YouTube has become an increasingly popular platform for eager souls seeking to fulfill their dreams. It could be fortune, fame, or even just earning a living doing something you love. The allure of getting everything you want, without having to slave away behind a desk, is hard to resist.
Anyone who tries to set up a YouTube channel from scratch will quickly discover that it isn’t as easy as it may first appear. Your shortcut to fame and fortune may actually end up being a scramble through dense forest while pursued by man-eating lions.
Having Set up Your Channel
You’ve spent hours creating gripping content, and are very disappointed to see that your first video has only received a couple of likes from friends and family. Your channel still only has two subscribers – one of which is your grandmother – and your ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme has yet to even get off the ground.
Many will give up in the first month or so after starting their channel. Those that don’t, though, may consider other shortcuts to speed up the whole process. This is where the possibility of buying views and subscribers may be considered.
So, How Does Buying Views and Subscribers Actually Work?
There are many different sites out there providing a range of packages catering to YouTubers who want to buy their way to success. Sites such as ‘Get Fans’ assure prospective buyers that, not only is the practice safe but that “it is 100% legal and stands in line with YouTube’s strict rules and terms.” They also claim that “the truth is, almost everyone uses it” and cite that ‘everyone’ includes “actors, successful artists, gamers, and so on.”
Prices vary, and at a cursory glance 1,000 subscribers can cost anything from $8-92. Buying viewers is slightly kinder on your bank balance, but can still run to around $19 per 1,000 views. ‘Real views’ are at the higher end of that scale, and ‘bots’ at the lower end. If you have cash in the bank and this still sounds appealing, let’s look at some of the reasons why other YouTubers have taken that plunge.
The Perceived Advantages
On the surface, there are several reasons why buying subscribers/views might look tempting. The more views you get, the more likely that YouTube’s algorithms will push your video/channel to the next level. If this happens, your content will likely reach a larger audience. Buying views also helps you to achieve a higher ranking, potentially making your channel more lucrative.
A common draw is the potential for speeding up your channel’s growth, giving you an edge over the countless other YouTube hopefuls who share your goals and dreams.
There’s no question that having more people view and subscribe to your channel will definitely increase your social proof. This, in turn, will make your channel appear far more popular/appealing to potential subscribers than it really is – for a time at least.
The Hidden Disadvantages
What Is/Isn’t Allowed
While sites like ‘Get Fans’ and ‘BUTV’ may promise the earth, claiming adamantly to be legitimate, and to work within YouTube’s Fair Use Policy, that is a far cry from the truth.
YouTube clearly states that they don’t “allow anything that artificially increases the number of views, likes, comments, or other metric either through the use of automatic systems or by serving up videos to unsuspecting viewers.” And that “Any method that violates (YouTube’s) policies may result in content removal or a channel takedown, whether it’s an action taken by you or someone you’ve hired.”
Also, YouTube’s Community Guidelines strike basics state that “in some cases, a single case of severe abuse will result in channel termination without warning.” This means that all of that carefully crafted content which you’ve spent weeks – or even years – compiling, could be gone. Also gone, would be all of your organic subscribers, views, likes, and comments, in little more than the push of a button at YouTube HQ.
The Reality of Buying Spam Subscribers
Even if you do decide to take the gamble and buy yourself some subscribers, YouTube makes it clear that ‘spam subscribers’ (those gained through artificial means, such as purchasing through a third-party service) will be automatically removed. They won’t count towards your total number of subscribers and also won’t be shown on your subscriber list. A good proportion of the money you’ve invested in buying your channel an advantage would, therefore, count towards nothing at all. You may as well just take half of your budget and throw it into a big black hole. The sites providing these ‘subscribers’ don’t care whether or not their bots are removed.
If you want to see exactly how this works first hand, check out this video by David Vlas ‘Buying 100,000 YouTube Subscribers’ where he demonstrates just how easy it is to buy subscribers, and how ineffective and potentially damaging doing so is in the long-term. The lesson to be learned here is that YouTube is always on the ball. They will inevitably work out what you are doing to cheat the system.
Does Sub for Sub Really Work?
Another practice which YouTube hopefuls can be drawn into, is spamming other, more successful, channels with subscribe requests, and promising to subscribe back to anyone who takes the bait. This rarely produces results for several reasons. Most of these requests are either filtered out by YouTube, or by the channel itself, only making it as far as the channel’s spam box.
In the unlikely event somebody takes you up on a sub for sub request, they’re doing so only because they want you to subscribe to their channel. They aren’t interested in your content. They won’t watch your videos. And inactive subscribers are worth little more than bragging rights to your friends. They won’t have any effect at all on YouTube’s algorithms in the long run. It’s a big waste of time better spent on organically growing your channel, and perfecting your content to appeal to a genuine audience. YouTube and Video Marketing Consultant, Derral Eves, covers this particular YouTube trap well in his video ‘Does Sub for Sub on YouTube Actually Work?’
What About Buying Views Then?
Buying views is a different creature entirely. Unlike subscribers, when you buy views they actually do have a positive effect on YouTube’s algorithm. For that single video it will, to all intents and purposes, look like you have some quality content and an interested audience – ‘single’ being the key word here. Views bought for a single video don’t follow on to the next. The only reason the person/bot is viewing your content is because you’ve paid them to do so.
The initial boost may look very appealing, but buying views has the potential to become a lifelong, bank-breaking addiction. Buying views for your first video looks great, but when your second video goes live and gets next to no interest, it’s going to look to YouTube like you’ve got a poor-quality video by comparison.
Buying views may be cheaper than buying subscribers, but if 1,000 views cost $19 on a single video, just imagine how that will add up as you release more and more content. Jan Faβbender explains this slippery slope very well in his video ‘Should I Buy Subscribers on YouTube? Pros and Cons,’ for the popular ‘Tubics’ channel, together with offering some, far more recommended, alternatives.
Giveaways – The Grey Area
The last trap I’m going to cover in this article is ‘giveaways’ – holding contests or offering rewards in return for subscribes, likes, views, shares, or comments. This is very much a grey area, as giveaways are a valuable marketing tool. There is no doubt, though, that the practice can be misused to falsely elevate stats.
‘Gleam,’ a site dedicated to helping users manage their contests, made it onto YouTube’s blacklist after it became apparent that the services they offered went firmly against YouTube’s Fair Use Policy. It’s worth being very wary of which sites/services you use when growing your channel. VidIQ offers a YouTube certified audience development and management suite, and their video ‘How to ‘Buy’ YouTube Subscribers To ‘Grow’ Your Channel’ covers the grey area of ‘giveaways,’ as well as much of what is mentioned above.
Conclusion – So, What Should I Do Then?
By this point, I hope you’ve realized that the answer to the question posed by this article “Is it Okay to Buy YouTube Subscribers or Views?” is a resounding “No!”
Risk to your channel’s integrity, personal/business reputation, and hard-earned content aside, buying subscribers and views is simply an ineffectual waste of time, and money; both of which would be better spent researching how to organically market your channel to a genuine audience.
There are many videos and sites/services which genuinely comply with YouTube’s strict policies, and will help you locate an authentic audience; who are legitimately interested in your content. If you check out some of the videos above, you’ll see that these channels are not only popular, but they also offer tutorials/services, etc. which can help to get you started down the right path to success. These are, by no means, the only useful sources out there, and even certified suites like VidIQ are open to abuse, if not used responsibly.
Basically, the ball is in your court. I can’t stop you from choosing to ‘buy your way to fame,’ but hopefully, I’ve said enough here to convince you that in this case a short-term gain is most definitely going to be followed by a long-term loss.