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Screenshot by Business Insider via YouTube

Here's why the view count on new YouTube videos always stops at 301

Why doesn’t it stop at 300, or 299?

MOST PEOPLE HAVE come across this confusing quirk of YouTube.

You’ve come across some viral video, be it a surfboarding seal or a dog having a meltdown over its own reflection in a mirror. After opening it up, you glance below the video to see just how viral it has gone – but the views are only a rather vague “301+”.

If you go back to the video in a few hours or the next day, the views would have suddenly jumped considerably, revealing that thousands of people watched the video.

Numberphile addressed the issue, and managed to find a Youtube analytics guru, Ted Hamilton, to explain it.

301+ appears when the video accumulates enough views to merit YouTube taking a closer look to ensure that they’re all real.

Closer look

While the video can still be viewed, and views recorded, they will not appear until YouTube analyse who was watched the video using a statistical verification process.

This is to ensure the views haven’t been manipulated – for example, by using bots.

Ted Hamilton said that Youtube sees views as a currency.

“So, a significant effort must be made to eliminate counterfeit views,” he explained.

Hamilton noted that when a video has a misleading preview or title, and the analytics show a lot of people clicking in only to immediately stop watching, some of these might not be added to the final total.

Any other suspect views will be disregarded.

But why does it stop at 301? And not 300, or 209?

Turns out this is simply an idiosyncrasy dating back to the early days of YouTube. When the code was written to dictate when the views should be analysed in more detail, a less than or equal to sign was used, instead of less than. This means that the views must reach over 300 for the effect to kick in.

Confused? Brady Haran of Numberphile explains it in more detail below:

Numberphile / YouTube

Read: This brilliant Tumblr celebrates sad, wistful YouTube comments >

More: Indie music labels call in the big guns in their fight with YouTube >

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