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How to Cheat at the YouTube Game and Get Millions of Views

This is a guest post by filmmaker Robin Schmidt, who today courts controversy with his ongoing series Choosing an Online Video Platform. Next time you see a view count in the millions, you might wonder where some of those views came from! This is not to say that I’m suggesting filmmakers cheat, but NoFilmSchool is devoted to sharing the tools that might help a filmmaker succeed, and the ability to hack YouTube is certainly worth filing under “good to know” — even if you never employ such tactics. Without further ado, here’s Robin:

The Changing Face of Online Video

In the last two installments of this article I talked about the rapidly changing face of online video. It is splintering at a vicious rate and steering us inexorably to the point at which our TVs and our computer screens are, effectively, no longer divided. This is the crucial piece of the whole puzzle as it removes the boundary between traditional media consumption (remote) and the flighty, multi-touchpoint agitated consumption (mouse and keyboard) that characterises the way we consume media online. I think this is incredibly important for us as content creators because our goal should not be just to create but also to nurture the audience for our work. With the merger of TV and web the potential audience suddenly increases dramatically, giving us a democratic and completely workable way to become broadcasters in our own right.

With increased audience comes increased revenue potential, along with everything else that comes with it. Many people simply don’t watch a huge amount of video online except during a lunch hour break. Smash the line between their computers and their television and it’s suddenly game on. This isn’t going to take long. Televisions are already shipping with apps built in for specifically this purpose and, as always, those brave enough to recognise the opportunity early will thrive in a way none following will be allowed to. It is a bit like the old west all over again and I can see great golden opportunities for us out there. You just have to do your homework.1

This brings us neatly back to YouTube and the work you can do there to help you make the most of this new frontier once we’re upon it. Creating and nurturing an audience on YouTube is a smart move as it’s likely to be the go-to place for web TV video once the service gets up to speed. If an audience is already in place, if your work is already popular then you’ll be able to get going a lot faster. Remember, the goal is always to finance the next job, to finance the next episode, to monetize, be self-sufficient, be independent, be in control. As I wrote in the last post, building your audience on YouTube is a painstaking process and requires you to be all over your social media touchpoints, outside of YouTube, on Facebook particularly, as much as building contacts on the site itself. One of the best ways (supposedly) to really drive traffic through your YouTube channel is for one of your videos to make it onto the ‘most watched’ list, the front page of YouTube itself. Your video needs to be seriously trending to do this, lots of people watching it in a very short space of time. You tend to find this happening after TV shows where some enterprising soul has ripped a particular clip and posted it, with all those wishing to show their friends what they missed sending it on. This is not going to happen to your lovingly created clip. But that’s not to say that it can’t.

As I’ve already written, deciding what to put on YouTube is very very important. As I’ve discovered with my blog audiences tend to grow in fits and spurts rather than in any linear, predictable way. So, you should plan your online video existence the same way. One clip will suddenly draw lots of people to the site, you’ll see a spike then it will settle (ideally at a much higher level than before). Your job then is twofold, maintain the audience you already have, then hook in new people with something special, then maintain them, aim for another spike, etc. etc. What we’ve been trying to do with Super Massive Raver is react to what’s happening on TV and make our videos accordingly. The problem we have is that I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to keep doing that. It’s much better if you plan in advance, have the video ready to go then unleash it on the world at exactly the right moment i.e. just after the final of a big TV show like the X Factor or Dancing with the Stars, with your content designed to catch the searches people are doing for those trending shows.


Now, onto something controversial. Cheating. Yes, it’s possible to cheat on YouTube. There are quite a few sites, like VivoViews, and which will sell you YouTube views. What!??? Yes, you can buy them. Not only that, you can specify at what speed you get them, you can buy subscribers, you can buy channel views, comments, likes, friends, the whole works. It’s not particularly expensive either: 5,000 for $10. They’ll take an awfully long time to get there but that’s really not that much. Of course you can get them delivered a lot faster than that but it’ll cost you a lot more. A speedy 1,000,000 views will cost you in the region of $12,000. If that shocks you then it really shouldn’t. YouTube is a game, and like all games, it’s quite possible to cheat.If a video has pretty small numbers, chances are they’re completely real. If they’re remarkably high, they might have been boosted by services like those listed above.

This is a real fact of YouTube and not something to be terribly worried about, because, well, because you can play along too. Should you wish to. Garnering views all on your own will take a huge amount of energy and resources, and as I already mentioned, the great beast that is the viewer doesn’t watch videos if no-one else is watching them. The collective sheep-following is extraordinary and we are all guilty of it. Setting aside budget for an early viewer boost through one of these services allows you to get the ball rolling. If you have a spare $12,000 lying around to break 1,000,000 views overnight then you’ll quickly see your video on the front page of YouTube and lots and lots of people coming to see your work. And that’s really the point, draw ‘em in and hold ‘em. If you’ve got nothing else for people to see, to keep them invested in your work, then there’s no point paying for absurdly fast views.

Next question, does it even work. Well, yes it does. How do I know? Well, how do you think? I was curious to see what would happen if I paid to have views directed to a video. There’s absolutely no way of quantifying whether you actually have received the full number you’ve paid for but there’s no doubt that I saw a definite spike in the numbers of views. Subscribers turn up but they don’t have avatars and that tends to reduce their credibility. Comments are a waste of time as they’re written from a stock list and look utterly idiotic. You can always pass them off as bot spam but it’s really not worth it. Videos with lots of views but hardly any comments are always suspicious.

There’s a great scene in Boiler Room where Ben Affleck urges his young brokers to ‘Act as if’. On YouTube you need to act as if you have a great big regular audience, even if you don’t. If you believe in your content but you’re a small independent creator then attracting people to your site takes a really long time. Investing in the ‘act as if’ quotient of your site just means putting stats in place that make believe other people are watching so it’s worth their while watching too. It’s pathetic and sad but it works. Now, before you go getting on your high horse about how this goes against the spirit of the web, just bear this in mind. YouTube isn’t fair, there are tons of content creators (particularly record labels) pumping tons of cash into drawing people’s eyes to their content. Viewers are also getting to watch your content for free, and you should be able to protect your investment of time and energy. You wouldn’t think twice about printing a flyer to publicise your film; this is the YouTube equivalent.

Would I recommend you consider these services? I think you’d be an idiot not to. This is the game. There are other services I’d recommend looking into to help you manage YouTube better. One of these is a web based service called Tube Promoter. This allows you to harvest commenters from videos, or subscribers to channels and send friend requests to them. Invite people to become friends, they check out your site, they stay, they subscribe because you have great content. There’s another service called Tube Toolbox which seems a better bit of software but it won’t run on a Mac unfortunately. Again, these services are designed to make the process of building an audience on YouTube just a little bit easier. Think about it, if you can make money on YouTube and you want to build an audience, it makes a lot of sense to use any tool you can lay your hands on to cut through and be successful. I don’t work for any of these companies, I’m not selling anything, I’m just trying to shed some light on what’s really going on, where those huge numbers we see might actually be coming from. Remember: Act as if.

I’m Robin Schmidt, also known in music video circles as El Skid. I’m a freelance director, editor and latterly cameraman, as well as doing all sorts of other bits and pieces like graphics and voiceovers. I am not a director of photography. And never will be. I’ve been working in music video, corporate and extreme sports up till now but my big love is drama, which is easily the toughest directing game to gain any kind of foothold in. I set up the production company Chrome Productions in 2002 which served as a brilliant apprenticeship for learning key skills, but I’ve now left to pursue drama, not necessarily in the conventional way, but in a way that reflects the changing landscape of filmmaking today, and the one that does away with all the bullshit that seems to float around this business. Earlier this year I won the Bahamas 14 Islands Film Challenge and earned the right to work with Canon as a pro envoy for video and convergence (a fancy term for shooting on DSLRs). I was also named one of Moviescope Magazine’s ‘One to Watch’ which must mean I’m doing something right!

  1. There is a small caveat to all this which is the issue of net neutrality, which I won’t go into here, but it’s threatening to shake apart the very foundations on which the net was built. Not pretty and you can read about it here. []


We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 71 COMMENTS

  • “You wouldn’t think twice about printing a flyer to publicize your film; this is the YouTube equivalent.”
    Haha! I love it!

  • hey Koo
    sorry if this a dumb question
    but is there a way to browse the list of recent comments
    beyond the four latest that appear in the “recent comments” box…
    …I’m a big fan of this website


  • Awesome piece you did here! Thanks for all the valuable info.

  • YouTube Videos like “UnawareFootage” relys on comments to help create the “Buzz” that so many viewers want to be part of. The ability to comment and “feed the animal” is what most people look for when actually making a YouTube post.

  • I agree that the stock comments are a dead giveaway. Of course, you could always switch on the block comments option, but that would probably make it even more suspect – thousands of views but no comments!

  • Hi. I am solo musician and working hardly to make the best music + video production for youtube I POSSIBLY CAN. My question is:
    I’m sure youtube themself is aware of such sites. Isn’t there a big risk that YouTube will discover the cheat and bann the channel? It looks very promising and I will try it for sure. Sounds to good to be true. Of course the content itself has to be solid too ! Sounds very interesting.
    Thanks very much.

    • They have cool bots that create YouTube accounts, randomly generating them using words from a specified txt file. They then use these accounts to open the video url repeatedly and then after a set amount of times to refresh (to hide suspicion) the bot abandons that account and creates a new one.

      They would have hundreds of bots doing this all night to rack up the view counts, and because bots are scripted they are almost instantaneous. It’s pretty much as fast as the internet and the computers (yes, plural) that they are using.

  • ilaofficial on 01.13.11 @ 5:32PM

    Just out of curiosity Robin which one did you use? I just tried even though their website looked shady, and I have not seen any activity since the day I paid them (2 weeks ago). As a matter of fact I have a string of emails back and forth with them in regards to movement of my link and still nothing. For any of you guys looking to use these services I would watch out for that site in particular. I haven’t tried the others yet; but I will, just to see how the service is.

    • Hi I am trying vivoviews since three weeks, aswell. I ordered 10’000 views + 10’000 views for free. It’s slow, it once stopped so I e-mailed them…Now it works again, but very slow.. I tried YouTubeJumpstart . 10’000 views in one week for 25$. Worked straight away. I think vivoviews is shit

  • Fascinating. I had no idea. My eyes pried wide open

  • Last night I experimented with manufacturing views on YouTube. It was fairly successful. I’m waiting for final results. So far, it seems laughably easy, but ultimately, pointless and stupid.

    Compared to Vimeo, YouTube is really, pretty crap. It’s viewing figures may be completely meaningless. If companies like Vivoview manufacture views the way I do, it’s a pretty funny business indeed.

    If the manufacturing process generates more than 250 views a day, I’ll blog it.

  • I tried for few videos on my website, and it works fine. The rate is cheap comparing to other sites out there. The promotion buy 1 get 1 free is cheap, effectively it cost $40 for 40,000 views. On the site it doesn’t say, but you just buy the slow package, they will upgrade the views to a fast package for you. I thought you should use this tip when ordering them.

  • What is this ?
    Cheating on YouTube ?
    Your Content must be really bad, if you have to cheat on YouTube.
    When you are able to produce content, that keeps viewers or even let you gain more and more viewers, then you deserve it.
    This isn’t the case ? Surprise.
    You have to work to get money. There is no shortcut.
    Big dislike for this article.
    Once you start cheating, you cheat yourself and the YouTube Users.
    What would you say, if you buy a new TV and there is just sand in the package ?
    Think about that one.

    Your disappointet Reader.

    • Hey Robert I understand your frustration, but take a look at all the shit videos out there on youtube that have tons of hits. Filmmakers who want their films to be seen have to level the playing field somehow. If you disagree let me ask you this if I spend more money on my movie in marketing than you do and my movie has a way bigger opening weekend, does that make me a cheater?

      This is the part of film making the artist doesn’t want to here. IT’S A BUSINESS!!!

      • “It’s a business.” “Everyone’s doing it – we’ve got to level the playing field” blah blah blah
        What you mean is, “I’m a moral troll and I’ve sold my soul.” Just admit it.
        Anytime we “cheat” (i.e. DO BUSINESS), we are actively killing the very thing we love. You’ve just decided to become one of the scum instead of trying to oppose and eliminate them.

        • Sorry..knew this article is already a year old but really..don’t understand the complaint about cheating YouTube.. It’s no different than any other business model.. Politics cheat(who ever has the most $ for advertising wins..has nothing to do with the person/content) same for TV networks for new shows, movies that sucks but get “amazing reviews”,products, etc.. According to your logic everything that revolves around success is cheating. I admit it I buy views. why? It works.. You want to be recognized on YouTube you have to do this just based on the shear VOLUME of uploads. Your living in a bubble if you think music like Justin Bieber, Adele just got views and ranking on iTunes simply by their music?..The investors all jump start their views by buying a couple million views or purchasing a million uploads of their songs to make more money…Tons of musicians out there that are good, tons of videos that are good..but he who has the gold wins.. It’s the way of the world!

  • First, I want to say that I wouldn’t regard this as “cheating”. I think its most definitely a form of paid promotion. That being said though, I do have a couple of thoughts:

    1. I would not recommend this method if you are a YouTube Partner. Not because I think YouTube will catch it and disable your channel, but because its likely AdSense will see the spike in impressions from the same IP address and flag your account.

    2. It doesn’t seem to be common knowledge, but YouTube has a built in function that does something similar called “Promoted Videos”. For a comparable price to these services YouTube will put your video at the top of search results based on the tags associated with it. This might be better for some as it will not only increase your view count, but do it in a way that people that may actually be interested in the content will see it.

    • olirockcpofficial on 07.31.11 @ 12:40PM

      Great advantage of promoted views is i always click on promoted videos completely by accident, then i get sucked in to the channel and i sub!


  • Dirk Nienaber on 08.1.11 @ 4:17AM

    Good methods mentioned,

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  • Impressive !

    Thanks for sharing

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  • pat fejordi on 02.15.12 @ 12:27AM

    cool beens

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  • Open it u wl ave 1,000,000 viewz n likes

  • Grant Casual on 10.28.12 @ 10:30PM

    Hey Guys! I know what you mean by those videos with lots of views and hjust a few comments. I have been on youtube since april of 2011, and i must say that i like this idea. In fact, i am going to school for film, and i had to create a film portifolio and i got it accepted last weekend, i am very proud of that, thing is, i have 834 subscribers and 36,100 total video views, over like 70 total videos, i’ve deleted several in the past but none recentally. i am upto like 55 videos. Thing is, i am getting so little views andhave gotten quite a few views lately, over 10k since the beginning of the school year, but i keep telling myself that its not good enough. I need that little push to get me some more views, i’ve looked EVERYWHERE for inspiration and ideas to make my videos even better, i’ts worked. ALOT. However, only has gotten me a few thousand views in return. And this is not something i just do when i have nothing else better to do, i spend my life doing this, however i am a student, my senior year of high school. I have a unique style, i’m the vlogger from the 80s with the bighair! i’m so chill, man. I feel as there are people who just joined like 3 months or so ago and already have like a few thousand subs and i’m making better videos and putting in a whole bunch more time into it. Here’s my channel.

  • I would say that timing is also a really powerful way of getting views. Make a video of trending searches and also popular times of the year and popular topics at everyone is talking about. This way you can target your traffic and promote on the social networks. You will be surprised a how quick views start coming in. Check out my video link below which is a comical take on the famous Mayan Calendar date of the 21st December 2012

  • Thanx for the usefull advice will surely try it out! hey guys check out this link for some awesome videos ,1 of it includes ”guy being humiliated and loads more so enjoy and have a blast…..

  • Thanx for the usefull advice will surely try it out! Awesome blog …… hey guys check out this link for some awesome videos ,1 of it includes ”guy being humiliated and loads more so enjoy and have a blast…..

  • I got a good number of views within 2weeks. Approx 2k to be exact. My formula is to give people what they want. Check out my video

  • My brother and his friends thought they’d be ‘helpful’ and buy me 300,000 youtube views. When I found out, I was furious, and really paranoid that youtube would block me. Now that I’ve read your article, I’m beginning to feel a little better. Still, I feel incredibly guilty of fraud. Should I take the video down?? Or leave it up? Any opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  • I looked at the price of views in YouTube, and I was surprised! I cheat on live views in YouTube, for over 2 years! Prices have much less! 1000 views I wind the $ 2. Minimum 10 000 views. During the day, I screwed up to 1 million views.
    My contacts:
    Skype: fizik_id

  • I tried out to get youtube views on a really stupid video (it was of a rabbit staring at a tree) just to test – and I was really surprised. I didn’t actually think that I would get the views (especially on such an idiotic video) but I did! Some people actually liked and commented on my video

  • hey would mean so much if you could watch this and like or subscribe would love you forever

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  • Asking questions are truly fastidious thing if
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    but this post gives good understanding even.

  • Good stuff. One day I want to try this. Only problem is, I have no motiviation.

  • Can we get good earnings from youtube? is this worth to spend for youtube views ?

  • i need more views, likes , and subs
    if you do it with me I do that even when you^^



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    Attorney goes over Youtube Contract:

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