Why do YouTube views freeze at 301?

Ever wonder why a video on Youtube has 2000 likes but only 301 views during long stretches of its first day run? Well, the Youtube channel numberphile, all about finding the truths behind numbers and idiosyncrasies went out to unravel the less than exciting answer.

Although youtube won’t really discuss what it is they consider an actual view, but part of realizing what is a view is what makes this number to show up for so long.

A long long time ago, when youtube started becoming this big, they realized that they couldn’t keep showing views on real time for a couple of reasons – There were too many views coming in and authenticity. Bots and videos that aren’t what they appear to be or show a misleading thumbnails and are dropped by the viewer just after a few seconds.

The videos we watch are coming from a few servers around the world, about one per continent. Someone watching the video in Europe isn’t watching it on the same server as in Africa. Pretty simple. Every view gets logged and then harvested into the central server, where the views are counted and authenticated.

So that’s why it takes some time to update the view count – they actually need to be counted, and when it comes to successful videos, it takes some time to do this verification. Why 301 then?

Someone actually decided on 300 a long long time ago. For no reason. Just seemed like a nice number. But code works in funny ways. The code line written for 300 views is pretty much this – If (V.C is <=300) then +1. Else go to X.

So, we’re at 299 views. A view comes in from Africa, making it 300. The counter changes to 300, and 301. From there, all views are halted until the log harvest commences. But sometimes we get 301, 302, 303. That’s when simultaneous views come in from different places, making the counter jump from 299 to 302 for example.

No big conspiracy. Just coding.