After Andy Baio called “bulls**t” on CANSEI DE DER SEX Music is My Hot Hot Sex, there’s been renewed interest in stats-gaming on YouTube. The video is still online at 91,195,785 views and counting, but it’s no longer listed as the most viewed all time. Creator Clarus Bartel denies any shenanigans, but fair or foul, he should get a job offer or three out of it.
YouTube knows that tales of fraudulent stats can and will scare away advertisers. But hey, Google’s been battling click-fraud and link-spamming for years; the networks sell time based on numbers from sweeps months (when they trot out their best — and sleaziest); and more than a few fishwraps have been known to boost circulation in less-than-honorable ways. As John Lawrence explains to Roddy Piper in They Live, “It’s business, that’s all it is.”
What you will find atop the leaderboard is, well, advertising. “It’s like low-quality MTV from the days when they showed music videos,” Marshall Kirkpatrick pointed out on Read Write Web. What sneaked through the commercial cracks, and how (besides Evolution of Dance)? At number twelve, a C-Pop video with karaoke subtitles titled xxx! Click through for links to motivational posters! Wait a second, that’s just another commercial…
At #10, between Sean Kingston and Rihanna? A laughing baby! What could possibly be cuter? Hahaha has bested dozens, if not hundreds, of laughing babies with 39,957,827 views– maybe the little tyke is laughing at the pretenders in the “related videos” sidebar, with their piddling seven-figure view counts. But wait, Kazakhstan’s BlackOleg happens to have posted an ad for a bank, where he says that he works. But the link watermarked over the laughing baby points to geekProject.com from Kjell- ke Andersson, who posted posted an earlier copy of the same clip. Is a laughing baby being used to promote a bank in the former Soviet Union?
Currently at number three, Lo que tœ Quieras O’r is actually a beautifully produced short film with an apparently legitimate website. And it is in Spanish, the second-most popular language worldwide (ahead of English, but behind Mandarin), so that’s something. But even if the 62,531,601 views were achieved au naturel, the spammers have taken over in the comments. I’d dig further, but I was won over by the video’s “copyleft” tag and I’m already worried I’ll have nightmares of Avril Lavigne and a creepy baby doing the twist while laughing at me from a motivational poster tonight.