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YouTube watches you watch videos, audits views

YouTube has announced plans to start "auditing" the number of views a video has received, after reports of fake views bought to boost popularity began surfacing.

As the world's biggest video-sharing website, YouTube attracts users from all corners of the globe representing a multitude of demographics. This makes for rich and varied content, but also turns the site into a cornucopia of advertising opportunity for those with greasy palms.

Unfortunately, this is one of the elements that's creating a black market for views. The more people watch a video, the more that video is worth to advertisers and the more money the owners of the video will receive. Consequently, some users have been generating views through automated means, or by tricking other viewers into watching content.

So, like an angry parent, Google has waded in to the fray. As the owner of YouTube, the web giant has written a blog post detailing plans to tackle these fraudulent practices.

"Some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts," it said. "They're not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they're undermining one of YouTube's most important and unique qualities.

"While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video's view count."

The move should benefit both viewer and advertiser, with viewers being given access to relevant content and advertisers sleeping safe in the knowledge that their campaigns on the site are reaching genuine audiences.

YouTube is not the only popular site whose audience is boosted by fake appraisal. Facebook and Twitter have also become players in this fraudulent underground economy that could ruin your business.