One of my friends asked whether the hits on her youtube account were genuine as they have leapt from nothing when she started 3 months ago to 1025 just now. Genuine and the internet are not two words I would personally choose to put together. There are enough fake images on the internet and enough people advertising clicks on websites etc to put to bed any myth that any form of internet counter is genuine.
The only truth that can be held as evidence is the money. Where's the money? Looking at my own youtube channel, I see that over the time since the channel was started there have been 4,185 views. That represents 5,516 estimated minutes watched, according to youtube counters. Only 5 of the top ten videos have earned any money at all since they were monetized two years ago. Since then they have earned a grand total of $2.96 which is broadly equivalent to nine tenths of a gallon of gasoline. That's literally not going to get me very far!
You're probably familiar with the photography business I attempted to run for a little while. Somebody gave me the hard sell on starting it and so I did then castigated me for not making any money. I have absolutely no idea why anybody would have wanted to give me a hard sell on photography as a business - particularly in a failing economy were luxuries would be the first things to be curtailed. Needless to say, the individual concerned and I are no longer acquainted. Because I had the business I kept trying to make a go out of it, throwing more money into advertising to a non-existent market. By the time I pulled the chain on it, it had become obvious that trying to sell photography in Columbia South Carolina was like trying to sell a traditional breakfast of sausage, bacon and eggs in the middle of Jerusalem.
Trimming costs was the number one activity of the business. The Yellow Pages advertising was cancelled as it generated just 3 calls a year, none of which resulted in business. Then the paid website was cancelled as was the paid domain name since the internet resulted in no calls whatsoever. Indeed, the hit counters showed no real activity either. No matter how one slices it, there was no money coming in. All the usual slugs would slither out from under their rocks to suggest ways of improving things and would all want money to which the answer was that they could have a percentage of the profit if their ideas produced results. None of them took me up on that because they knew darned well they were snake oil salesmen. In the good old days, we used to tar and feather people like that. It's a shame we don't do this any more.
The key is - does it make money? If it makes money, it's business. If it doesn't make money, it's a hobby. This is what a lot of people do not understand. The internet might make money but is largely a hobby. $2.96 sounds like a profit until you realise that the $2.96 has to cover internet connection, electricity, wear and tear on equipment etc. There's no way in tarnation that $2.96 will cover even a month's worth of internet usage. Even trimming it right back by using solely public wifi, it would still cost more than $2.96 in shoe leather just walking to a wifi area on a daily basis.
So, are the youtube hits genuine? Only if they make money and the money ends up in your bank account. Does youtube make a profit? Not for me - my internet costs me $55 a month. It's not a business. It's a hobby until my youtube income exceeds $1,000 a year.