search marketing social media

Christian video with more than 1 Million views removed by YouTube

blog on these embers - Jon Shabaglian
Written by Paul Steinbrueck

blog on these embers - Jon Shabaglian“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.

The story of the rise and fall of Blow On These Embers is captured in an article and interview on

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.

Why buy?

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).

Social Proof

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.

Lesson Learned

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?

About the author

Paul Steinbrueck

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.


  • Great post Paul. Ironically, Blow on these Embers is probably getting more publicity from the articles about how the SEO company behaved, then the SEO company actually did. It is a pretty good song. I think I'll share it and perhaps the OCC readers and others can help the video to truly go viral. Wouldn't that be cool?

      • That would be cool. The video going viral, I mean. The piano in the woods would be cool too. And with it raining so often in Florida, you would be would be really buff after a couple of months of moving it on a near daily basis.

  • Interesting. Yeah, as social media producers, we have to be on the lookout for shady practices. But I agree with Kurt, it sounds like the press it is getting is making up the difference.

    Side note: The title of the article is a bit misleading, it reads as if the video was removed because it is a Christian video, as opposed to it being removed because of the SEO black magic.

    • I'm not sure "misleading" is the right word. The title was written to create intrigue so when a person sees it they want to click and find out why the video was removed.

  • Hi Paul,

    Cool post. As a professional (SEO) Web Sales Copywriter, I say yes, yes…check into their reputation. If they are "on the level" they will have good content that ranks well in the organic search. If they advertise SEO Sales writer for the Web – but they cannot be found on the first page of Goggle or Bing for the words "web sales writer" then that alone should tell you that their "so called" SEO…isn't working for them…so HOW can it "work" for you?

  • I have had several battles with You Tube and the following is a series of videos that I used in this spiritual battle.
    I have fought each battle the same way and I have been able to eventually post all of my videos as I originally made them.

    A Message to the Forces of Evil in YouTube
    Spiritual battle Taking Place with YouTube Rejecting my Videos
    It's now in God's Hand
    Update on the Spiritual Battlle taking place 7-2013 to 9-24-2013 NWO thru YouTube
    My Message to YouTube
    Gods Branch abiding in the Vine, Binding, Rebuking & Slaying the NWO

  • I tend to agree with buschwc side note.

    "SEO company uses unethical methods to promote Christian video on YouTube" is a more honest title and will help readers understand the content of the article better.

  • I keep several Judeo-Christian videos at youtube and several other places. Daily Motion, Godtube, Vimeo, Metacafe just to name a few alternative sites. Traffic is less from these site and cannot provide advertising dollar returns. Link building and getting your message out is the reason for doing the video in the first place.

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