If you’ve ever wondered how some videos get a massive amount of attention and views on YouTube, you’re not alone. It can seem suspicious. In the majority of cases, there’s nothing more to it. However, sometimes channels use bots to increase their views and subscriber counts.

What are YouTube bots?

You might ask yourself: What are YouTube Bots? Well, in essence, they’re code — not physical — that crawl (searches) YouTube and can do things like subscribe, increase views, and comment on videos. Creators can make them do pretty much all the things they would want their followers to do. Often, they’re used to pump up the views on videos and accounts to increase its ranking in the YouTube algorithm, which then leads to organic views.

The types of bots on YouTube

Because they fall into a few different categories of bots and concepts, we can wax philosophically about it. And for every different attribute of Youtube, we can define an aspect that a bot can exploit.

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View bots

View Bots are bots that artificially increase views. Since YouTube capitalizes on views, and creators get paid based on attention, this is one of the top bots used. Since repeatedly hitting the refresh button on a video won’t increase the “view count,” this bot helps people boost their views artificially. The YouTube algorithm works to try and determine how each view is.

Of course, hitting refresh on a website repeatedly will increase the “view” count, but the algorithm works to try and determine how legitimate those views are. It also tracks users based on views, so a user that only refreshes a video constantly can be isolated and deleted. Youtube can also detect IP addresses, so refreshing won’t work in the long term. Bots can sometimes negate the algorithm and get away with increasing a video’s views.

Another caveat: Those views that can potentially skew the system can also potentially skew the audience that sees the video. If you have an influx of users from a foreign country, that will make your video trend in that country, rather than where you may want it to trend. So, those who buy bots for that purpose could change the placement of your video.

Comment bots

Bots also can leave comments. We’re sure you’ve seen comments left by bots all over YouTube. Typically, these comments have abysmal grammar and link to an outside website. However, sometimes they link to another YouTube channel or video.

While most comment bots are quite obvious, clearly commenting for the purpose of advertising, some more sophisticated bots can lead to some harmful destinations. Youtube does its best to check these because they don’t want people using bots to artificially increase their videos’ engagement levels. However, sometimes these bots can sneak through the cracks in YouTube’s system. Thankfully, creators can delete the comments on their videos. However, when their comment section is flooded with bots, it can be too much to censor entirely.

Subscriber bots

YouTube subscriber bots

Subscriber bots are bots that subscribe to your channel and bump up your sub count. A higher subscriber count is beneficial for status and authority over other creators, but it also can become problematic in several ways. Because the algorithm crawls your page, content and even the types of people that like your content, it can mix your content in with things that you possibly might not want. Using a subscriber bot can also be dangerous for your content because the real people who truly watch the video won’t find it due to the fake people who don’t watch it influencing who sees it, which is more people who won’t watch it.

What happens if you use bots on YouTube?

Bots aren’t kosher under the YouTube Terms of service. So, if you’re found using bots, it’s highly likely YouTube will take action against you. Using bots can get your account banned. YouTube is always on the lookout for suspicious activity that doesn’t seem organic. So, if they find that you’re using bots, they will ban your account. However, they will only do this if there’s a clear indication that you bought the views for yourself.

There is such a thing as buying “legitimate” bots, which uses AdWords to dive into PPC marketing. This creates ads that advertise people to go to your video. However, this is different than the bots we discussed here.

What should you do?

Using bots can get your account banned, and YouTube has bot hunters that look for suspicious activity that doesn’t seem organic. We will always recommend that you avoid using bots at all costs. Creating good, consistent content will always be better than buying fake views and engagement. Not only do you grow a real community, you also get real feedback on your videos. You also don’t run the risk of ruining your reputation on the platform.

There are many ways you can grow your community online. You don’t need to turn to robots.