Does Russia Really Hate Me?

I get it, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I’m opinionated, sarcastic, and the filter between my brain and mouth can be sketchy at best. I’m not perfect (shocker). The thing is, it looks like I’m REALLY disliked in Russia.

Don’t believe me? Let’s analyze the situation.

I’ve been posting videos to my YouTube channel for a while. I’m not what I would consider a YouTuber. I basically just post videos to support my blog posts as I find it a very effect way to communicate how to implement the solutions I create. At this point I have around 100 videos posted, 1,600 subscribers, and 610,000 views. I realize these are NOT impressive stats by YouTube standards, but apparently they are good enough to draw the ire of Russians…

As you can imagine, with the number of views and videos I’ve garnered some likes and dislikes on my videos along the way… I’ll admit it, I’ve created some less than stellar content at times and things I would have recommended a few years ago I’d tell you to stay away from today. It’s the way things go.

However, something interesting started happening with my YouTube videos several months ago. Starting around August of last year I found that whenever I posted a video I would immediately get 9-11 dislikes overnight. Every… single… time… And I’m not talking about 9 dislikes out of 1,000 views, I’m talking 9 dislikes out of 21 views… statistically improbable that people dislike my content THAT much… I hope?

At first I went through the bruised ego thing, we geeks can take this stuff personally, but after a while it became almost comical. Other viewers started noticing and leaving comments:

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Could this be some sort of conspiracy? (by the way, thanks for the kind comments Brenton, Rob, and Jack).

Now you are probably wondering what the heck Russians have to do with this? Well, I decided to dig into my Google Analytics to see what was going on with these dislikes. And as you can see from the screenshot below there’s something off-kilter going on with Russia:

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Out of 238 lifetime dislikes 182 have come from Russia. That is 76% of all my dislikes. But that’s lifetime… let’s break it down since last August.

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This is actually MUCH more telling. I have videos going back to 2009, but since AUGUST of 2016 I’ve received 86% of my lifetime dislikes. Plus 88% of those are from Russia, and get this 99.5% percent of ALL Russian dislikes came AFTER AUGUST 1st 2016.

My spidey senses are tingling.

My other thought… analytics are cool.

And look at the graph of dislikes since likes since last August

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What the heck happened in August? That first huge spike was when all the dislikes started. All the subsequent spikes are when I posted new content.

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On August 7th I received 28 dislikes!! 28!! Not ONE video has a total of 28 dislikes. Then the very next day I got 96!! 96 dislikes on one day! And these dislikes were spread over many different videos. Someone went to a lot of effort to dislike my videos… and guess what…

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They were ALL from Russia… and it seems to be accelerating… my latest video received 21 dislikes overnight. That’s more than double the average.

Do I believe Russians really hate me? No, of course not. I find the whole thing fascinating though and I’m curious as to what’s actually going on. At this point I have two what I believe to be viable theories:

1. Someone doesn’t like me – Someone is making a conscious effort to dislike my content. I get emails ALL the time from people asking me to customize my solutions for free. I try to be a nice guy and all, but I’m not generally that nice. Maybe it’s one of those people and they aren’t happy with my lack of response. Maybe they are just off a bit to hold a grudge over it. I only give this theory a 10% chance of being accurate though. That’s a lot of effort for someone to go to just because they don’t like some random guy on the internet.

2. I’m eating into some web part company’s revenue – This theory is the one I find most plausible. I offer a lot of free SharePoint solutions and enhancements on my blog. I used to get random comments on my videos that were basically spam advertising the same sort of functionality as a paid tool. It makes sense to me that if there is some shady web part company out there trying to sell things that people can get for free, a good way to drive people away from the free offerings is to make them think there is something wrong with them. Jerks.

Other than that, I really have no clue what it could be.

I’m also interested to know if others are experiencing the same phenomenon and if there’s anything I can do about it? I tried contacting Google but I never got a response.

What do you think? Is there some disgruntled software company out there? Am I just an unlikable person? Am I just over analyzing? Or maybe you experienced this before or know what in the world I should do about it?

Regardless, it’s been kind of fun to dig into some of the details and see what’s going on. If you’ve got any insights, I’d love to hear from you!

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