Last Updated on April 10, 2021 by Jason
Thanks to platforms like Twitch, online streaming has become incredibly popular and lucrative in terms of monetizing your channel. These days, anyone can start a Twitch channel, begin to upload live streams, and earn a decent amount of money from it. However, there are thousands of other people trying to achieve the same goals too, which means that getting your live streams noticed has never been more difficult.
However, this hasn’t put people off at least trying. There are some live streamers out there that only want to be famous and successful, and don’t really care about their community. This means that they will do whatever it takes to get to that level, even if it means breaking the rules.
A lot of them opt for fraudulent techniques like viewbotting, which jumpstarts their profile, and puts it in front of the competition. However, it’s definitely not the right way to do things, and we think that ruins it for everyone else.
Of course, if you don’t know too much about viewbotting, then you might not think that it sounds that harmful. However, it is, as big brands and small brands out there spending their money on real ads are wasting it completely, because those ads are never going to be seen by real people. The long and short of it is that they are falling victim to ad fraud.
The thing is, advertisers and marketing agencies are always looking for a new and improved way to target the younger generation. With millions out there using multiple social platforms every day, it can be really difficult to get your product in front of them, especially when they’re too busy trying to achieve their own goals.
These days, one of the most effective ways for advertisers to get their product in front of their target audience is online streaming. However, this is being combated by viewbotting, and increased fraud. This means that there’s no guarantee that this new way of marketing is going to last that long.
With this in mind, let’s talk a little bit about what viewbotting is, and how it affects streamers and marketers out there. Welcome to the dark side of the Internet, where people will do just about anything to become famous online.
What Does Viewbotting Mean?
Viewbotting describes a particular type of fraudulent activity that you can find on many streaming websites out there. It isn’t loyal to just one streaming website specifically, but Twitch is an easy target.
Twitch first got its start back in 2009, and since then it has increased exponentially in popularity. These days, it is easily one of the biggest online streaming platforms out there, which means that at any given time during the day, tens of thousands of gamers playing video games, while trying to beat their rivals for viewers and followers.
There are some streamers that have managed to become so popular that they amass hundreds of thousands of viewers and make an impressive amount of money. From playing the latest popular games, to goofing around outside and playing pranks on people, everyone has their own target audience and niche that they’re trying to connect with.
Twitch has a unique way of arranging live streams based on the game category that they fall into. This means that if you play Fortnite, you will be placed in the Fortnite gaming category, where like-minded people will be able to find your live streams.
Within gaming categories like this, streams are sorted by the most viewers to the least. That’s means that if you have a lot of viewers on your live streams at a given time, then you will be the first stream to get featured. To achieve this, of course you need a loyal community around your live streams, who enjoy watching you game every time.
However, what happens if you don’t have a lot of viewers or fans for your live streams? This is where viewbotting comes in, and why it was invented. Viewbotting allows streamers to borrow viewers for their stream, which can help boost their presence on Twitch.
When a lot of streamers first start out in the Twitch game, it can be very difficult for them to attract the attention of viewers, and subsequently gain followers. Imagine being at the bottom of a long list of streamers who have a lot more viewers on their content? You’ve got virtually no chance of getting to where they are.
Getting to the top of that list can seem almost impossible. However, with viewbotting, you can borrow 100, 200, or sometimes even 1000 viewers to watch your live streams. These fake viewers help your live stream rank better, which is going to greatly increase the chances of real viewers stumbling across it.
Ever since Twitch got its start back in 2009, viewbotting has been a popular technique for a lot of streamers to gain exposure quickly. In fact, some of the most popular streamers out there have been accused of viewbotting, but because there’s not a lot of evidence, it is difficult to know whether the accusations are accurate, or whether they have just been made by jealous streamers.
However, if a streamer does get caught viewbotting, then there is a good chance that they will get their stream banned, and subsequently lose all of their hard work. With the potential to earn a lot of money on your Twitch channel, this is a risk that a lot of streamers are willing to take.
So, what is so appealing about viewbotting? Anyone would love the idea of getting more followers and viewers on their live streams, but how does someone make money from their content if it’s not being seen by real people? As we mentioned above, viewbotting can help push streams up the ranks. Of course, if you are at the top of the list, then you are more likely to get a lot of viewers.
Literally nobody out there is making their way down to the bottom of the list to watch a stream. Also, the majority of streamers that are at the top of the list have a natural skill or talent, which means that they are going to get a lot of views on their streams. If you use fake viewers, you give your streams the chance of actually attracting real viewers.
The great news about getting more subscriptions on your channel is that every subscription is going to earn a streamer roughly $2.50, depending on the profit share. However, streamers can also make money in other ways, including donations that come from the viewers watching their live streams. These donations can be anything from just a dollar, to thousands of dollars, and of course they can make up a big chunk of their revenue.
When you use fake viewers for your live streams, you basically get to cheat the system and push your content into the limelight. There’s absolutely no point in waiting for your stream to take off for months on end, when you can just get hundreds of viewers straight away, right?
Because real users are required to make money from Twitch, making your channel look like it’s doing really well is a great way to gain even more interest.
How Does Viewbotting Work?
There are a lot of viewbotting services out there right now that promise their clients hundreds of viewers for their streams, in exchange for a relatively good rate. However, these fake viewers are nothing more than a simple bot that is going to ‘watch’ your live streams as a real user would.
They are also going to spam the chat section with automated messages. The majority of Twitch view bots run on a monthly subscription, based on how many fake viewers you’ve got watching your streams.
As you can see, they really don’t charge their clients a lot of money, and the reason is that they don’t have to put a lot of time and effort into their features, because they’re fake. Of course, while you might think that this sounds like a great deal, it’s not for those that are trying to grow their Twitch channel the right way.
It is taking away thousands of dollars from real companies offering a real service for your Twitch growth, as well as Twitch marketers in general.
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Why Viewbotting is Bad
We’ve spent a bit of time talking about what viewbotting actually is, and how it works. Remember, streamers use viewbotting to inflate their viewer count, so that their streams look more popular than they actually are.
Of course, you might not see anything wrong with this, but the reality is that it’s fraud, and it’s costing a lot of people the chance to do well. Let’s take a look at some other reasons why viewbotting is bad.
It Costs Marketers Money
One of the biggest issues around viewbotting is that real people out there who are trying to gain notoriety around their Twitch channel the right way get cheated out of success. When an company pays Twitch to display an ad for their product or service, or even a channel if they’ve got one, they won’t have any real eyes on their ads because they’re all fake.
This kind of fraud is known as ad fraud, and it can be found on other social networks as well, like Facebook and Google AdWords. Viewbotting on Twitch is very similar – fake viewers are costing companies out there a lot of money, which of course puts them off marketing their product or service on Twitch at all.
Twitch has come up with the Twitch Partner program, where streamers can choose to run ads that are shown on their viewer’s screens. This means that if 300 people are watching the live stream, then each user will be shown the ad. As a result, the streamer gets a commission from the advertising revenue that has been paid by the company to Twitch.
However, if the ad is being shown to bots on a live stream, then they aren’t going to go over and check out the product or service that is being marketed. This means that it’s a complete waste of time for the company to market that ad, yet the streamer still gets the revenue. What this means is that people who use a viewbot on Twitch can earn money from showing ads to bots.
Of course, this is the last thing that anyone wants, and it means that you’re earning money for not even having a following. Without a crackdown on this kind of behaviour, brands out there both big and small can end up losing millions a year to fake viewers.
Viewbotting Gives False Impressions
Another reason why viewbotting is bad is that it gives a false impression of a stream’s popularity. As we talked about earlier, streams at the top of the category list are the most popular streams for a certain reason.
It usually means that the streamer has spent months or even years growing their following, and for people who are looking for the next live stream to watch in their category, they trust that the top result is there because it has managed to gain a lot of credibility and social proof.
However, with viewbotting, the opposite is true. A streamer has managed to gain a high position in that particular category, simply by paying for its viewers.
This means that somebody with absolutely not talent or skill can somehow rise to the top and gain a lot of entertainment value. It’s kind of like paying for popularity. Of course, this method is directly taking advantage of how Twitch works, but it also puts off other streamers from putting in the right amount of effort.
When all of your rivals are cheating their way to the top, it can be really hard to maintain a high-quality stream. So, with all of the reasons why Twitch is bad, you are probably wanting to know what Twitch is actually doing about it.
The good news is that Twitch has already identified and prosecuted hundreds of people trying to become popular like this, and they have been working on their detection system for years, so it is getting better all the time. However, with this approach costing brands everywhere millions of dollars a year, is it actually illegal?
Is Viewbotting Illegal?
Unfortunately, viewbotting is currently not illegal, and right now is only considered a civil issue. However, there is always a chance that a streamer will get caught for wire fraud, but so far this hasn’t happened. This means that it’s all up to Twitch, and to their credit they have been working hard to combat it.
This means that they are banning users who make the most of a viewbotting service. They also target companies who are supplying people with this kind of engagement. Luckily, because Twitch is owned by Amazon, they have one of the best legal teams behind them who work really hard to make sure that justice is served.
Of course, there are still some viewbotting services out there these days, but the good news is that they are few and far between. Twitch continues to come out on top with lawsuits around this issue, which means that it’s surely going to put people off attempting it.
Is Twitch the Winner?
Currently, it appears that Twitch has gotten the situation around viewbotting under control. They have started targeting services that supply viewbots, and are winning lawsuits in court, which means that they are sending a strong message to people who are thinking about attempting this kind of growth on their live streams.
Of course, there is still the issue of private viewbotting services. What if there is a big provider out there that Twitch has no idea about yet? The thing about the companies that have been sued so far is that it was easy to find them on Google. However, there could be even bigger companies out there that are hiding on the dark side of the web, that are difficult to discover.
Online fraud is a big issue, which is why it’s so heartening to see Twitch doing something about it. If every company out there was this proactive, then we would be able to wipe out all types of online fraud within just a few years.
So, what do we want you to take away from this article? That ad fraud is a huge issue, and no matter what industry you are in, there are always going to be people who are trying to take advantage. We think that Twitch does a really good job combating issues like this, which sends a strong message for anyone who is thinking of doing it.
The truth of the matter is that there will always be a risk to a brand’s budget if they choose to advertise on platforms like Twitch. However, Twitch will also continue to detect viewbots, and fight them with any means possible.