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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

YouTube’s New Most Popular Video (Or Is It?)

YouTube’s leaderboard as of recently show a new #1 spot for the most watched video of all time. The video (shown below) isn’t too bad – and the ways of the internets are unfathomable – but still curiously mundane for occupying the top ranking. Titled “CANSEI DE SER SEXY Music is My Hot Hot Sex,” it’s a neon-colors fan-made production showing people dancing and posing to a song also used in an iPod ad.

Using the YouTube API, Andy Baio of did a little research into potential anomalies by analyzing the views vs social activity per view ratio. He came up with findings that make him conclude the numbers may be faked, though he’s not completely sure. Andy adds, “there’s still a possibility that this torrent of traffic is coming from a legitimate external source, but it seems increasingly unlikely. I’m pretty sure it’s either a bug or some form of cheating, but I’d love to hear theories.”

In the meantime, it should become harder to research the numbers behind this video, because now a lot of people may be checking it out just to see what the buzz of the new #1 is about. It may or may not have been a faked phenomenon when it started out – but now it’s a real one for sure.

New #1: Cansei De Ser Sexy (added April 2007)

Old #1: The Evolution of Dance (added April 2006)

Also see the YouTube leaderboard.

[Hat tip to James Xuan!]

Update: Andy Baio followed up with an interview with the video’s creator. Translated from Italian, Clarus Bartel says: “Never would I have imagined that such an ugly video, made on a whim, would make it to the top of the charts. (...) I get constant messages accusing me of being a hacker, when i barely know how to turn a computer on and off.” Clarus adds that he’s deleting hundreds of insults from the video comments every day, which he says may explain the odd views to comments ratio. “But for the rest of this absurd occurrence, I have no explanation.”


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