Blog Post

Spam on Video Sites?

Are a surge of spam videos turning up in search results on sites like YouTube, Revver, and Break? That’s the contention of Kevin Delaney at the Wall Street Journal (no reg req).

It seems he’s basically talking about tag spam — when videos are mislabeled with popular search terms. Perhaps this hasn’t happened to me very often because I don’t go searching for “Playstation Xbox Nintendo PSP,” as Delaney does for the article. It’s much more of a problem if misleadingly labeled or titled videos show up in most popular search results. For instance, the masterpiece below, “Britney Spears caught without underpants” (SFW, unless someone’s looking at the title).

That was particularly common circa December, when a whole bunch of videos promising skin but really showing moral messages rose to the top of sites like YouTube (see discussion in an old Mark Cuban post and an item from Reel Pop).

Now, not so much — Delaney quotes Suranga Chandratillake of Blinkx saying video sites have gotten things more in control following spam outbreaks in January and February. Yet Delaney also warns ominously about video click farms: “But some industry executives suspect individuals may be boosting the rankings of their clips by setting up computers to automatically click on the videos repeatedly.”

To be fair, with emerging efforts at aiding video search engine optimization by Blinkx and FeedCompany (mentioned on Mashable today), abuse of the system can’t be far behind.

What do you think? How often are you running into spam on video sites?

6 Responses to “Spam on Video Sites?”

  1. Spam videos are just an inevitablity, when you consider that the content surge of the internet just continues to grow and grow. It’s just like Wikipedia: it continues to grow and eventually it will be so large, no one is going to bother (or be crazy enough) to try to support something like that.

  2. Any competent advertiser will see right through video views that are generated through auto page refreshers or other bots. Those are the accounts with a lot of views but no comments or favorites. We work with major brands and don’t go near any programs that could get our clients flagged or suspended.

  3. There was some talk about clickfraud on YouTube in Austin — it’s my understanding that they don’t do anything to keep a simple Perl bot from loading and reloading a page until hits start up in the thousands. No reason you couldn’t create a core of dummy users to game the ratings and comments while you’re at it.

  4. Think about it a different way…

    Spam can come through fake tags on ANY service… including online video sites. MANY do it already, with promoting a dating sites. Post a HOT person, label some viral tags surely to be found, WHAM! 40k views!! All you had to do for them to get YOUR SITE WITHOUT being a “DIRECTOR” on youtube was to WATERMARK my URL on the video and LIE that you can find more videos on MY URL…

    It’s a gaping security hole. I am not sure it can easily be fixed using the conventional means…

    I know how to fix it though… It’s never been done before but hints are all over the place…

    Soon, everyone is going to get blipd!