Viewcounts are incredibly important to us here at YouTube. They serve as a way to recognize and surface great content, and are one of the most scrutinized measures of popularity on YouTube. Careers have been made because of viewcounts - whether you’re simply making a music video with friends or on the way back from the dentist, views matter.
Since views are so important, it’s no surprise that there are companies whose entire business model is built on converting your cash into views. We understand that promotion can be a highly effective way to grow your audience, and we encourage you to promote your content on and off of YouTube. However, we want to be clear that paying for views obtained through some of these companies could very well be a violation of our terms, and one that we take very seriously.
So what do we mean exactly? Let’s get specific.
What is a view?
We consider a view to be an action users want to do. Generally, this means that they initiate the view; for example, they click on something they want to watch or decide not to skip something, and they watch it. Pretty straightforward, right?
A view should be a metric that reflects genuine user interest. In other words, a viewer has a choice, and that choice determines whether or not we count something as a view. It shouldn’t be a gauge of how many people accidentally or unintentionally ended up watching your video.
What isn’t ok?
Services that attempt to gain views through automated means or that force or trick viewers into watching videos are not ok. This could be through a variety of means, including, among other things, deceptive layouts on third party websites that trick viewers into playing a video when they click unrelated elements on the page. It might also be serving up embedded videos instead of intended content, serving pop-unders, re-directing and/or a variety of other methods people use to try to inflate viewership.
At the end of the day, anything that artificially increases the number of views, either through the use of automatic systems or by serving up videos to unsuspecting viewers, is against our terms. Videos and accounts that are found to be in violation of our terms may be closed down and removed from YouTube.
If you are going to contract someone to help promote your content, it should be someone you absolutely trust, as you may be putting the fate of your channel (and your business on YouTube) in their hands. If they are using methods that aren’t within our terms, you will be the one to pay the price, as it will be your videos and your channel that get taken down. And don’t just take their word for it - ask the tough questions, find out how they promote your content and do your due diligence. Ultimately, you are responsible for knowing and abiding by our terms - this means understanding the nature of the traffic on your channel and making sure you are in compliance with our terms. Ignorance of bad traffic or other actions taken on your behalf may lead to your account being removed from YouTube.
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