Video spam. Who would have guessed?

You can just scroll down this page to see my predictions for 2007. Pay particular attention to number 8.
Written by Richard Stiennon, Contributor on

You can just scroll down this page to see my predictions for 2007. Pay particular attention to number 8. 

8. YouTube abuse threatens site.  Like network news, email, and IM before it, the new popular service, video sharing, will succumb to spammers who post ads, ad backed videos, and stealth marketing exploits, ruining the experience for everybody.

Now get yourself a copy of yesterday's Wall Street Journal and read Kevin Delaney's coverage of YouTube spam. Surprise, Surprise. My apologies, WSJ is a subscription service. I can't link to the article, but a few excerpts will help:

Video spammers are driven by hopes of getting free advertising, revenue or just plain notoriety by foisting their videos on unsuspecting viewers. They are following consumers to video sites just as they followed them to Web-search engines, social-networking sites and cellphones. "Like advertisers, the spammers recognize there are a lot of people congregating and it's a great way to reach them," says Keith Richman, chief executive of the video site Break.com.

YouTube denies that it is a problem but several other video sites acknowledge their concerns.  

"Without a doubt, we've noticed an increase in the past six months," says Tim Tuttle, a vice president at Time Warner Inc.'s AOL Video and a co-founder of the Truveo video search engine AOL acquired. 


"We're certainly taking it quite seriously," says Suranga Chandratillake, founder and chief technology officer of the video-search start-up Blinkx. He says that there was a surge of spam in January and February but that video sites are fighting it more effectively now.

This is the first phase of video spam, misleading tags. Now watch for the second phase, misleading videos. They will seem like home videos but they link to pay sites, and malware sites, and you will not be able to find the "good" content of kids lighting themselves on fire or teenagers doing booty dancing in their rooms, the very foundation of YouTube's success. 

And now, for your viewing pleasure, a YouTube video on YouTube comment spam. 


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