The Unseen Dangers of YouTube Sub Bots

Sub bots—or subscriber bots—have become known for generating artificial subscribers, views, and likes for growing YouTube accounts. However, these sub bots can often damage a YouTube channel and can even become a dangerous weapon.

December 18, 2020

The Dangers of YouTube Sub Bots

YouTube is a growing marketplace, ripe for creators and advertisers to expose viewers to all kinds of content. Turning a YouTube channel into a profitable hub for millions of devoted subscribers can take years of preparation and dedication to creating quality content, so many up-and-coming YouTubers are turning to a new technological development to help them artificially build a following. Subscriber bots, also known as sub bots, have been hailed as the subscribers of the future. By using a script to make thousands of fake accounts follow a particular channel, these channels explode in popularity and become easier to discover. However, the consequences of using these bots can be disastrous, potentially causing you to lose your follower community and even your YouTube channel.

How subscriber bots work

The idea behind YouTube subscriber bots is simple. They’re programmed to follow a particular channel en masse, inflating an account’s numbers with thousands of fake followers. Although these fake followers might not comment or like the videos, their core purpose is to affect YouTube’s algorithm. This particular algorithm is designed to promote channels that are on the rise or are quickly gaining in popularity. When it detects such an account, it’s more likely to promote it to potential subscribers—not knowing that the account is building a very real follower base off of fake sub bots.

Although this may sound challenging and time-consuming, there are many services that YouTubers turn to for YouTube subscriber bots. Some creators pay for a website that runs and manages the sub bots for them. Some sites even have free plans, but the majority charge monthly fees. Of course, for the more technologically intrepid, there’s always the option of developing their own YouTube bot subscribers.

Before a creator buys subscribers or views, it’s important that they note that using subscriber bots can be detrimental to all the hard work that they’ve put into their channel. More importantly, they need to make sure that the provider they’re considering is trustworthy, since there are plenty of scam “YouTube subscriber” websites out there.

Let's look at how buying subscribers could hurt a channel and ruin its chances of achieving YouTube success.

Consequences of subscriber bots

Although YouTube bot subscribers may seem like an appealing option, if you’re looking to build out your YouTube channel, it’s important to note that the use of these sub bots can have massive ramifications. First, they go against YouTube's Engagement Policy, which expressly forbids “the use of automatic systems” that “artificially increase the numbers of views, likes, comments, or other metrics.” Using them in any capacity not only leaves a channel at the mercy of community managers but also discredits a channel in several key ways.

Lower engagement

YouTube bot subscribers are exactly what they sound like: bots that are built for subscribing. Although some bots can add views to your videos, the majority of YouTube subscriber bots will only boost your subscriber count—leaving your account with markedly low levels of engagement in terms of comments and likes. Although this might not be an immediate problem, it does make it very evident that an account uses sub bots and, therefore, it’s highly likely to be flagged by YouTube community managers.

For successful YouTube channels, a good engagement rate is a 97.4 percent like-to-dislike ratio and any rate above 0.04 percent for the comment-to-view ratio. Channels operating below these ratios are classified as channels with low engagement, which has several downsides. For example, a channel with an inordinate number of dislikes to likes will be flagged by YouTube’s algorithms as potentially suspicious or untrustworthy. Similarly, videos with high view counts but few comments demonstrate a lack of a real community surrounding the channel in question. This may indicate to new viewers that the channel has not built trust or earnest engagement with others. Both of these metrics are also used by advertisers to determine whether a channel is a good choice for a partnership. Without realistic engagement rates, advertisers will most likely pass up the opportunity to partner with a channel.

Loss of ad revenue

For many developing creators, the appeal of ad revenue is a light at the end of the long tunnel of building a successful channel. Although this revenue is directly correlated to the number of views a channel is receiving, YouTube reserves the right to remove the ad revenue whenever it sees fit. If YouTube becomes aware that a popular channel that receives ad revenue is using subscriber bots, it’s highly likely that ad revenue will be immediately revoked—with no hope of reinstating it.

Account termination

In the worst-case scenario for any content creator, YouTube can flag an account for termination based on claims that it’s using a subscriber bot. Although there’s an appeal process for this termination, it’s lengthy and tedious and, if the account was using sub bots, it will be impossible to get the account back. For creators who spend years building their YouTube community, this is the ultimate loss—and a firm warning to avoid subscriber bots at all costs.

Because account termination has such disastrous consequences for successful channels, a new development in the field of sub bots is the use of YouTube subscriber bots as weapons. Individuals are weaponizing subscriber bots by buying them for use on competitors’ channels, with the hope that these channels will be shut down for their infractions of the YouTube Community Management Policy. Although there is little you can do to prevent them if you notice them affecting your channel, report these subscriber bots to YouTube as soon as possible. That’s the best way to help protect your channel from being shut down.

For content creators, YouTube bot subscribers might seem like an exciting way to build a subscriber base and to attract new advertisement opportunities. However, accounts that are exposed to the use of sub bots risk serious consequences that could derail all levels of creators in the platform. The use of these bots undermines YouTube’s standings with advertisers, in addition to YouTube’s internal engagement metrics.