PALM SPRINGS, CA — The idea that many online video ad views are not really generated by actual viewers has been gathering pace lately. But could it really be that video content makers are defrauding their own system?

Video ad tech firm Collective‘s inventory VP Travis Lusk is pointing the finger at freelance videographers hired in by newspaper publishers to make the content advertisers want to buy against.

“Those freelancers know they’re going to get re-hired if their content gets watched a lot,” says Lusk. “Those freelancers will go out and buy traffic on their own, independently of the publisher they produce the content for, and try and drive traffic back to the content they produced.

“We can see it in legitimate brand newspaper sites that we all know – there are these pockets of random (traffic) anomalies in there.”

Lusk claims the contributors are one of up to 40 shady kinds of sources of video traffic that are misrepresenting the real extent of online video views, wasting advertisers’ money.