I was told last week that least some of the numbers generated by more than a few YouTube video makers who deliver hundreds of thousands of views on a regular basis come from banks of servers and zombie PCs pretending to surf. Such click fraud was a huge issue a few years ago for the Google search engine, but YouTube has separate management, remember, and maybe has different values, too. Ever bigger numbers approaching a billion total views per day have been part of the YouTube mystique, so looking the other way may have been part of the YouTube M.O., not that advertisers will be cheered.