A new report claims that Scooter Braun, the manager of Justin Bieber and Psy, may have bought 200 million YouTube views for his clients.
An unidentified source provided Vocativ.com with a screen shot of a person purported to be Braun in a Skype call with a person named “Kenzo.”
The screenshot showed Braun allegedly stating, “We do not want any traces or any low-quality views that can get us in trouble."
A second screenshot reportedly showed Braun sending a $150,000 PayPal payment to an unidentified email address.
“[The screenshots] originate from a worker who works at Rantic in the YouTube views/Facebook Likes department," the source told Vocativ.com. "They took down their site & their services as soon as a hacker from 4chan went into their database and stole their images/data.”
The anonymous founder of BuyViewsReview.com, which lists companies that sell YouTube views, explained how fake YouTube views work: “Companies are not only trying to top one another, but also trying to stay one step ahead of YouTube. The bots watch other videos (not just the client’s video), they like, dislike and comment. They even use proxies/TOR to create a unique identity for each individual bot that’s very hard to detect."
"Martin V," who created the website 500Views.com, added, “You can make upwards of $1,000 day by selling views... It’s a very dog-eat-dog competition out there.”
The mysterious “Kenzo,” who owns the website YTview.com, was asked by Vocativ.com if Braun was a client, and reportedly replied with a smiley face and a "yes."
However, Kenzo added, “I cannot disclose detail our customer data. That would be against our policy.”
The original unidentified source of this story later said, “The whole YouTube industry has been scamming billions from advertisers with fake views. I’m going to give you my name. I don’t even care anymore those bastards can die in hell. Brad."
While this may sound very cloak and dagger to most people, in 2012, YouTube conducted an audit of its video channels and cut 2 billion fake views from record company sites such as Universal Music Group and Sony, reported The Huffington Post.
Those 2 billion cuts affected the number of YouTube views for singers such as Rhianna, Beyonce and Justin Bieber.
"This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our view count policy," YouTube said in a statement at the time.