There was something always beautiful and simple about the freeze that would occur on YouTube when a video was doing really well. The little view counter would steadily click upward, counting views as they came in, but if too many views came too fast, the algorithm would get confused and freeze the video at 301 views until it could sort itself out.
I remember my first day at NMR, way back when, I thought I had a killer story because some video by a major creator only had 301 views. I, being presumptive and hyperbolic, wrote an “The End of _____________’s YouTube Career” type piece. And then my bosses sat me down and taught me about not being a dumbass. I don’t know if I’ve learned that lesson, but from that point on at least, I’ve always sort of liked the 301+ view freeze.
We’re saying goodbye to 301+ and hello to more up-to-date video views. pic.twitter.com/33OQuOvxcs
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) August 5, 2015
The trick to figuring out whether a video was doing gangbusters and merely temporarily stalled or it legitimately crapped out at 301 views, of course, was to look at the likes and dislikes. If either of those was bigger than 301, the algorithm was overwhelmed.
Now that’s an artifact of a bygone era. Joining VCRs and public phone booths as old world problems, the 301+ freeze is being phased out by YouTube in favor of a more reflective view-counting system that should essentially keep an accurate count throughout.
Millennials: meet your first “I remember when” moment. One day you’ll tell your kids about the 301 freeze and they just won’t get it.
Share this to signal the end of an era.