Weird YouTube Video Counts

I’ve always been skeptical about the YouTube view counter.

Every time I post a video it’ll get something like 300 views…..but I KNOW that it’s getting more.  I’ll refresh in a few hours later and the count will still be the same.

Even with this recent email the same thing happened.

An email was sent to about 750,000 people on AppSumo today, a percentage of which either saw this on a page or an email:

When I snapped this screenshot, there were:

  • 225 Tweets
  • Tons of Facebook shares
  • 99 YouTube comments
  • Almost 100 comments on the post.

……yet look at this video counter:

Only 305 views??

Yea right.  The numbers don’t add up.  I can even see people adding new comments all the time, but the views don’t go up.

So what’s up then?  I Googled around and found this fascinating video about this YouTube number count phenomenon.  Hope you nerds out there enjoy this as much as I did!  Enjoy!


Cool huh!?

Blog posted on: October 17, 2012

16 comments on “Weird YouTube Video Counts

  1. Colin

    Nice post Nev. I wasn’t aware of this. I guess if your using a YouTube video on a sales page this is a huge issue as people will think you/ your product is not so popular.

    1. Neville

      That can happen, although I’m not that worried about it.

      It’s just an interesting tidbit about YouTube how this old code dictates the view counter of popular videos :-)

  2. Cbailey

    I’d always heard that YouTube stops incrementing once you push past 301 rapidly to make sure they can verify legitimate views, but this was a great video with extra details! I love those Numberphile guys and gals!

  3. Arik Ermshaus

    Two short thoughts on this:

    1. Why does YouTube deal with bazillions of video uploads at the same time but needs a frickin’ day to handle the “view-checking”. I’m a PHP-addict and even if they use high complex scripts and bots what so ever, this shouldn’t take longer then a view minutes.


    2. Why checking when 301 is reached. Makes no sense. Would be way more useful to check it regularly, all the time or depending on growth, peaks what so ever.

    …strange too

    The guy lied. There are other reasons they do this and why it needs that long.

    —Peace! Great Post!

    1. MikeBugslayer

      I believe that there is human involved in the process. This is how they eliminate those misleading titles and thumbnails ;)

    2. Nicholas Johnson

      They need to do statistical analysis to detect fraud. They need a good sized data set to do this, so they treat the video as untrusted until they’ve got enough views to perform the analysis.

      Also, Google doesn’t use PHP.

  4. Ray Ray

    Hey Nev!

    I was wondering what magazines/blogs/shows/papers do you view on a daily or weekly basis for content?

    I normally listen to npr, and read a few articles every once and a while on fastcompany or the economist, and blog wise usually read yours and tynans.

    Just wondering what inspires your content, and business ideas??

    Have you passed the point of information gathering and instead ping ideas around with your friends most of the time?

    Just trying to find some new sources of content input for the noggin :D have a great day!

    1. Neville

      Hey Ray ……I consume a MASSIVE amount of content online.

      I check Twitter, Facebook, then email.
      Usually from Twitter & Facebook I see some cool links I’ll read/watch.

      When I eat:
      I’ll usually watch something on YouTube, like an interview with someone successful.
      I type in stuff like:
      Chris Rock Interview
      Howard Stern Interview
      Billionaire Interview
      Warren Buffett Speech
      Steve Jobs interview
      Richard Feynman interview
      Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee

      …..from that I see related videos which lead me down a rabbit hole of interview goodness.

      I also use the NPR iPhone app to listen to news……although my fav program is Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me! is a fantastic starting place for educational/inspiring videos.

      I’m also AT ALL TIMES reading at least one book (up to three at a time, but I try to avoid doing because it encourages you to not read as much).

      So yes, I consume a lot of info (I probably watch more interesting YouTube videos than anyone I’ve ever met.

  5. Jason

    That used to confuse me as well. I would get notified of a new NigaHiga video, and he’s top dog on Youtube, so there’s no way his view count was only 300, and yet there it was. Well this answers THAT question!


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