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By B.L. Ochman

It’s no wonder every marketers’ dream is to have a brand video go viral. But the vast majority of viral videos don’t just happen organically.

Brands and agencies pay to go viral – even though it’s against YouTube’s rules.

The majority of marketing and entertainment videos go viral with “seeding help” from companies with names like “Pimp My Views”, 500 views and View Tornado – who claim to be the cheapest on the Internet.

All sell YouTube views, subscribers and Likes. Some use bots to repeatedly view and click on videos. Some use more legitimate methods, but all of them get paid for seeding.

Viral video is a myth
The reality is, “viral video” is a myth. The biggest and most successful online video campaigns are the result of carefully crafted and well-funded strategies – not friends sharing videos with friends, said Mitchell Reichgut, CEO of the social video platform Jun Group.

The seeding goal is to get 50,000 views to get a video on YouTube’s Daily Most Viewed videos. Instead of being a needle in a haystack of 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, a video on the Most Viewed page it can get 1/20th of the views on that page. Once it gets there, its thumbnail becomes important, as do its tags and descriptive copy.

Half a YouTube million views, $479.95
Prices for paid seeding vary widely. YouTubeViewsX promises a half million views for $479.95. Other firms promise 100,000 views for $2,000, stacking up 10,000 – 50,000 views per day – which will most likely make your video go viral by getting it into “You Tube Honors” “Most Viewed,” or “YouTube Partner.” Viral Views will get you 100,000 views or clicks for $300.You also can buy 7,000 YouTube views in 96 hours on ebay for $29.99.

These methods are widespread – and they’re also against YouTube’s terms of service. Which make me wonder why YouTube allows seeding.

If you get caught, Pimp My Views’ website claims, “YES! We can unfreeze videos that have been frozen from using fake/bot youtube views. This usually happens when the company uses bots or proxies to increase the views (i.e. low price companies). The videos will be stuck forever at around 300 views. Let us get your youtube views unfrozen for your video ans [sic]start soaring with youtube views once again.”

YouTube terms of service bans buying viewsg
YouTube terms make it crystal clear that using bots or buying views is against their terms of service. But busts are rare.

H. “You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, “robots,” “spiders,” or “offline readers,” that accesses the Service in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser. …. You agree not to solicit, for commercial purposes, any users of the Service with respect to their Content.”

Randall Magwood wrote on Internet marketing forum, Warrior Forum, “Buying Youtube views is worthless. It’s a waste of time, and people won’t buy because of your views…. they will clickthrough and view your article if it’s targeted, and if it’s perceived to be something that they need to listen to.”

The attention that’s really important to capture is from the people who are most likely to engage with the brand and its products. You don’t want the video to be the viewer’s entire experience.

If you get a million views but you they’re not your target audience, virality won’t do you much good. And you might get kicked off YouTube, Google AdSense and other Google products.