Here’s a sure sign online video is growing up: Spam has arrived.
Just the way consumers are deluged by junk email they never wanted, they are now running into clips on video-sharing sites that have nothing to do with what they searched for.
The simplest form of video spam occurs when users submit clips with misleading lists of keywords to describe them, such as using “Britney Spears” or “World Cup” to label videos that have nothing to do with the pop star or the soccer tournament. The spammers misrepresent their videos in the hope that the clips will be picked up in consumers’ video searches, which generally rely on keywords.
For example, a recent search on Google Inc.’s YouTube site using a string of names of popular videogame devices — “Playstation Xbox Nintendo PSP” — turned up a nine-minute promotional clip for Argentine tourism, steamy shots of fashion models, footage of a parade in Germany and an apparently pirated clip of a concert by the band Queen.