How to Cheat on YouTube

nalts videos on highest rated comedy page of youtubeIn today’s YouTube “highest rated comedy videos of the day,” my videos represent spots 5, 6 and 8. YouTube, as you probably know, represents the vast majority of online viewing. So does this mean I produced the funniest videos on the planet this weekend? Of course not.

I have an advantage because I have a loyal following of “subscribers” that watch my videos and rate them highly — presumably because we share a sense of humor. When they rate the video highly, it propels into the “top rated” comedy page where it sits besides videos that are often far funnier (this Barats & Bereta video “Olympian” is a good example). But sometimes not- there are some YouTubers that have been around since the beginning and may not be hysterical but have fans that have basically developed parasocial relationships with them over time.

While on the “best” or “most watched” sections, the videos pick up secondary audiences, and sometimes get lifted and embedded on other sites (for a tertiary audience). So this has a resulting impact on total views.

Naturally, funnier videos exist buried on YouTube, where maybe 60-100K videos are posted each day. You might have posted one. Sorry you aren’t landing on these pages, but there’s hope.

The most important variable to getting seen on YouTube is the channel and the base of loyal subscribers. I could upload these same videos to my alias accounts and get virtually no views.

So how do you build a channel of loyal subscribers? Patience, decent videos, active participation in the community (reply, watch, collaborate) and hopefully get featured on YouTube’s coveted homepage. My lil’ YouTube career took off with Viral Video Genius and Farting in Public, both of which were featured on the YouTube homepage (thanks, editors).

In this video, titled “How I Cheat YouTube,” I describe some of the things creators (and marketers) can do to help get their videos viewed. Parenthetically, this video is the #1 highest rated “how to” video though I launched it just yesterday. Again, thanks subscribers!

What this raises is something interesting… the value of a channel, and more importantly the value of quality (not just quantity) of loyal subscribers. Marketers will have trouble developing this on their own, and that’s where creators can help (if it’s done tastefully). It’s why I’m reluctant to “sell out” my channel to any advertiser, and why I want to ensure my product-placement or consumer-generated ads are funny. I’ve got two or three on ice right now because I haven’t yet made them effective and entertaining.

YouTube is really the only place you can find this phenomenon online, but it’s not unlike the increased cost of an ad in a more popular television show.

Anyway, this blog is really directed at passionate creators and enthusiastic marketers. But I know some of my loyal viewers read and comment. Thanks so much, gang. Without you I’d be living in obscurity and making my reluctant neighbors watch my videos.

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

25 thoughts on “How to Cheat on YouTube”

  1. I agree getting top rated by your subscribers is the first step, but getting featured will really propel it. I spent the last six months creating “puppy photo everyday”. I uploaded it Thursday using TubeMogul, Friday it had 250 views, but Saturday it got over 150,000 after being featured. I know, I know it’s a pet video; but it wasn’t an accident.

    Nalts rocks!

    Btw I met the “LonelyGirl15 crew” and “Hope is emo” at the Nevada City Film fest yesterday. They were pretty cool.

  2. Nalts,
    How do you handle all the friend requests, bulletins, and video responses you get on YouTube? Do you just accept them all or do you have some criteria?

  3. Clearly, when it’s definitely not one of your better videos (by your admission in the video its self – drinking pancake batter?), getting on the top rated comedy list is a mark of how willing your subscriber base is to support you. Quality subscribers count for something without a doubt.

    It kills me that getting featured is something of a holy grail on YouTube. No one seems to know how to get featured or even what criteria is used.

    Even if you send your video to the youtube editors (as described in youtube’s own FAQs) you don’t get so much as an automated response to let you know that your video will be considered for deletion before a human sees it and well before its fed into the random, featured video of the day algorithm.

    The best you can do is hope that one of your subscribers is picked as a guest feature video editor – and then you have to be in their top ten favorites to even get a look in.

    Then there’s the issue of how are guest editors selected? That’s a whole other rant. I’ll stop now.

  4. Got featured this weekend through guest editor ChristopherMast (thanks again, Chris). It was cool to get 50,000 views in a weekend (I usually get 50 the whole week), but the friend requests, comments, haters, spammers and video responses jammed up my yahoo email account with the notifications. Jammed it bad. It took hours just to delete them. There’s no way Kevin could have time enough in the day to look at all his mail or just his comments and still view ten percent of the videos he’s subscribed to. It’s not mathematically possible. So, Kevin, how DO you prioritize? So far…Revver is STILL much much much easier to make money on. Please pardon my grammar. My eyeballs’ve got delete button burn.

  5. WordPress hiccup: DeQueued.I know your kids read your Youtube comments for you, Kevin, but you hired outside help to watch all the videos you’re subscribed to, didn’t you!? Fess up.

  6. I can barely view the group I’ve subscribed to… Keeping up with the community takes a lot of energy sometimes (not that it’s bad). I can’t imagine how Kevin keep up.

    MarquisDeJolie – My inbox on YouTube is crammed with “feature my video” messages.

  7. my youtube videos are on pace for 1.3 million hits per year,and i’ve never had a featured video.They obviously arent gonna share revenue with the community anytime soon,if ever,so im just using youtube for advertising,why not ? theyre using me!

  8. I think getting featured in a category can give you 1,000x and getting featured on the main page will get you another 1,000x multiple. So tell my how something like “I Pimped My Dog” gets on the main page? It’s a mystery to me…

  9. I had an interesting experience this weekend. On Friday I uploaded a video for the “Battle of the MomStars” being run by thebennyzone. There were 25 or 30 other videos. On Saturday I woke up and I had like, 800 views overnight, which NEVER happens to me. The view count continued to go up throught the day yesterday and today, but it looks like it ‘s leveled of at 1,800. I”ve never gotten that kind of views so incredibly fast on a video that features only my son (and not you, for instance). I was affraid someone had put one of those counters on it to make it keep refreshing, but tonight I discovered it’s been featured on something called IMVITE (which has never happened to me before) here’s the link:

    http://imvite.com/stream.php?search=%22Shameless%22&…

    I don’t know if that link will work or not. But my guess is that this is responsible for the huge number of votes I got (in comparison with the other moms, who mostly didn’t get more than 250.

    unless this is a website that no one goes to. then i’m back to square on.

    I also got spamed in a major way by kelley and all her alter ego usernames, and she was commanding all stickam room attendies to go vote for me.I think there will be some adjustment in the voting to reflect that, she apparently regards me as the kind of videomaker that needs to be pinped in the way she pinmped you. scary and exhilerating at the same time.

    Okay I’ll shut up now.

  10. I had an interesting experience this weekend. On Friday I uploaded a video for the “Battle of the MomStars” being run by thebennyzone. There were 25 or 30 other videos. On Saturday I woke up and I had like, 800 views overnight, which NEVER happens to me. The view count continued to go up throught the day yesterday and today, but it looks like it ‘s leveled of at 1,800. I”ve never gotten that kind of views so incredibly fast on a video that features only my son (and not you, for instance). I was affraid someone had put one of those counters on it to make it keep refreshing, but tonight I discovered it’s been featured on something called IMVITE (which has never happened to me before) here’s the link:

    http://imvite.com/stream.php?search=%22Shameless%22&…

    I don’t know if that link will work or not. But my guess is that this is responsible for the huge number of votes I got (in comparison with the other moms, who mostly didn’t get more than 250.

    unless this is a website that no one goes to. then i’m back to square on.

    I also got spamed in a major way by kelley and all her alter ego usernames, and she was commanding all stickam room attendies to go vote for me.I think there will be some adjustment in the voting to reflect that, she apparently regards me as the kind of videomaker that needs to be pinped in the way she pinmped you. scary and exhilerating at the same time.

    Okay I’ll shut up now.

  11. Just to be clear, I’m totally psyched that kelley likes my videos enough to pimp them so much. It gives me the warm fuzzies.

  12. marquisdejolie – I had to unsubscribe from a bunch of people because:

    1. I couldn’t keep up especially, since nalts puts out 5 videos a day – j/k 😉

    2. I Decided, except for the rare occasion, that I would no longer subscribe to people who do not subscribe to me ;p

    3. I Unsubscribed from people who do not watch my videos, answer my messages or comments on occasion.

    So, what is left? Not much in terms of revenue or hits or subscribers. In the past year and a half I have been on youtube, and the 100+ videos, I’m still pretty much at square one with my subscriber base, however, very happy with my loyal viewers and the tinney tiny community I stared with, wish to support, and feel I belong to.

    There are other things I want to pursue and this youtube thing takes more time than I can afford. Besides, I’m one of those people not in it for the youtube bucks or hits. I really don’t want to work for youtube – least not for the wages they are currently paying. I’m looking for other outlets, outlets youtube seems unwilling to support. I also think they have the wrong attitude, ‘Why marry the cow when she is giving the milk for free?’ I’m also very poor at begging. As part of the google family that spouts “do no evil,” youtube, for the most part, seems contrary. I’m full, and that’s a sign to start looking for the next big underground adventure. Which is, zoom in and focus, like minds joining interwebnets gated communities. And these little platforms are sprouting up everywhere, generating ideas and starting to produce some revenue 🙂

  13. “What this raises is something interesting… the value of a channel, and more importantly the value of quality (not just quantity) of loyal subscribers”.

    Yes yes yes. Agreed.

    “Marketers will have trouble developing this on their own, and that’s where creators can help (if it’s done tastefully).”

    Why would marketers have trouble developing this on their own? Why can’t a marketing firm come up with a concept that works in promoting a product or company through online video? It is because they still don’t take the space seriously? Wouldn’t that in turn mean that the first company that does it, and does it effectively, (meaning the campaign goes viral) is sitting on a potential goldmine?

  14. Marquis- congrats on the homepage. You and Mast are two of my favs, so I’m psyched to see he pimped you. Yeah- I turn off that e-mail notification. You can get a nice “digest” sent to your box that summarizes the day.

  15. Sukatra- your note cracks me up. BTW- sometimes I feature a video on my channel page, where it can quickly get a few hundred or thousands of views. I rarely tell people that I’m doing this, which leaves them as puzzled as you were. So maybe someone did that for you.

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