Chasing the YouTube Scammers

  |  May 17, 2007   |  Comments

Before YouTube figures out how to incorporate ads into the videos on its popular site, first it may have to rid itself of scammers who artificially inflate clip approval ratings for their own gains

Before YouTube figures out how to incorporate ads into the videos on its popular site, first it may have to rid itself of scammers who artificially inflate clip approval ratings for their own gains. According to this Infoworld story, the clip "R0049_TDAU8," which has since been removed from YouTube, garnered 113 million hits and a five-star review by site visitors. The video of a woman giving birth to a can of fizzy beverage was littered with flames from users wondering how the clip received such a high rating. The answer is, it didn't.

The success of the clip stems from scammers who gamed the online voting system. The goal is often to drive visitors to adware or malware sites, according to Internet fraud researcher Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at Harvard University, who is quoted in the story. Some of the con artists purchase traffic from so-called paid link firms to inflate ratings on social sites.

This is the stuff that advertisers' nightmares are made of, and likely part of the reason YouTube execs have said they will venture gingerly into ads on their site.

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