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Gaming the Ratings, Net Style

The Personal Democracy Forum’s techPresident site reports convincingly in “YouTube Gets Pwned: Obama’s Numbers Don’t Add Up” that the viewership numbers for an Obama campaign video are being inflated by people gaming the system.

It was inevitable, and there’s precedent in the analog media world. Newspaper circulation numbers have been fraudulently hyped, for example.

The inevitability of this kind of thing stems from the fact that it can be done. And what can be done will be, despite violating the site’s terms of service.

The real issue is whether it matters. It does, if people start trusting the YouTube numbers as indicators of anything serious. It does, if people focus on the questions that don’t matter and not the ones, such as candidates’ actual positions and intentions, that do.

Good for techPresident for spotting this anomaly, for committing actual journalism while the traditional media organizations slept.

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