The moderation challenge facing YouTube

Video Marketing is big business these days as companies try to use the visual media as a way to reach their audiences. Bandwidth gets cheaper and users don’t hesitate to jump from clip to clip. Even nonsense like “Fred goes swimming” is talked about in the playground and my son has tried to create his own “tribute to Fred” – be assured it didn’t make it off the camera!

So when I see ebooks being sold at dp about how to steal traffic from YouTube its cause for concern. Are my kids going to stumble across something unethical and start thinking that “if it’s at YouTube it must be ok” or “if everyone is doing it it must be ok”?

Copy videos and republish as your own
Just as Copyscape can identify copied text on a page YouTube needs tools to identify if a video has been published before and if it has to flag that video for moderation – and the oldest version is retained. It also needs to be smart enough to identify if the video is part of, or an amalgamation of other videos.

Hold many accounts and like each others videos
If Amazon can bring us software to show “If you liked this you’ll like that” surely the brains behind YouTube (ie Google) can give their moderators tools to show that this cluster of accounts are too tightly connected in what they “like”.

Hold many accounts and report the originals of the videos you have republished
This ties the previous two points together. If one account in a cluster reports a video that is a close match to a video from another account in the cluster then the second video should be marked for moderation also.

Publish videos on hot/viral topics
This is like “SEO 101” to grab the issue of the day and exploit it just like the tshirt vendors selling RIP Michael Jackson within hours of the singer’s death.

Where those videos are purely exploitative and offer no content or are purely to drive traffic to a site which then doesn’t deliver then YouTube needs to shut them down.

That means the guys with 220 tshirts are fine to brand their video but the guy who says “want to see what happens next” may not be. The moderators need to view the video in the context of other submissions and the site it is pointing to. A big job? you bet but it’s all part and parcel of running a video sharing site.

Bad Sites a video can point to

  1. A parked domain… if its parked within x months of the video being submitted then the video is suspect.
  2. MFA Made for Adsense sites. These stick out like sore thumbs and are exploiting another arm of the Google stable – or some other group of advertisers. If the video isn’t quality and the site is MFA then there is an obvious problem.
  3. CPA Cost Per Action exploit sites. Another site that is clearly all wrong to those in the know but users still go to sites, see that they can’t access without filling out a form and they do it! There is a world of difference between a member only site and one that needs you to fill in an offer. Yes, the CPA exploit sites can be very clever but they don’t deliver. You end up somewhere else altogether and instead of complaining to the CPA firm the user disappears. The site owner gets richer and the advertiser wonders where all the ad spend is going.

Infractions?
vBulletin has given the moderators on the forums running it’s software a great tool called Infractions. You accrue infractions (which usually expire over time) for breaking forum rules. Get X points and you are temporarily banned.

If users are relying on the age of their account to save them from a ban then the moderators need to have some sort of counter or infraction system so that new users and old are treated equally. If anything old users suffer because they have had longer to earn infractions.

The Harsh Reality is that creating quality, unique content is really hard and most of us just don’t have what it takes. That’s why people copy, cheat and steal. Its not cool and its not clever. Perhaps if they used tools like XtraNormal they could create clever, witty content of their own. Then again, that takes initiative and creativity…

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  1. May 19, 2010

    Over at The Paepae there’s a review of one of these ebooks – but this isn’t sold by semi-anonymous users at dp but by property investment educators who have abandoned the “counter cyclical” philosophies and jumped ship.

    Review: An odious little volume

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