It seems like Twitch may have finally found a way to stop or curve viewbotting on Twitch. I saw the news being passed around /R/Twitch yesterday, but I wanted to hold off on it until there was more evidence or an official announcement from Twitch. Yet as the day went on, more and more people had posted numbers to back up the claims that perhaps Twitch has finally figured it out. Multiple popular streamers, including those with Twitch partnerships, have dropped in numbers. Some have dropped drastically, as evidenced in the /R/Twitch subreddit. Many have claimed to have visited streamers who were accused or suspected of viewbotting, only to see their numbers dropped to almost nothing.
If Twitch has found a way to stop viewbotting, it would also be interesting to see if they are monitoring the viewer counts now. For example, what if a popular streamer that was also a Twitch partner suddenly drops. And I don’t mean like 10-20 viewers, but in the 100’s of numbers being lost. Would Twitch then step in and have them start all over again? I mean, if that is the case then it is only fair. Not only is viewbotting frowned upon, it’s also a violation of Twitch’s TOS. Going further, if Twitch is monitoring people, we may even see accounts getting closed down.
This is huge as most streamers with high viewer counts typically make money via actual donators and viewership. You don’t see smaller channels having people donate to them, and so not fairly often.
Why do people use viewbots on Twitch? Well, it’s pretty simple actually. Viewbotting artificially bumps up your active viewer numbers. The more viewers you have, the higher your stream exposure is the more people see you and then you start to get organic (natural) viewers. For someone starting out on Twitch, this is typically an often looked at practice. It’s fast, it usually doesn’t cost much and it helps you get more viewers faster. Yet at the same time, the practice is / has been in use by middle-ground to popular streamers, to pull in more viewers and inflate their numbers. It’s not news that the way most channels are found on Twitch is based on active viewers. No, seriously. Go open up Twitch right now and you’ll see how it’s sorted by default. I’m willing to wager that most people won’t even go past the top 15 or even top 10 streamers on any given game.
Viewbotting has been a huge issue on Twitch for quite some time, so I would imagine that Twitch has been actively trying to stop the practice. Yet, it’s not as easily as sending a cease and desist letter to the various websites that offer the service. Had it been that simple, we would have been without viewbotting for a while, among other things. In fact, Twitch had tried this earlier this year when they send out C&D’s to multiple websites, addressed the issue on the Twitch blog and even created an article on how to handle viewbots.
While I applaud Twitch for finally finding a way, however, short or long term it is, to stop viewbotting. I think another issue still needs to be addressed and that is the fact that newer streamers unless they already have an online or celebrity status, don’t get much attention on Twitch. Sure, higher numbers = better figures, yet at the same time, it’s also soul-crushing for those who are trying to build their own userbase with Twitch. At least, that’s my two cents on that issue.
Is it the end of botting websites? Likely not. If anything, Twitch has momentarily locked them out, but if anything is ever a given, it’s that people always find awhile around something. That’s just how evolution works.