YouTube has just the kind of thing that's been promised to advertisers for years -- the exact number of times a commercial has been viewed. Here are a couple of articles about how these numbers can be artificially inflated: a new one from InfoWorld, one from January in ZDNet blogs, and an example at PR Blogger. Why bother? Because crowds draw in bigger crowds; the most viewed video gets promoted to the front page, driving more views.
And it's not an exclusively YouTube's problem. "The study identifies Bolt.com, GrindTV.com, Broadcaster.com, Away.com, RooTV.com, and Diet.com as the beneficiaries of spyware-driven traffic," writes IT News.