YouTube’s Spammy Sex Bots Make a Ton of Money

Here’s how scammers turn those ubiquitous, meaningless comments into profits

Zulie Rane
Published in
9 min readJan 25, 2021


Photo: Leon Bublitz/Unsplash

My YouTube channel is extremely wholesome. I post helpful, friendly tutorial videos. I sign off, rather cheesily, with, “Happy writing!”

That’s why it’s so annoying when my videos get flooded with decidedly not-PG and nonsensical comments from what the YouTube community has dubbed “sex bots.”

If you’ve posted a YouTube video, or even scrolled through the comments of one, you’ll probably know what I’m talking about:

Screenshot of sex bot comments taken by the author.

These sex bots are pervasive and obviously not real people. But it’s such a weird strategy that, though I was irritated, I was also deeply curious. As I recently did with spammy Instagram requests “dm to collab,” I decided to investigate the strategy behind these YouTube sex bots.

What were these sex bots trying to accomplish? Why were they leaving oddly horny comments? Why were they targeting my videos? (How could I get them to stop?)

The answer was not as straightforward as I’d hoped. You can read below or check out the video I made about it to find out what I learned.

The primary aim is to drive views to a playlist of longer, monetized videos

For the rest of this story to make sense, you should understand three things:

  1. Most YouTubers make money from ads on their videos.
  2. This incentivizes YouTubers to do their best to game the algorithm in order to get more views.
  3. The YouTube algorithm is mysterious and capricious, leading to many bizarre strategies that are surprisingly effective, like “Elsagate,” and the one you’re about to read.



Zulie Rane

Content creator, cat mom, 6-figure entrepreneur. She/her. Get 2x weekly emails on how to make money writing online: