Google's YouTube clamps down on ‘fake views’
YouTube, Google's video-sharing website, has launched a crackdown on people manipulating the "view" counts on videos clips, potentially misleading viewers as to their popularity.
Google said it was cracking down on certain tactics used to increase the number of people who view a video, like purchasing views from a third-party website or using deceptive layouts to trick viewers into playing a video.
In an official blog post on Tuesday, Google said: "Since views are so important, it's no surprise that an ecosystem of businesses has evolved around artificially helping creators get YouTube views, likes, and subscribers."
The technology giant added that these strategies undermined the original purpose of YouTube.
"YouTube isn't just a place for videos, it's a place for meaningful human interaction. When some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts, they're not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they're undermining one of YouTube's most important and unique qualities," Google said.
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Google's move is part of charm offensive towards advertisers that use YouTube. Analysts told CNBC that advertising revenue was increasingly important for YouTube, and that fraudulent views hurt its credibility.
"Ever since people have started selling ads on the Internet, other people have tried to game the system," Ian Maude, an online media analyst at Enders Analysis, told CNBC. "A small number of advertisers have complained about click fraud on Google and other search engines, and are basically paying for ads which are not being viewed by legitimate users."
The internet advertising market is growing rapidly. Global spending on digital adverting grew 13 percent in 2013 to $117.6 billion, according to research company e-Marketer.
(Read more: Internet ad spend up 32% as old media takes a hit)
Online video ad spend surged 43.5 percent in 2013 to $4.1 billion, from $2.9 billion in 2012.
Google is keen to ride this move of advertisers to the Internet, and auditing video views is a way to attract brands.
"For the last couple of years, Google has focused on driving user growth. It was only last year that they started to focus on monetization (for YouTube)," Daniel Knapp, director of advertising research at IHS, told CNBC in a phone interview.
"Auditing video is a move towards standardization, to communicate to advertisers that YouTube is a reliable platform and has reliable data similar to audiences on television. It is only through such moves that it can convince big TV advertisers to spend more on digital video advertising," Knapp added.
(Read more: Google's new advert charge: Pay what they see)
YouTube has previously warned users about inflating video views. Under its usage terms, it forbids paying for views from third-party websites, tricking users into clicking on a video and redirecting users to a new page to view the video.
—By CNBC's Arjun Kharpal: Follow him on Twitter @ArjunKharpal