Video spam hasn’t been a big deal since YouTube’s early days, but the advent of live shopping on what has now become the number one streaming platform for ad-supported reach means we have to review the problem.
This article provides everything you need to know about YouTube and video spam (but were afraid to ask).
Basically, spam, scams, and other deceptive practices that take advantage of the YouTube community are not allowed on YouTube.
Additionally, YouTube does not allow content that encourages people to leave the social video platform for another site.
Additionally, this policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube products or features.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that violating these guidelines may result in your video being removed from YouTube.
And, we wouldn’t want that now, would we?
It is important that your understanding of what constitutes video spam complies with YouTube’s spam prevention guidelines on its platform.
What is video spam?
Video spam is satisfied that:
- Promises viewers they’ll see something, but instead directs them offsite to see it.
- Promises viewers that they will make money fast for getting clicks, views, or traffic off of YouTube.
- Directs viewers to sites that attempt to collect personal information or distribute harmful software.
But video spam is also:
- Post the same content repeatedly to one or more channels.
- Massively download content you’ve pulled from other creators.
- Automatically generated content that computers publish without regard to quality or viewer experience.
- Publish affiliate content massively in dedicated accounts.
Keep in mind that this is not a complete list.
Now, if users, partners, or other creators see content that they believe violates these guidelines, they can use the flag feature to submit it for review by YouTube staff.
Or, if they find a few videos or comments they’d like to report, they can report the channel as well.
In December 2017, YouTube hired 10,000 additional staff to review content that might violate its rules. So there are now a lot more cops on the beat.
But wait, there’s more!
What are misleading metadata or thumbnails?
If you post content, do not use misleading metadata or thumbnails. This includes:
- A thumbnail with a photo of a popular celebrity that has nothing to do with the content.
- Using the title, thumbnails, or description to trick users into thinking the content is something it isn’t.
This is especially true if there is a serious risk of gross harm in the real world.
What are scams?
Scams are not allowed on YouTube.
This includes content:
- Make overpromisessuch as claims that viewers can get rich quick or that a miracle cure can cure chronic diseases such as cancer.
- Offer cash gifts.
- Promote pyramid schemes (sending money without a tangible product in a pyramid structure).
- Promising ” You will do $50,000 tomorrow with this plan!
And, it should be noted that this list is not complete.
What is incentive spam?
Incentivization Spam is content that sells engagement metrics such as views, likes, comments, subscribers, or other metrics on YouTube.
This type of spam includes the following types of content:
- “Subs 4 Subs” Videosthat offer to subscribe to another creator’s channel only in exchange for subscribing to your channel.
- Videos that get likes for sale.
- videos that offer to get a channel to 100,000 subscribers without any other content.
And, keep in mind that this is not a complete list.
What is comment spam?
YouTube does not allow comments whose sole purpose is to collect personal information from viewers, mislead viewers away from YouTube, or engage in any of the prohibited behaviors listed above.
Here are some examples of this type of content:
- Comments on surveys or giveaways promoting pyramid schemes.
- “Pay Per Click” referral links in the comments.
- Comments that falsely claim to offer full video content. This type of content may include TV shows.
- Posting links to harmful software or phishing sites in comments: “omg just got tons of dollars from here! – [xyz phishing site].com.”
- Comments with links to counterfeit stores.
- “Hey, watch my channel/video here!” when the channel/video has nothing to do with the video it was posted under.
- Post the same comment multiple times with a link to your channel.
As you have already guessed, this is not a complete list.
What is Live Stream Abuse?
This policy covers live streams intended to carry content that belongs to someone else and which are not corrected after repeated warnings of possible abuse.
Policing requires channel owners to actively monitor their live streams and fix any potential issues in a timely manner.
Of course, the following types of content are not allowed on YouTube:
- Use your phone to broadcast a TV show.
- Using third-party software to live stream songs from an album.
But keep in mind that this list is not a complete list.
If you want to better understand the YouTube Community Guidelines on these matters, watch this unlisted video that was uploaded to the YouTube Creators Channel on May 1, 2019.
For more information, visit YouTube’s Help Center, which was recently revamped to clarify community guidelines and policies regarding “misinformation”.
There you will find an article that provides detailed definitions of the six main types of misinformation and explains what these policies mean for creators.
What if your content violates these policies?
If your content violates any of the half a dozen rules listed above, YouTube will remove the content and email you to let you know.
If this is the first time you’ve broken YouTube’s Community Guidelines, you’ll likely receive a warning with no penalty to your channel.
If not, YouTube may issue a warning against your channel.
If you receive 3 warnings within 90 days, your channel will be terminated.
YouTube may also terminate your channel or account for repeated violations of the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service.
YouTube may also terminate your channel or account after a single instance of severe abuse, or when the channel is dedicated to a policy violation.
And, as should be abundantly clear to content creators, these guidelines cover the most common forms of video spam, deceptive practices, and scams, but YouTube may react negatively to other deceptive practices not listed here.
It’s not safe to assume that just because a specific deceptive technique is not included on this page, YouTube endorses it.
Channel owners who devote their energy to upholding the spirit of the Basics will deliver greater viewer satisfaction and subsequently enjoy higher rankings than those who spend their time looking for loopholes they can exploit.
As the Grail Knight warns in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989):
“You have to choose. But choose wisely.
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