7 Comments

Summary:

After weeks of speculation about its autoplay view-counting policy and at least one high-profile news story, YouTube has revealed that the company purposefully does not count video autoplays. “Autoplaybacks are not counted toward the visible ‘views’ numbers displayed on the YouTube site because autoplaybacks are not […]

After weeks of speculation about its autoplay view-counting policy and at least one high-profile news story, YouTube has revealed that the company purposefully does not count video autoplays.

“Autoplaybacks are not counted toward the visible ‘views’ numbers displayed on the YouTube site because autoplaybacks are not viewer initiated,” a YouTube spokesperson said via email, adding that viewcounts should be a reflection of the interests and intents of video viewers. “The majority of videos are not affected by this.”

YouTube did not answer follow-up questions aimed at finding out why the majority of videos are not affected. Presumably most embedded videos use YouTube’s default embed code, which requires user interaction to play.

It is possible to tweak the embed code so a video plays automatically each time the page loads. Though this method has historically resulted in higher view counts for video producers, it also has the potential to annoy users and undermine advertiser confidence in the video-sharing site.

YouTube said previously that the company has measures in place to discount false ad impressions.

YouTube revealed its autoplay policy after NewTeeVee inquired about the view counts for a forthcoming story on the breakout hit Imaginary Bitches, which has garnered millions of views over the course of nine episodes. Some of those views, however, seem to come from autoplay embeds in the comment sections of high-traffic MySpace profiles.

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  1. Mitchell D. Stein Sr. Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Did Imaginary Bitches breat any rules? NO…

  2. Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend Is… YouTube – NewTeeVee Station Thursday, July 24, 2008

    [...] The resulting success of the video has caused some public relations problems for YouTube, which relies on its view counts for advertising dollars. The site avows that safeguards are in place to detect false ad impressions, and recently stated that autoplays do not count towards a video’s visible view count. [...]

  3. Mitchell D. Stein Sr. Thursday, July 24, 2008

    I think youtube is throwing Imaginary Bitches under the bus to hide their tracks.

  4. Stefan Hayden Saturday, July 26, 2008

    does that count for youtube’s own site? If you click though to a video it always autoplays. that seems like ti would effect every video if that was the case.

  5. Stefan, as far as we know this only applies for videos outside of YouTube’s site. It wouldn’t make sense on YouTube, where people go explicitly to watch video — though I guess it seems a little hypocritical when you put it like that.

  6. All it takes is for a ‘real’ journalist to embed an autoplaying video on myspace and refresh it a few times to see that autoplays are counted by YouTube. That means that the person at YouTube who said that they were not counted lied.

    The name of the YouTube spokesman is conveniently absent from this article as is any evidence of effort to confirm any of the ‘facts’.

    This is either really sloppy work, Steve Bryant, or you are acting as a shill for a friend at YouTube. (Most likely the latter as YouTube censors all view fraud criticism from its own site).

  7. If this is true it will kill YouTube’s effectiveness for advertisers. The “autoplay” feature is crucial for seeding efforts. LiveVideo allows for a user to choose whether or not to use “autoplay”.

    If this holds, the top YouTube Celebs will quickly see declines in their views & popularity. Almost every sponsored channel on YT is self inflated.

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