Shady Secrets of Going Viral on YouTube

Remember when we wrote jokingly about how to “Master Viral Video Advertising in 3 Easy Steps,” concluding that there wasn’t any such simple formula?
Well, a Stanford graduate student named Dan Ackerman Greenberg has a different take, but it’s not pretty. In a guest article for TechCrunch Ackerman Greenberg claims to have “achieved” over 20 million views on YouTube for his unnamed clients, including a Hollywood movie studio, over the last three months. But his techniques include writing fake sensational titles and creating controversy by having arguments in the comments of a video using multiple YouTube accounts.
The post has attracted an unusually large number of comments, Diggs, and most likely page views — in what many commenters grudgingly recognize as fulfillment of Ackerman Greenberg’s premise. We’ve written before about how permissive YouTube has been about its users’ methods of generating video views — which also benefit the advertising-driven site. It would be interesting to see what YouTube can and will do to prevent subversive gaming tactics like Ackerman Greenberg’s.