It’s hard to get more viewers on Twitch.
So hard, in fact, that some streamers resort to cheating. Some Twitch streamers try to falsely overinflate their viewership numbers in a desperate attempt to attract attention and grow their channel.
But what is view-botting, why is it wrong, and how can you tell if Twitch viewers are bots?
By the end of this article, you’ll know how to recognize Twitch viewer bots and what to do about it.
What is view-botting?
In this section, I will explain what view-botting is.
View-botting means that a streamer hires or buys fake viewers to inflate the number of his viewers. Buying viewers in this way gives the impression that the streamer is more popular than they are, which increases the likelihood that other viewers and potential sponsors will watch their channel.
The logic behind overinflating viewing numbers with bot views is simple: viewers are likelier to watch a stream with many viewers. If they see that a channel has thousands of viewers, they do not have to watch that channel to know it’s worth their time. The number of viewers is reason enough to jump in and watch: This is social validation. Social validation is when we use supposedly positive social signals as a shortcut to make decisions.
Social validation is a powerful tool to gain more viewers. And that’s what using bots does for a streamer. It gives the stream fake social validation.
We use social validation to make decisions in every aspect of our lives. When was the last time you bought a product on Amazon without reading the user reviews? Probably never. I always look at the reviews when I buy a product on Amazon. And I usually buy the product with the most five-star reviews.
On Twitch, it’s the same: if you have one stream with 10 views and another stream with 10,000 views, you’ll naturally assume that the stream with the 10,000 views is of higher quality.
That’s why streamers who use view bots inflate the number of viewers on their channel.
In this section, you learned that Twitch bots help inflate the viewership of a stream. These fake viewers help to create a false sense of social validation for anyone who wants to watch the stream. The streamer effectively lies to potential viewers about their popularity to attract new real viewers.
In the next section, we will talk about why view-botting is bad.
Why is view-botting bad?
View-botting is bad for several reasons:
1. The streamer is lying.
Every time you watch a stream on Twitch, you see a list of viewers who are currently watching that stream. The higher the number of viewers, the more likely you are to watch a stream. And for this reason, Twitch attaches great importance to viewers. Viewers sometimes even surpass channel subscriptions in terms of importance.
When streamers use bots to drive up viewership, they effectively lie to you about their popularity. And they are not just lying to you. They are lying to every potential viewer on Twitch. That’s why Twitch is so eager to stop view-botting.
2. Twitch has a lot of power over its users.
Twitch has a lot of power over its users. They can ban you for any reason or even no reason. They can shut down your channel and delete all your videos with zero warning.
View-Botting is one of the reasons why Twitch would delete a channel. You may have read about bots on the internet, for example, on Reddit, and thought buying bots for your channel was a good idea.
I can promise you right now that this is not the case. With each passing day, Twitch is getting better and better at detecting bots in streams. If you build a channel with fake bots, Twitch will eventually figure you out, and you will be banned. All your hard work will be deleted at the press of a button.
3. The streamer is cheating the system.
View-botting is unethical. It is lying to your viewers and cheating the system.
Twitch has many rules in place to prevent this kind of viewer manipulation. If a bigger stream finds out you are cheating the system, they can and likely will report you to Twitch to have your channel shut down.
4. Buying bots means a channel isn’t being grown correctly.
Growing a channel requires much effort. It’s not just about streaming three days a week, three hours daily. You have to promote, promote, and promote some more. You must be on social media, blogging, Youtube, and other forms of outreach. Building a large enough audience to monetize effectively requires a lot of work.
You are cheating and taking shortcuts by buying bots.
If you buy bots, you will start relying on them. You will start believing that buying robots will lead to faster and bigger growth. Before you know it, you’ll have 10,000 viewers, all of whom are bots, and make no money.
Plus, you will never learn the fundamental promotional skills needed to build a successful channel.
It’s better to stream correctly, treat your viewers respectfully, learn the skills you need, and slowly grow than to cheat and lie your way to the top.
In this section, you have learned about the dangers of view-botting and why you should avoid it at all costs.
In the Nest section, you’ll learn how to tell if viewers in a stream are bots.
How to tell if viewers are bots?
In the last section, you learned that bots should be avoided at all costs, especially because a channel that uses bots is lying to potential viewers by artificially inflating its viewership.
This section will look at different methods you can use to determine if a stream is using bots.
There are several ways to determine if a stream is view-botting. You can look for unusual follower and viewer counts, compare how much chat there is to viewer counts, look for seemingly auto-generated messages, check the streamer’s quality, and check their social media accounts.
We will go into each of these points in more detail below.
However, it is important to remember that there is no easy way to determine whether a viewer on Twitch is real or a bot. There is no tool you can download, no website you can check to determine if a stream is view-botting.
All you can do is use the methods below to check a channel for bots and make an educated guess. And if you think a stream is stuffed full of bots, you can report the channel to Twitch. However, I must point out that you should not abuse your ability to report channels to Twitch. Only report a channel if you are 90% sure that some of the viewers are bots. In seeking to get channels undeservedly banned, you will be banned by Twitch instead.
Check for Unusual follower and viewer counts.
The most obvious way to determine if a stream is view-botting is to check if the number of followers or viewers is unusually high. If a channel has a sudden increase in viewers, you should look to see when and why this increase occurred.
One of the most common ways a channel uses viewer-bots is to buy several viewers to make the channel seem popular at a certain time of day to attract people.
It’s easy to tell if a channel has done this because its numbers spike. Often a channel will buy several views at once and then not buy any more.
A low number of followers compared to viewers.
One of the most obvious signs that a channel may be view-botting is a low number of followers compared to viewers. If a channel has many viewers but few followers, you should check when the channel was launched and its growth rate over time. Sudden unexplained viewer growth spurts can mean that bots were bought.
Generally, if a stream has more than 10,000 concurrent views, it should also have well over 1000 followers. If a stream has more than 10,000 views and only 5 to 10 followers, something fishy is going on.
A channel with very few followers is likely a bot channel.
Is there a lack of comments in the chat
Another way to determine if a channel is view-botting is a lack of comments in the chat. Low levels of chatter are especially true for new channels that do not have followers yet.
Lots of viewers and a quiet chat box are a clear indication of view-botting. The chat section of Twitch will be eerily quiet if thousands of bots are watching a channel. If thousands of viewers are watching a stream, several comments should come in every second. More than you should be able to read at any given moment.
Unusual chat messages.
You can detect view-bots by looking at the messages posted in chat. Bots often post messages that feel and read unnaturally.
Many bot comments will be repetitive, garbled, nonsensical, or not connected with what’s happening in the stream.
Is the quality of the streamer good?
I have learned this really simple method over the years to determine if a streamer with a lot of views is using bots. You should look at the quality of the person. Does the streamer seem like she could hold the attention of 1000 viewers? Does she have the charisma that many top streamers have? If you have a streamer silently hunched over their controller playing a game with 4000 people watching, there’s a good chance that every one of those viewers is a bot.
Check the streamer’s social accounts.
Social media is fantastic for promoting things, whether a product like an iPhone case or a brand new Twitch stream. In general, most successful streamers have a large social media following to promote themselves. If a stream has a few thousand viewers, but the streamer has no followers on Facebook or Twitter, there’s a good chance that all those views are fake.
However, I would urge you to be cautious. Checking accounts on social media is not always suitable for detecting fake bots in a stream. I know this because I do not use social media to grow CareerGamers. In my personal life, I am not a social media user. And so, over the last few years of building CareerGamers, I have found it extremely difficult to discipline myself to use social platforms I would not use in my day-to-day life. That’s why we do not have a social media following.
Yet, we have well over 1.5 million viewers on CareerGamers every year.
So do not judge a stream as fake and full of bots just because the streamer has a social media following.
In this section, you learned that there are multiple ways to tell if a stream uses fake bots.
In the next section, you’ll learn what to do if you discover that a streamer is view-botting.
What to do if you think a Twitch streamer is view-botting?
In the last section, you learned several ways to detect whether or not a stream uses fake bots.
In this section, I’ll explain what to do if you think a stream is using fake bots.
If you believe the channel is view-botting, you should report the channel to Twitch for using view bots. You can learn how to submit a report to Twitch here.
When reporting a channel for view-botting, you should provide enough evidence to show Twitch that you are not just making a false accusation. It would help if you had a range of evidence to prove that a channel is view-botting. Remember that if a channel is view-botting, there’s a good chance that Twitch is already monitoring it and gathering its own body of evidence before it drops the ban hammer on it.
Also, be careful not to make false accusations. Fake accusations of view-botting are frowned upon by both streamers and Twitch and will get you banned. They will ban anyone they believe is intentionally trying to report streamers to get them banned.
If you accidentally accuse a streamer of view-botting, you have the option to make amends by writing to the streamer yourself and apologizing.
Below is a summary of the entire article in bullet points.
- View-botting means that a streamer hires or buys fake viewers to drive up their viewership.
- View-botting is bad because it means that the streamer uses fake social validation to lie about the popularity of his channel to attract real viewers.
- There are several ways to determine if a stream is view-botting. You can look out for unusual follower and viewer counts, the number of chats compared to the number of views, strange, seemingly auto-generated messages, whether the streamer is charismatic and entertaining, and you can also check the streamer’s social media accounts.
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