This is going to sound very Big Brother-esque, but YouTube sort of blew it when they gave people power. By which I mean the ability to flag comments left by users under any given video.
Spam on YouTube has a very loose definition, yet it undeniably plays a huge part in shaping how a comments section will pan out. YouTube explains the process of flagging a comment in their spam help guidelines:
“If you notice somebody leaving a spammy comment on a video, you can mark it as spam.”
Again, “spammy” isn’t necessarily the best guideline, especially as anyone can flag anything as spam, warranted or not. YouTube attempts to better define spam in the “What does the ‘Mark as Spam’ feature do?” section of their help page:
“Spam is content and/or correspondences that cause a negative user experience by making it difficult to find more relevant and substantive material.”
With that, however, would someone promoting their own related channel in the comments section be considered spam? By YouTube’s guidelines, if said user was offering relevant material through his or her channel, technically it wouldn’t be spam.
But of course, that’s not how things always play out on YouTube. Roll through any comments section on YouTube and you’ll see that it’s the Wild West out there. So, with that in mind, NMR is here to clear the air about what is spam with a few profanity-laced examples.
To point out how one should not act when trying to avoid being marked as spam, I give you the following examples of massively confused individuals.
No-brainer: don’t be this guy and you won’t get marked as spam. Moving on.
Also, don’t tell anyone to click on, buy or visit anything in the comments section. Comments aren’t there as a free marketing tool.
Now for the grey areas of spam, take this gentleman’s request for example:
While cordial, well-thought-out and humble, this is still very much spam. In no way is this guy facilitating a conversation or adding any relevant thoughts to the discussion.
The bottom line: never use the comments section to shamelessly promote yourself. Many argue that if someone starts an intelligent conversation in the comments that eventually leads to the exchange of channels, then that’s okay. However, rarely does this happen, and even when it does it could technically still be considered spam.
YouTube creators wanting to promote their channels have Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and word of mouth; let’s not drag the comments section into our marketing as well.