YouTube View-Count Scandal Grazes Beyonce and PSY Alike, Shows Viral isn't Always Viral

Categories: Fiesta!

With all that weight on something so easily manipulated, it's important to remember... well, just how much incentive there is for people to manipulate it. Not just major labels--like steroids in sports, it's the people who are barely breaking even who have the most to gain--and not just through outright forgery. VEVO's popularity as an ersatz radio probably has more to do with Adele's 365 million views for "Rolling in the Deep" than this well-shot video in which she does not even realize all that water is gay at the end (spoilers):

And while PSY and his 1.1 billion views were launched the kind-of-old-fashioned way, through word of mouth and your cousin's friend's Facebook, Eminem and Rihanna's fourth-place "Love the Way You Lie" has more in common with their old media successes than it does sixth-place "Charlie bit my finger - again !" The massive pop-culture figures the Evolution of Dance guy parodied in 2006 are now his direct competitors; web culture's low-budget phenomena and the major media conglomerates have converged on one easily fudged metric.

Now that we're observing YouTube views -- and PSY and Bieber's brief tussle for the top spot pushed them further into the spotlight than they've ever been -- we can't avoid changing them. So if last week's scandal was more about housekeeping than refresh-button skulduggery, it's still only a matter of time until we're trying out terrible Web 2.0 puns for the word "payola."

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