A new day, a new thing

My goal to learn something new every day

Day 75: YouTube and 301

If you spend a lot of time on YouTube (I do), you’ll probably have come across videos from time to time with 301 or 301+ views. It often happens with really popular YouTube channels right after a new video has just gone up. It’s always struck me as weird why the counter gets stuck at this number. Turns out that I’m not alone, and it is one of the questions that YouTube gets asked about most.

There is a simple explanation for it though. With videos that get a lot of traffic very quickly, YouTube wants to make sure that the views are real and not coming from bots or the uploader trying to up their view count. In order to do this, as soon as the view count hits over 300 views, the counter that is seen on the video’s page is stopped. YouTube still continues to count any new views, but the visible number is just not updated on the page.

YouTube then does some checks to make sure that the views are genuine. If it finds that there’s no foul play, the views that have continued to accumulate since the counter was stopped are added, and the counter becomes live again and updates as normal.

There are a number of other articles out there going into more technical detail, and this one from Business Insider is a good starting point. It also links to a video on the Numberphile YouTube channel, which has an interview with a YouTube employee explaining much better than I can here about the mystery of the 301 views.

YouTube featured image courtesy of marioanima on Flickr

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This entry was posted on March 16, 2015 by in Tech and tagged , .

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