YouTube has stripped more than two billion views from the world’s largest recording companies after the video-sharing website clamped down so-called ‘fake viewers’.
The biggest loser was Universal, the music label of popular singers Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj, after YouTube removed one billion views from it in the Google-owned site’s largest crackdown on paid views, whereas Sony, the home of Alicia Keys and other famous artists, lost more than 850 million views.
The quick reduction of views followed YouTube’s investigation and immediate crushing of fake views, mostly coming from paid services to inflate figures, but sources from the music industry blasted maintenance-related migration of their videos around various channels.
Universal had five videos left and Sony with only three videos in their respective channels after YouTube imposed the unheard-of crackdown.
YouTube said the move does not involve security flaws or hacking incidents but only an ‘enforcement’ of its policy for view counts.
Currently the most critical channel for releasing music videos to the public, YouTube’s restriction strikes hard on major music labels in a big commercial setback to all their artists.
YouTube caters to more than 800 million unique visitors, plays more than 4 billion hours of video every month, and receives 72 hours of uploaded videos every minute.
SocialBlade released YouTube statistics to show the downfall after the Google site scrutinized its view counts to fight alleged ‘black hat’ techniques, which describe hackers’ way of generating likes or views on YouTube to make popular videos appear hotter on the site and raise the clips’ exposure.
YouTube view counts are looked upon as the world’s unofficial measure of popular music, and people started to point fingers at the recording industry once the site exposed the inflated views.
Financially, the number of views is valuable to music labels’ channels as it also helps them deliberate how to share revenues generated from advertising with partners.
According to The Daily Dot, many channels, including those of Michael Jackson, Beyonce and Chris Brown, had many deleted videos.
The YouTube channel of X Factor UK product Leona Lewis, the protégé of music industry magnate Simon Cowell, was also hit hard and lost almost 24 million views.
The massive cuts happened on the day hundreds of YouTube users vented frustrations on online forums about a series of video removals for violations of the site’s terms of service.
Most complainants thought they had fallen victim to a system glitch, but YouTube responded that they were punished after violating Terms Of Service item 4, Section H, which forbids artificial inflation of view counts.
The Daily Dot said the Black Hat World forum, where visitors discuss about unethical search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, talked about last week’s crackdown.
On thread starter on the forum confirmed that someone who sold YouTube ‘likes’ had received messages from four customers that the site deleted their videos because of violations to YouTube’s TOS.
Music industry sources charged the drop in number of views on YouTube’s modification in the way it handles view counts.
According to Billboard, YouTube started to delete view counts for alleged dead videos that no longer exist on the site.
A record label executive said that the videos’ accumulated views while on dedicated label channels were removed in YouTube’s crackdown since thousands of videos had moved to Vevo.
The Daily Dot received word from Universal, which confirmed the drop in views but said its channel had remained dormant since its migration to Vevo.
Vevo is a joint venture founded by Universal, Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media Company, and E1 Entertainment in 2009.
Sony’s YouTube channel received comments that crowed over its comeuppance.