YouTube began rolling out Google+ Comments to videos last week, and the response thus far has been pretty negative.
Video creators and viewers alike have voiced their distaste, with some even going as far to disable comments.
Lately, a video titled “Google+ Astroturfing Exposed” has been floating around (NSFW):
Created by AtheneWins, a YouTube partner with nearly 700,000 subscribers, he claims Google is gaming YouTube by surfacing positive comments about Google+ to the top.
Athene lays out his case by referring to a positive Google+ comment left by just what so happened to be a Google marketing employee.
He also claims views were frozen on viral video “My Thoughts on Google+” (also NSFW), which now has almost one million views:
Now, someone not disclosing they’re an employee of a company while talking positive about one of its products, is nothing new.
It’d be a lot like if I worked at Five Guys, didn’t list it on my social media profiles, and commented on a Facebook post about how amazingly delicious their burgers are.
To test Athene’s claims of Google gaming YouTube, I searched for “youtube comments,” and filtered them by this week.
Making sure the sorting for comments was set to “Top Comments,” here’s a small sampling of what I saw:
If Google is surfacing positive comments about Google+ to the top, surely there would be some comments of the sort on these videos, right? Then again, maybe Google is clever enough to know that doing such a thing on videos talking negative about the new comments, would set off false alarms.
From videos by my subscriptions to videos posted in our Social Video section, I failed to see any top comments talking positively about Google+.
There’s just not enough evidence at the moment to definitively prove Google is in fact gaming YouTube in such a way. Is it possible? Sure, but a comment here and there, whether by an employee or not, is not enough to be considered proof.
Regarding YouTube views being frozen on videos talking negatively about Google+, the video Athen mentioned has received, according to its counter, over 250,000 more views in two days. If views are in fact “getting updated but with artificially low increments,” such a jump in views would be very unlikely.
YouTube’s view count update frequency has been known to vary dramatically, and here’s an excerpt:
On an ongoing basis, statistics for a video are typically updated every 30 minutes to two hours. However, updates may occur less frequently under heavy server loads or for videos that are viewed very infrequently.
How do you feel about the new YouTube comments, and deeper Google+ integration?