Blog Post

YouTube No Longer Counting Autoplays?

Based on anecdotal evidence from several top YouTube video producers, we have reason to believe the site has stopped counting views from videos set to play automatically on pages around the web.

We first took notice of the issue when popular producers contacted us saying they’d seen a dramatic drop-off in the number of views they receive for new videos. It’s possible that YouTube has adjusted more than one aspect of its view count methods, and it’s also possible that the view count methods are just malfunctioning. But enough people are mentioning the autoplay issue that we think there’s a good chance that’s the issue.

We asked YouTube to comment, but haven’t been back. We will update this post when we do.

While YouTube videos automatically start playing on its own pages, when they are embedded on other web pages they are set by default to wait for a user to click the play button. However, it’s possible to tweak the embed code so a video plays automatically each time someone visits a page.

YouTube has reason to fight back against gaming of its view counts to maintain the integrity of its service as well as its relationships with partners and advertisers. In a prominent recent example, Avril Lavigne fans had created a page that autoplayed and auto-refreshed the video for her single “Girlfriend” in an attempt to make it the most popular YouTube video of all time and knock off the long-reigning champion, “Evolution of Dance.” (“Evolution” is still ahead, due in part to anti-Avril backlash; it currently has 91.2 million views while “Girlfriend” has 90.8 million.) In another case, a fan-produced video for a Brazilian pop song was removed from YouTube after it rose to the top of the leaderboard through unclear methods.

Even if YouTube revenue share doesn’t quite provide a living for many of its popular user partners, their popularity on the service is hugely important to them. One prominent YouTube producer complains,

“This COMPLETELY screws up our business, and we’re getting frustrated that nothing’s happening. The one big metric we tell our funders about is the # of views, and now we have no idea what they are! Our entire distribution strategy is based around driving views up on youtube with our pretty sizable audience, and then encouraging them to spread it to social sites like digg and elsewhere.”

14 Responses to “YouTube No Longer Counting Autoplays?”

  1. I Yell BULLSH_T !!!

    I find this attempt by YouTube to monitor its view count to be as inaccurate as allowing the count to continue even if the video has been set on autoplay when it gets embeded on any website.

    I have many videos that have just stopped getting views once the count hit 300. This would be very unfair to anyone looking to gain a partnership with YouTube.And seems unfair since some videos cost money to produce and I can prove many videos are not embeded in auto play mode, they just got spread around the web on many different websites…

    YouTube has not stopped their partners videos from gaining more views by having autoplayed vides. Shane Dawson would be an example. If you plan to create a following on YouTube from this point on good luck. I would suggest someone create a new site for people to post videos with out YouTube trying to make a buck ..

    As for myself I feel that YouTube will suffer in the end for not allowing new partners to be paid for their hard work. YouTube is just using the rest of us to make money for their paid partners. BullSh_t !
    Cody Ammons

  2. There seems to be a major problem on youtube at the moment which I have only came to realize after months of suspicion. My viewcount for videos seems to have not been counted, in particular for embeded videos. For example, I have a youtube video posted on and it has had 256 views yet according to youtube, only 1% of the total viewers of 301 come from funnyjunk, this doesn’t add up. the same video is on several sites too and according to the results in total, this video should have around 500 views so I’m guessing youtube has stopped counting embedded views altogether, yet it still counts 1% of them, anyone have any clues to why this is?

  3. William

    Related to this is how sorting by view count never tells the whole story.
    For instance, if you sort by view count, say This Month, you have videos on the first page with far fewer views than videos from Today.
    Is Youtube arbitrarily promoting some vids?

  4. IMHO, a part of the audience coming from autoplays is not really an audience made of interested viewers: you jump on a web site, it autoplays an embedded Youtube video which you stop immediately, it has no to be accounted for one viewing.

    I think that advertisers largely share that opinion, and now they want fair metrics, based on the real audience…

  5. It makes perfect sense to do this, and I wonder why they didn’t figure it out sooner. Maybe it will discourage people from embedding autoplays, even! What heaven.