While a certain South Korean music video recently made more global headlines by becoming the first-ever YouTube video to surpass one billion views (and to mark the numerous records broken was featured in a mash-up video celebrating the site’s past 12 months), the inner circle that Psy’s “Gangnam Style” is not a part of has faced a big hit as 2012 comes to a close, with a YouTube-sanctioned ‘crackdown’ on ‘fake’ video views’ seeing billions of views being deleted from VEVO-owned artist’s music videos.
This list of video includes some of the largest record labels in the world who oversaw the ‘controversy’ as Sony Music and Universal Media Group were amongst those that lost a cumulative 2b views in one day.
The decision seems to now show that with all the (presumably temporary) video removals, Universal’s movie division now host just 5 video on Youtube, while Sony hold just 3, which for the duration of such a status will serve as huge blows to the high-profile companies, not to mention the affected viewcount and associated negative press which will now surround them.
YouTube breifly noted of the reasons behind taking down clips and rolling back viewcounts: “This was not a bug or security breach. This was an enforcement of our view-count policy.”
However, while such labels have landed in hot water over their perceived conduct (with rumours that the companies had partaken in ‘black hat’ techniques of ‘view-count building’ after being traced back to websites and forums instructing in the techniques – which see hackers make artificial increases to a video’s view and like counts), it is believed that there might not be as big an issue as some media outlets are making out, with the affected view numbers rumoured to have been ‘exaggerated by over 1.9 billion’.
While YouTube’s viewcounts and like numbers serve as an increasingly-important tool in determining advertising revenue for videos, it is believed by other sources that the cuts are a result of Universal and Sony simply moving (‘migrating’) their video archive onto VEVO, with the cuts representative of a YouTube clean-up job to avoid video duplicates, leaving the channel’s respective fully-original video counts now near-empty. The could easily just be a wild misunderstanding, but how much of an impact will the rumors of viewcount manipulation have on the label’s reputations with consumers?