Well, they probably can. But they aren't.
Last month I was talking about Youtube and the relative difficulty for independent film makers to tell how many viewers they are really getting there, because of the profusion of multiple uploads that popular titles seem to receive. Well, inspired by a sudden spike on one of our own uploads I decided to take the time to work it out, and it proved a fascinating anthropological study.
Calculating your hits on Youtube is difficult, because often the numbers shown in a search listing are cached from some time back, and clicking through to the link can reveal that a lot more people have actually viewed said file since. Also, it depends on the search terms you use. I tried to enter every likely word combination I could think of, but you still can't account for people who have uploaded your movie under completely the wrong name, entered it in another language or alphabet, or deviously claimed it as their own work. Taking these factors into consideration, the figures produced below can be seen as not only highly approximate, but as fairly low estimates.
Finally, I know for a fact that almost all of these views have been in the last six months, because I purged Youtube of dodgy pirate copies before that date - something you could realistically do back then, but couldn't possibly manage now. However, I suspect that the vast majority have been in the last two to three months, as I distinctively recall being disappointed by the casual glance I took at our viewing figures back then. I can only attribute this to what has been the 'year of Youtube' and as a side effect of the journey towards 'web 2.0'.
So anyways. Way in the lead is that which we lovingly refer to in-house as The Python Film with a reputable 650,000+ (six hundred, fifty thousand). Not bad for a film that has been active online for more than five years and doesn't even have a proper title.
Following suit is the ever popular Spider-Man: The Peril of Doc Ock, with something in excess of 104,000 (one hundred, four thousand). Spidey still isn't getting quite the same viewing figures as Python (on Youtube anyway) but it has by far the greatest number of 'bootleg' copies.
After that is The Han Solo Affair with a reputable 23,000 (twenty three thousand). I got bored of counting them all after that.
As I said last month however, the true marker of success on this crazy interweb of ours, is to find out that a 12 year old boy in Mexico has painstakingly created a stop-motion fan sequel to one of your films. Well Poncho, who bought us this Doc Ock sequel/remake has done it again with Night at the Graveyard - a sequel of sorts to our earliest bricksploitation film All of the Dead. Now that's love.