Is YouTube breaking their own view policy?

youtubelogoLast week YouTube announced publicly that they were clamping down on companies providing fraudulent views for videos, and running view audits.

This announcement makes full sense due to the rise of bot-driven companies that are prevalent on sites like Fiverr who promise to deliver 10,000 views for $10 – which is clearly fraudulent and un-useful to anyone in the content-making / advertising space.

I wrote a blog post on the Wall back in November last year outlining YouTube’s approach to how it counts views on YouTube, explaining their position that a viewer should actively watch a video and not have it forced upon them:

YouTube’s new announcement very much emphasises this position, however it does throw up a potential big issue for YouTube as their TrueView video advertising product arguably breaks their own rules, as through the TrueView user experience a video ad auto-plays and is forced upon the viewer.   YouTube may argue that the viewer has the option to click away and not watch the TrueView video ad, however it’s certainly not the 100% native click-to-view user-experience that YouTube advocates.

Interestingly on the same day as YouTube did a big PR push around YouTube view audits last week, they also (in a less public way) announced the appointment of Susan Wojcicki as the new YouTube CEO – a significant move, as Wojcicki had previously been SVP of Ads and Commerce at Google, indicating a new increased monetisation focus for YouTube.

Google need to be very careful about how they deal with YouTube counts and their audits.  We’ve already seen views via Trueview campaigns not count on the YouTube, and within YouTube we know the product team (in charge of validating YouTube views) is separated from commercial Trueview ads team, so YouTube need to make sure that one side of the company is not making rules that the other side is breaking and result in another EU anti-trust case and £3 billion fine. 

Chris Quigley is the founder of social video platform VAN and meme meet-up #KittenCamp.