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View Counts on YouTube

view-count

Since I get asked this question EVERY SINGLE DAY “How can your views be less than your ratings?  Or comments?” Or, since I get accused of creating view-count-fraud, I thought it might be a good idea to tell you how the views are counted on YouTube and how the ratings and comments can get ahead of the views as well.  I might actually make a video about this in the near future as the confusion seems to happen most on YouTube itself.

So, here goes.

When a video is uploaded to YouTube, the view counter is pretty much real-time. The ratings counter is also real-time as well as the comment counter. But then ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE when the views hit around 308 views!

At around 308 views, the VIEW COUNTER STOPS COUNTING while the Ratings and Comments counters continue to tabulate.

The views counter WILL NOT UPDATE FOR ANOTHER 4 to 6 hours, while the ratings and comments continue to increase in real-time.

At this point, take a look at the comments on any video experiencing this and you will see “VIEW COUNT FRAUD!!!”   “RATINGS FRAUD!!!!”  ”FRAUD FRAUD FRAUD!!!!”

wtf-views1

Those comments will be followed by others explaining that the views don’t update in real-time.. but right below those comments will be another stream of “VIEW COUNT FRAUD” comments.

wtf-views2

So, what is going on here?

Well, I think the view-counting delay is caused by YouTube analyzing views to see what views are real and what views are fake.  The 308 view count number is a little higher than the 207 count number that the counter used to freeze at, but I think that YouTube actually starts analyzing views at 307 and they don’t publish an update until they have determined what views are legitimate and what views are fake.  This prevents people from taking over the most viewed pages with fake views.

As an example of fake views in the past, there was a guy who created a gossip channel last year. He took his videos and embedded them 200 times on his MySpace page with autoplay on and then hit reload repeatedly.  He managed to get to the most viewed page time and time again until YouTube shut him down for terms of use violations.  This delay in counting views is a direct result of these kinds of abuses of the system.

So, that’s what’s going on with the view counts being less than the ratings and comment counts. Don’t freak out if your views freeze for even as long as a whole day!  YouTube is not messing with you.. they are just analyzing your views before they publish an updated number.

If you have any additional questions about this or other things about YouTube, let me know in the comments below.

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67 Responses to View Counts on YouTube

  1. Anonymous says:

    What if I noticed the view count on my channel has decreased! What does that mean?

  2. Anonymous says:

    My youtube channel view count has decreased! please help!

  3. Kojo Flimzy says:

    when youtube freezes the counting can you still use another pc to get more views after some time or uts permanent?

  4. chass_kidd says:

    all i want is ghive psy more views! OPPA GANGNAM STYLE!

  5. 7crtv says:

    hey! i have one problem my video count is stuck only on two videos(301,304 views) for like 72 hours!!!?? what is wrong!!!?

  6. cute lolo says:

    please watch mine if it’s updated than 301 views :(

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_yVf4venwg

    sub 4 sub if you want to ^__^

  7. Arun Sharma says:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xNfrl-75Qc  See This Video…

  8. Revolution Reels says:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOJMvKozaew&feature=g-upl ours froze at 480. we were driving ourselves crazy trying to figure out why

  9. Ray Greenfield says:

    Mine froze about a week ago at 41,333…….still there.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why my view counts freeze at 217?
    http://youtu.be/ObwCQ6v4qkI

    Do view count count when i’m bedded in tumblar?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I can not have easily count to download a Video and Music.
    http://portfoliotalk.net/member.php?243206-Kesholina

  12. Dhivya Yogarajah says:

    Hey, I’ve uploaded a video for an audition tape, and the view count should roughly show how many votes we’ll get for it. I’m just wondering whether watching a video from the same computer over and over again counts as multiple views?

  13. luis augusto guimaraes says:

    Hi, I’m having the same problem tracking views of some channels that made reviews of a game I made. For exemple, the counter shows 834, but the Statistics display a graphic going above 2k. Can I trust in the graphics then, that it marks the actual view count to be updated?

    Thanks!

  14. Last Cycle says:

    The reason why the count blocks, and obviously few people know why, is censoring prevention. 

    Some engineers (analytical field) studied how a video view count was evolving until it get frozed, and more importantly how it continued AFTER.

    First of all, not ALL video get blocked when reaching 300 somethings views, they get freezed according to the rate at which it gets view when its posted (is it fast or slow, how many potential views can it get) and according to the tags and words accompanying the video.

    Then there are three cases: 
    - When the video is “good” or inoffensive (cute cat video or Lady Gaga), the count starts again eventually but the rate by which the views evolved is UNNATURAL : there are way more views than possible even if the video became popular
    - When the video is connoted ”bad” ie. talks politics, critics youtube or else, the same happenned except the video get way less views than it should logically do
    - When the video is fraudulent because of copyrights infringement or is violent the approximate time it takes for the view counts to be unfrozen is the time the video gets REMOVED.
    *Again if you video is infringing but has a slow evolutions in the view counts it won’t get freezed or removed, and “pass through”

    So what it means? That when Youtube detects a new video with a potential success it suspend the view counts. Officially it is to combat spam, BUT even in this case it means that they are CONTROLLING the videos, sometimes censoring it, but also adding algorithms to multiply or divide the number of views your video gets.

    I hope my friends will released their study on Internet which most of them can’t because of their jobs, for now.

  15. Anonymous says:

    She is a partner, of course she would say that it’s nothing. View fraud is common place amongst the very popular partners.

  16. Robin Kliegman says:

    If you play the video on mute, could it be considered a fake view? Or what if you jump around a through the video? Is that added to the view counter?

  17. youmustbecrazy says:

    I’m pretty sure by, “shut him down for terms of use violations,” you meant, “made him a partner and now pays him money for doing pretty much the same thing.

  18. I think this is no more a problem!

  19. I know I am stepping into this half way, but this is the only link I have found that may be able to help answer my question. If I use a cloaking service to cloak my youtube video link (Viral URL), will my unique video page still get accurate views or will the views be blocked? Thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer!

  20. der magnum says:

    In our web site, we used a lightbox embedding system to display the video. The user have to click an image to launch the video. We set auto play on as user had already clicked once to watch the video.
    It appears that youtube didn’t count views coming from thoose auto play embedded videos.

    In fact, I not sure but there’s no view counts coming from our website when we check video stats. I hope that’s the pblm. We’ve removed auto play, we’ll see. We missed around 40k and 50k views (we have this stat from analytics).

    I hope this information can help.

    http://www.ohmstudio.com

    • pedanticKarl says:

      Hello der magnum,
      You are correct about YT not counting views when an embedded video is in auto play. The above article is a year old next month and since then, YT has made many more changes about what constitutes a video view count. Of course YT does not advertise what the rules are, but many times one can get an idea of what is happening when one reads the questions that users pose on the YT Help forum. There are many video views that are not counted due to YT’s technical issues.

      I’m curious about why you are launching your video in a shadow box? Since you have turned off auto play, the user now has to click twice to see the video.

      • der magnum says:

        I confirm that removing autoplay fixed the issue.

        The shadow box (which is technically called light box!) was convenient to control the page’s look. We were able to put the picture we wanted when you have low control through YT (3 pictures coming from your video). Moreover, the rest of the page is dark while you watch video. That technic is common for pictures.

  21. Captain Jack says:

    Thank you for clearing this up. My question is why can’t the people at Youtube do what you just did?

  22. pedanticKarl says:

     
    Marina, you did an excellent job as always in reporting technical information that is very informative and very well written. What you say is accurate.

    I would like to add some additional information right from YouTube’s Blog/Help pages.

    An Update On Our View Counts
    March 13, 2009 Posted by: Michelle Schlachta
     
    Video view counts reflect the YouTube community’s interests and the grassroots popularity of videos. We periodically make changes that allow us to display consistent view counts and accurately reflect a “real” view based on video consumption, video streaming and spam filtering.
     
    Unfortunately, a few people still try to artificially manipulate their video’s view counts. Some people game third-party view counts as well. That can make things unfair for everyone.
     
    Recently, we found spamming issues associated with the view counts on a small number of videos. The inflated view count number on these videos will be frozen until actual views catch up to the published, artificial, view count. Also, a few people have commented that their view counts are updating more slowly.
     
    Occasionally the speed with which views update changes — sometimes it’s faster and sometimes it’s slower. But we are always working to make sure that the final view count numbers are an accurate reflection of the community’s interest.
     
    Michelle Schlachta
    Community Manager, The YouTube Team
     

     
     
    YouTube views issues go back as far as 2006 and maybe even earlier. There are a lot of blogs that talk this topic and the problem is that YouTube is not clear on a lot of issues, so there is a lot of speculation about what views mean and how they are tabulated. In other words, what is the definition of a view.

    Marina wrote an excellent article on Views and Honors back in Oct 15, 2008.

    • Captain Jack says:

      Ok I guess they did. Tnks for answering that question before I posted my question. Boy your fast!!!!! :mrgreen:

      Part of the problem about YT not being clear on how views are tabulated is in turn they would revival the secret how the system works and open YT to gamers.
      Something else I notice. People don’t like to read. They would rather watch a video explaining the system. YT needs to realize that many of their viewers don’t like to read. Hence why they are on YT in the first place.

  23. PageDoll says:

    So “embedded” means if you post/embed the video to another web page, that video starts when I open the page and DOESN’T wait for me to push play? Like how it auto-plays on your YT page?

    • Marina says:

      No, you can embed a video to auto play

      • Captain Jack says:

        Speaking of auto play. The issue I found with the play back skipping on some computers. Your videos default to HD, which requires a good video card that can play HD content. I tested this on two city library computers and found this skipping issue on their systems.

        I also went to two coffee shops that had computers for customer use and had the same issue. I wonder how many people don’t know that you need to click on the big red HD button to turn off HD for improved playback? How many people just give up and go elsewhere when they encounter such an issue?

        • pedanticKarl says:

           
          Regarding:
          “Your videos default to HD”

          Hello Captain Jack,
          That is not a true statement. Marina could set the default via a query string in the URL, for example adding &fmt=22 which would play the video in HD mode, if you were to click on one of her links that she is in charge of. But, that is not the case. You are usually not clicking on links Marnia created. You are clicking either on other sites or YouTube links.

          When you visit the HotForWords channel, lets say and you pick a video to play on the video page, that video quality will depend on your settings or the settings of those places that you have visited.

          By default, without logging into your account, any HFW video plays at the lowest quality and one must click on the button to go to HD or HQ.

          If you are logged into your account, or if you are using someone else’s account (ie coffee shop, library), then they are responsible for those settings.

          Log into your YouTube account, click on Account, then look at the far left. See where it says “Playback Setup”?
          That’s where you can change the defaults. That means those places have their radio buttons set to the third position. Tell them to set it to the first radio button.

          The fact that a video skips is either a combination of poor networking (how many places still have 10K stuff on their premises mixed with 100k? Many idiots out there)

          Most, PCs are not adjusted properly cause no one cares. :sad:

          • Captain Jack says:

            Even after the video has fully loaded it’s still skips. Also note when someone logs out of a library computers all the cookies and settings are deleted for security of the guests.

            All I know is that the HD button is lit up red without logging in to YouTube prior to visiting HFW site.

            What’s worse is even with the button off, the skipping decreases yet it’s still there. What is the minimum video card requirements for video playback of HD videos? Then I would like to address how many people/schools/libraries/cafes have or don’t have these cards in their computers?

            I have a third question is how is this affecting everyone one else? I can’t be the only one experiencing this or am I? I didn’t get a response the last time I asked this question.

        • pedanticKarl says:

           
          Hello Captain Jack,
          One of the most popular video cards is the
          Nvidia GeForce 7300 SE which comes in either 256 or 512 MB versions. I have that card with 512 MB.
          Actually, it is a low end card and if I remember correctly it cost somewhere around $45 a few years back.

          Also, you want to make sure that the video card matches the video bus that you have such as PCI Express or whatever, not just PCI.

          But, throwing a video card at any ole system may not solve the issue if the system is built like crap. Those public systems probably have all kinds of anitvirus crap installed like McAffe which sucks and will screw up video viewing. Those public systems also have other kinds of stuff running in the background which will mess stuff up.

          Regarding the HD button being Red, meaning that HD is selected means that they did some tweaking of the Flash video decoder. People just throw things together without thinking.

          You are correct, you are NOT the only one having those issues. I have donated my free time, free of charges to help thousands of people over the last few years get online with video for very little money.

          The public institutions are in shambles for the most part and in fact, one of the richest counties in the US (old money) has the most F*cked up infrastructure of the whole US in roads and technology. It’s pathetic. I have traveled all over the US and Canada and it is a shame what goes on out there.

          In fact, I just talked to the ATT tel man at the B-box down the street, and the stories we shared would make your stomach turn.

          I hope I answered your question. :-)

          • Captain Jack says:

            So what your are saying is that I should go out and buy new video cards for libraries/coffee shops/schools/etc so they can enjoy HD? Im not that rich! Besides most inexpensive computers have built in video on the mother boards. Not an easy fix.

            So if the machines are miss configured I need to visit all these locations and re-configure them?

            Yes it true people just throw things together so they can just collect their paycheck and go to the bar and get drunk. That’s the problem with many managers are getting lazy in quality control of there products and services. I have an old electric shaver that survived a war. My new one was twice the price and is very high tech. The damn thing cuts like crap. It much slower at cutting. The plastic parts break. Shall I go on? People just don’t care anymore about their work. Just look at the US auto industry for example. GM, the worlds largest (formerly) couldn’t give us the best cars and trucks.

            Yes I totally agree with you about the public institutions are in shambles. What’s even worse is these libraries I visited are nearly BRAND NEW. The paint is still drying.
            The problem I see with YouTube going to HD is that they fail to address these issues about lower level machines. They could do a better job of implementing HQ and HD content on other machines.

            I see a larger issue is that how many people are not enjoying Youtube as they could be if YT would better manage the different video systems. Also does this affect YouTube Views?

            I’m well aware about video cards. I had just bought a new card to replace GF 7300 on a box I was going to buy. The guy took my money and ran. That’s the last time I’ll use ebay!

        • Capman911 says:

          Hey Jack mine plays in regular mode when I watch Marina’s YT site. There is a section in your account that says Playback Setup and it lets you play back any video in regular or it lets you permanently set it to play in HD if your graphics card will let you. So maybe your YT site is set to the HD settings without you knowing it. Here is a picture of what the Playback Setup looks like. http://i28.tinypic.com/2lw39c1.jpg

          • Captain Jack says:

            Hi Mike! Thanks for you help on that past issue btw. It really help smooth out the rough edges.

            Im not talking about any setting on the YT pages. Im talking about default setting for Joe Blow that visits HFW site for the first time without having a YT account. I’m also talking about public accessed computer were the systems admin does not allow adjusting any controls on there computers. Default setting are critical to best be compatible for lower powered computer systems that are commonly found.

        • errol says:

          I have the same problem with the video skipping or not syncing with the audio. It is worse in HD. Strangely I do not have this problem with other YouTube video’s. Also while I’m at it the audio could be louder. Other than that these lessons are the highlight of my day.

          • Captain Jack says:

            Errol, thank you for your response. I was sure I was not the only one with this problem.

            I find the audio just fine on my machine. I use the speaker in my monitor. I have a better set of amplified speakers in my storage unit.

  24. greatestpotential says:

    well, at least it generates more comments. that’s good for you, right(?)

  25. Che Volay says:

    Checking in, What the haps?

    Oh it’s gaming your views, ppl are such cheats cuz they got no talent.

  26. greatestpotential says:

    how is this possible??
    323 views and 869 ratings???

    of course the commentor who dares to question gets marked down or perhaps it was the misuse of the perverted 69.

    • leonard says:

      Know now why bread, to eat takes more working hours to earn the [dough]…entertainment cheapens the real value :twisted: of money.

      (Google’s Class A common stock are listed on The NASDAQ National Market under the symbol GOOG. Their Class B stock is not publicly traded. It is used as an IOU to buy other companies that Google can’t really afford, but doesn’t want other people to have, like YouTube Inc for example.)

      …[Oshkosh] :lol:

  27. greatestpotential says:

    so 308 is the magic number then, hmmm…

  28. greatestpotential says:

    hmmm. let me read and find out.

  29. leonard says:

    My feet are wet, not from sweat, but from the veiws of you tube….peace forWords

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