YouTube recently announced that it had removed an annoying feature that froze the video count of new videos to “301+” for several hours. The feature has been puzzling users for years, so the company released along with the announcement an infographic that explains the practice in extended detail.
The announcement was made Wednesday by the video streaming service on Twitter. The site resorted to the 301+ practice out of security reasons. A video that got more than 300 views was considered to have potential. So, in order to check whether the views were genuine rather than generated by bots, YouTube froze the view count to 301 for several hours. During that time site operators verified the new views to see whether they were real.
“We’re saying goodbye to 301+ and hello to more up-to-date video views,”
the site announced on Twitter.
YouTube also announced that its team now count the views that belong to “real people”, while they still review the views they are not “confident” that are genuine. A graphic explaining the 301+ practice was also posted on Twitter.
But people have been wondering why the site chose to freeze the count to 301 and no other number. The counter usually gets unstuck over the course of the same day the video reached 300 views, but the phenomenon was deemed a mystery of the Internet for several years. Back in 2012, a blogger managed to unlock the mystery with help from one of the site’s product managers.
The blogger even posted a video detailing the whole process. According to the video, views are recorded on YouTube servers. But after the video reaches 300 views the site checks the extra views to see whether they are real. In past years, some YouTube users used automatic computer programs designed to perform repetitive actions also known as bots to boost views on their content.
So, the company had to enforce 301+ practice to discourage such nefarious practices. But the verification process used to take up to a half day, which drove some content providers crazy thinking that it might be a server-side glitch. Nevertheless, once the verification was done, view count went back to normal.
YouTube explained that views are very similar to currency. So, after they go past a certain threshold, let’s say 300, they need to be verified to prevent fraud. The verification was purely “statistical,” Google’s video streaming service also explained. This means that views were verified one by one before they were verified in batch.
But why 301? YouTube disclosed that it was a random number chosen by its engineers. The code for this feature was “less than or equal to” 300, so an extra view had the chance to sneak in.
Image Source: Business Etc
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