The end is nigh for YouTube’s reply girls

YouTube plans to treat reply girls as spam and revamp its related video algorithm accordingly. 


Fruzsina Eördögh


Posted on Mar 1, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 8:40 pm CDT

The reign of the reply girls may soon be ending.

The controversy over the cleavage-baring ladies of YouTube, accused of spamming and cheating YouTube’s related videos algorithm, has caught the attention of both Google’s engineers and Machinima, the online entertainment network housed largely on YouTube.

After months of concerned YouTubers leaving forum posts, making videos, signing petitions, and raising awareness about the issue, the Google-owned company is finally taking action.

On Thursday, Bing Chen, a YouTube manager who works with video creators, tweeted the product team was ”aware” of the issue and said that engineers are “attacking this from several angles (spam, etc).”

The Daily Dot reached out to YouTube for more clarification and was told by a spokesman that the company is indeed treating the reply girls as spam.

“We try to chase these at the root to make sure all partners are taken care of, so sometimes individual cases may take some time to process,” the YouTube spokesman said.

In short, the algorithm is being completely revamped to prevent another reply girl epidemic from happening in the future.

Meanwhile, Machinima terminated its contract with one of the reply girls, Megan Lee Heart, known on the site as MeganSpeaks, some time last night. This means Heart will not be making any money from her YouTube videos after March 30—at least not until she gets picked up by another network.

Chris O’Neill, who goes by OneyNG on YouTube, is taking credit for having Heart’s Machinima partnership revoked, referring to chat logs posted on his Facebook. In them, O’Neill says Machinima approached him in an effort to get his animated cartoon mocking its business practices removed. O’Neill agreed to remove his mocking cartoon if Machinima revoked Heart’s partnership. While O’Neill being responsible for Heart’s revoked partnership seems far-fetched, Machinima did go to great lengths to essentially censor two relatively unpopular videos that were critical of the company and its partners.

Machinima was unavailable for comment at press time.

YouTubers have already taken to uploading celebratory videos. For instance, HappyCabbie, who lost his Machinima partnership in the surrounding controversy, uploaded a video of him primarily laughing for three minutes.

Thereplygirl, the first Reply Girl to make a channel dedicated to spamming top YouTube content, has somewhat acquiesced—despite saying for weeks she would keep making videos and that her videos didn’t violate community guidelines.

In her latest video, “KILL THEREPLYGIRL,” uploaded hours ago, thereplygirl said she would also start doing comedy skits and regular video blogs. On her new channel “kill thereplygirl,” she will do a daily skit where she is killed, an idea she got from all the hateful comments left on her videos.

As for the change in YouTube’s algorithm that she helped bring about? “This is going to kill most of the reply channels,” she says in her video.

The Daily Dot reached out to Yogscast, the video-game commentating team who brought considerable exposure to the reply girl issue, for a comment regarding Google’s new algorithm:

“On behalf of the YouTube community – not just ourselves, but thousands of other partners and viewers – thank you to YouTube for listening and reacting to users’ needs in this situation. We look forward to seeing the results!” wrote Yogscast in an email.

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*First Published: Mar 1, 2012, 3:18 pm CST