“Go big or go home!” is a favorite phrase of mine, and Jon Shabaglian’s new video Blow On These Embers has now done both.
The video created quite a stir when it reportedly went viral and logged more than 1 million views in 4 days. Then it was removed by YouTube when those 1 million views turned out to be bogus.
Dubious Marketing Tactics
Jon Shabaglian’s team hired hired a promotion company, SpringRank, to promote the video in social media. Apparently they used some dubious methods.
While Jon does not go into the specifics tactics SpringRank used which resulted in the video’s removal, it’s likely they used some artificial means to generate bogus views and likes. Perhaps the company has bots that view and like videos. Or perhaps they purchased them from a 3rd party.
A quick search of Fiverr shows a myriad of shady marketers offering 1,000 to 10,000 YouTube views for just $5 – a direct violation of YouTube’s terms of service.
So, why would anyone buy YouTube views or likes? The views & likes either come from bots or people in 3rd world countries clicking hundreds of times an hour for pennies. So the views and likes themselves are of no value.
One reason is because views and likes factor into search rankings. The more a video is viewed & liked the higher it apears on the page when someone searches YouTube or Google (which owns YouTube).
A second reason is for what’s called “social proof.” Just as search engines are more intesreted in things that seem to be popular, so are human beings. When I’m on YouTube I see lots of videos with less than 1,000 views and I pass right over them because I figure there must not be anything remarkable about them. But if I see a video that’s gotten 1 million views, I think, “Hmm, what’s all the hubbub?” (Yes, hubbub is in my internal voice’s vocabulary) I’m much more likely to view just out of curiosity.
There are lots of marketers out there who take short cuts and manipulate stats. Some are willing to risk their reputation and that of their clients by violating terms of service. We’ve seen this for years in the area of search engine marketing with “black hat” SEOs. The same type of stuff is now going on in social media marketing.
In the Christian Media Magazine interview, Jon Shabaglian acknowledged:
I kick myself for not being more sensitive to the warning signs… Thanks for letting me come on as a follow up story to share our painful reality and to hopefully warn others who are in similar places, of people who are wanting to engage culture and make dynamic content with light and life, to not be seduced into the too-good-to-be-true promotion opportunities. We can be the painful reminder to others who are sorting through that to make sure you do your research on the front end.
The bottom line is when hiring a company to do any kind of marketing, make sure you look into their history and reputation. Make sure you hire someone you can trust. (And yes, if you are looking for a trustworthy team who can dramatically increase your website traffic through better search rankings, we hope you’ll consider OurChurch.Com.)
By the way, Blow on These Embers was reposted to YouTube and has just 895 views in the 2+ weeks since then. Regardless of the numbers I think the video and the song are exceptionally good.
- What do you think of the “Blow On These Embers” video removal?
- For someone looking to hire some marketing help, what would you recommend they do to ensure they hire a reputable company?