[UPDATE] PSA: YouTube’s Channel Search Is Broken; Redirects Users to a ‘Viral Buffet’


While searching for a particular video on our YouTube channel, we stumbled across a bug which refreshed the channel page as soon as we searched for anything using the channel search bar.

We were able to replicate the bug a number of times, with different results. Not only did the page refresh and take us back to the channel’s home page a number of times, it also brought up the “This channel does not exist” prompt. Eager to learn more about the matter, when we tried to replicate the bug on other channels and we were greeted with a completely different issue.

Youtube bug channel doesnt exist

Every time we searched for any random keyword using the channel’s search bar, we were redirected to a YouTube channel named Viral Buffet. The channel, which just has a total of three videos and around 72,000 subscribers, initially popped up only on every other try, but soon thereafter, it was appearing every single time.

YouTube bug viral buffet

Recreating the bug on our channel is rather inconsistent and we’ve been getting different results every single time. However, Viral Buffet has remained a constant while trying to replicate the bug. For context, we tried to replicate the bug on prominent channels such as LinusTechTips, Unbox Therapy, MKBHD, and we received the same result every single time. We were also successfully able to replicate the bug across various devices.

It’s worth noting that YouTube recently suffered a major hack which affected a number of VEVO channels. The hack, which was orchestrated by a group called Kuroi’SH & Prosox, not only resulted in a number of popular videos being taken down, but also led to several videos getting their names changed. YouTube was able to tackle the issue promptly and the videos along with their titles have been restored to their original state.

Update: (April 11, 2018)

Looks like in-channel search is still down. While we are no longer being sent to Viral Buffet, we do get the “This channel does not exist” error page when searching within a channel page.

comment Comments 12
  • I found a Fix (well seemingly a fix). When looking for a solution to get back to the old layout it seem to also fix the search problem. I installed a extension (chrome) called Tampermonkey it allows you to automatically change the Script on a website.
    2 After installing click on the icon and select Dashboard,
    3 Then press the plus sign to add new script.
    4 To disable the Polymer (new layout) Copy and paste this script
    // ==UserScript==
    // @name YouTube Polymer Disable
    // @match *://www.youtube.com/*
    // @exclude *://www.youtube.com/embed/*
    // @grant none
    // @run-at document-start
    // ==/UserScript==
    var url = window.location.href;
    if (url.indexOf(“disable_polymer”) === -1) {
    if (url.indexOf(“?”) > 0) {
    url += “&”;
    } else {
    url += “?”;
    url += “disable_polymer=1”;
    window.location.href = url;
    5 Then save.

    then just go to youtube NOrmally and it should be searching like normal, or as good as normal. out of the 10 different channels I searched in I had to try a search twice to get results only once.

    For those that need a video on how to.

  • It only started doing that about a week or so for me. It stopped taking me to “Viral Buffet” and now just takes me to the “This Page Does Not Exist” page. Annoying as F&%$, but clicking the back button takes me to my search results. They really need to get their S#!& together…….

  • If you read the discussions on Viral Buffet’s youtube page, you’ll see it’s been going on for 6 years or more.

  • its only happening on chrome, firefox, edge when I tired explore and it searches normally.

  • I still get Viral Buffet sometimes aswell as “Channel Does Not Exist”! It’s more than likely part of the hack that’s happened recently, and YouTube probably know about this and are working to fix it as soon as possible!

  • So I’m not crazy. I encountered probably three different symptoms today when attempting to search channels for individual videos. Sometimes it simply resulted in the full catalog of videos, sometimes it said “channel does not exist”, and twice it brought me to a totally different channel… although I’m not sure it was the “viral buffet” one you saw. Anyway… glad it’s not just me.

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