YouTube's new commenting system aims to push Google+, nothing more

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 25, 2013
Updated • Sep 25, 2013
Google, Youtube

I do not really read comments on YouTube that often and I attribute that partially to the quality of the comments on the site. There is no comment moderation at all, which means that you will get a lot of "earn $1000 a day", "lose 20 pounds in 1 week" and the like spam on the site.

You also get a lot of trolling, hateful comments and other comments that would never appear in this way on blogs or other sites that moderate their comments.

Google's solution, posted yesterday, is to link the company's own Google+ social networking service closer to YouTube. In fact, it plans to use the comment system of the service on YouTube.

What does it mean?

All YouTube users who want to comment on the site need to link their Google identity to YouTube.  So, instead of showing up as nickname on YouTube, you will show up with you real name instead. If you have a Google identity photo, that will show up too and become your YouTube avatar.

youtube comment spam
spam comments on YouTube


What are the benefits?

Users can now start conversations that are public, limited to their Google+ circle, or just a single friend. Replies get threaded just like on Gmail so that it is easier to follow the conversation.

Some comments will be pushed to the top. This includes comments from users of your Google+ circle, popular personalities, the video creator and those who have started an engaging discussion.

Last but not least, it gives authors better comment moderating options. All comments can be reviewed before they are published, authors may block certain words automatically, or whitelist users they trust so that their comments appear automatically.

The problem?

If you do not want to link your YouTube and Google+ account, or show your real identity on YouTube when commenting, then you cannot do so. It is as simple as that. I think that Google will make this mandatory at one point in time, so that the requests to use your Google identity on YouTube cannot by bypassed anymore.

The real problem however is that I do not think that this will be that helpful. One could argue that users won't post that much spam anymore if they have to use a Google account to do so. While that seems logical at first, it is not. You can buy 20 Google accounts for $5 over at Fiverr and use them to spam the site just like before.

While some authors and channel owners may use the new moderating features, most probably won't as it will waste a lot of time if they do.

It is interesting to note that Google has not implemented a blacklist feature. You can only set comments to moderation if you want to prevent that spam comments appear on your channel.

I'm pretty certain that Google is aware that it is easy to get your hands on many Google accounts for little money.

Closing Words

Google's real intention is to make all YouTube users switch to a Google identity. The company has tried to do so in the past by displaying prompts that ask users to make the switch, but it never forced the issue until now.

Now, it is putting pressure on users who do more than watch videos on YouTube. If you want to comment, you need to use a Google identity to do so. And that means displaying your real name and profile photo as well if you have one.

Spammers on the other hand will buy accounts in bulk and use them to spam the site just like they did before.


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  1. Witty said on October 20, 2014 at 8:48 pm

    Google + = Absolute garbage…!! I’m done here…!!

    1. Marc said on October 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      Wow – only a year later with this comment. Way to stay relevant.

  2. Daexion said on November 19, 2013 at 8:58 am

    This is simply aimed at forcing everyone who uses YouTube and wants to post comments on videos to activate a Google+ account which will then give Google a platform in which to push more of their services on them. Claiming it’s to deal with spammers, trolls etc is simply a smokescreen, nothing more. On the upside, if there is one, they still have no ability to force anyone to use information that can be used to identify them IRL, and in the reality we live in in which you could lose your job because the corporation you work for keeps tabs on what you say when you don’t post anonymously or because someone decided they hated what you said and decided to find you IRL it matters being able to post without using your real name.

  3. ITellYouEvereeTang said on October 16, 2013 at 6:43 am

    What do you think of Google’s video search feature losing its ability to sort its results by newest to oldest and vice versa? I think removing such an important and useful sorting feature is purely Obama-like.

  4. ITellYouEvereeTang said on October 16, 2013 at 6:39 am

    The first noticeable sucky change that occurred for youtube was the change to the top comment feature. It was no longer the top comment anymore but rather the comment that google wanted to be at the top which was a recent comment instead of the top comment. That alone showed how youtube and google was only going to get worst and worst and more illogical. Its like how google removed the ability to sort video searches from newest to oldest.

  5. jack said on September 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    fiverr isnt that good, i prefer using they’re alternative much cleaner and benficial

  6. atx said on September 25, 2013 at 8:38 pm


    oh well, i didnt often leave comments. now i will never leave a comment.


  7. XenoSilvano said on September 25, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    My main concern with all this is how my personally identifying data will be handled,
    Google’s initiative to pressure users into using their real names so as to hold them
    personally accountable for their activities (that will likely be searchable online)
    to dissuade them from posting abusive comments (in a general sense)
    is of lesser concern to me, I personally don’t think this will work.

    Back in the day when chat rooms where the only real social medium for most people online,
    you would often be warned about submitting personally identifying information about yourself,
    this was back during a time when commenting on a web page was a very rare privilege.

    With the advent of websites requesting would-be users for personally identifying information
    and storing their personal data (such as videos, audio, photo, documents, etc.) which is then tethered to their real world identities, the concern about how this data is being handled and protected, to whom this data is made available to and what control the user has over their own data should become apparent.

    For example, Imagine if Google who has your data decides to change it’s policy about
    the way your data is handled with little to no prior notice and then place your previously
    private data on a silver platter for organisations such as the NSA to consume or publicly
    for everyone see, what then(?) What say or control will you have in regards to how
    your personal data is handled(?)

    Obviously this is something that should be of great concern to all of us who choose to partake
    in service where personally identifying data is imparted, therefore I can understand the distrust
    people feel about this particular subject because you never know how your personal data
    may be utilised by the data holder.

    1. Marc said on September 25, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      If this is your concern then why would you post a comment on anything, including this article? Google isn’t the only company with access to your personal information that could flip a switch.

      The reality is anything you do online could ultimately be traced back to you, but this isn’t new. Its been that way for the past 30 years.

      If you are genuinely concerned that one day all your online activity might be made public then perhaps you would be best served by reducing or eliminating your online activity.

      1. XenoSilvano said on September 25, 2013 at 9:29 pm

        Yeah I think you’re right. Being the social creatures that we are it is a very sad reality indeed
        when you feel forced to relinquish certain freedoms and resort to protecting yourself so that
        you can maintain some peace of mind against potential entities who seek to utilise your data
        against you, such as aggregate sites.

        I ultimately blame all this on society’s preconception about how a society is supposed to work.
        As human civilisation continues to evolve we are increasingly pushing our preconception against
        the real way of the world (this is a very generalised term), eventually there is bound to come
        a time where the real reality of things will simply abide our preconceptions any further.

        Anyway, in a nutshell, I think humanity needs to throttle its preconceptions about the world
        and really begin the to candidly re-examine the sort of path that we are all setting ourselves up for, (and that is where the internet helps) if it bad now, I don’t even want to imagine how bad it will all be
        in the future.

  8. beachbouy said on September 25, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    This is yet another example of Google’s relentless efforts to profile every computer user on the planet and suck every tiny morsel of privacy from their being. I don’t have Google+, don’t need Google+, and don’t want Google+… EVER! At some point, I’m sure Google will find a way to force me to accede to their demands for capitulation. Until then, I will resist with every resource I can muster.

    1. Marc said on September 25, 2013 at 7:18 pm

      Drama anyone?

  9. Shadess said on September 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Bye youtube.

  10. Kies said on September 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    This move may increase YouTube competitors’ traffic and DAU.

  11. oldskater said on September 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

    the spammers may do so but for the the ones that ruin the flow of youtube comments are the

    10yr old kids who post “gay” or “yawn” etc hundreds of times.

    that will stop almost immediatly


  12. ank91 said on September 25, 2013 at 10:45 am

    hi martin…
    the famous partition program PARTED MAGIC not free now..

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on September 25, 2013 at 11:28 am
      1. JohnMWhite said on September 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

        Sorry, no you can’t. That also forwards you straight to the buy page. It even says “buy link” right there on the Softpedia site. It appears to be available to torrent but what’s the legal status of that? GPL presumably means it’s ok to share software assuming you give credit to the creator, but what if the creator has gone to great lengths to get people to pay and you’re trying to share something you originally got for free?

      2. Martin Brinkmann said on September 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

        Interesting, the links were direct download links when I checked, they must have changed those in the meantime.

      3. JohnMWhite said on September 26, 2013 at 10:07 pm

        That page asks for $4.99 to access the digital download, and points out that it is free purely in the sense of being open source.

      4. Martin Brinkmann said on September 27, 2013 at 7:47 am

        Right. You can still download it for free from third party download portals:

  13. Nebulus said on September 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I think that Google is just trying to integrate all it’s services so it can make the people’s personal data mining easier. I’m pretty sure that this is not related at all to stopping spammers from commenting on Youtube.
    On a side note, I must admit, I never understood the need to comment on somebody’s video…

  14. nihir said on September 25, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I think your analysis is a bit skewed.

    Google does in fact include a blocking mechanism (aka blacklist). It’s quite ingenious as I didn’t notify spammers they’ve been blocked. Thus, they have no indication their spam is being read by no one by anyone but themselves.

    While it’s true that Google would like to push all their users to a Google+ account, they openly promote the fact that pseudonyms are acceptable. In fact it’s one of the options that pops up on YouTube when you’re encouraged to merge your YouTube and Google+ accounts.

    I think you’ll find that relevancy will increase over time and genuinely good comments will surface on popular videos. But on reality, without seeing the new system in place in wide release, I don’t see how you could conclude that comments would stay spam-filled.

    In fact, as of now, all evidence points in the opposite direction.

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