YouTube was and still is still a mass craze. It is a video-sharing website that features home-made videos from creators, and also professionally made content from companies, experts, forums, and many other participants. You can like and comment on videos, add videos to your favorites, make playlists, subscribe to channels, report bad content, and do many other actions to videos you watch. It is a highly interactive and lucrative platform for many users. YouTube crosses generations, as everyone from small children to senior citizens enjoy utilizing the application’s features. However, how much do we know about its beginnings and development? This essay will discuss the foundations of this popular platform, and how it grew into one of the leading websites on the internet.
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Three employees of PayPal—Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim—started coming up with ideas for a site that would allow users to easily access videos in early 2005. They had several concepts floating around in their talks, such as, “a dating website called “Tune In, Hook Up”, which allowed users to post videos of themselves for others to view and decide whether or not to “hook up” with them. Sadly, no one was willing to make use of the service and the concept failed. Fortunately, the platform’s video uploading and posting technology was sound, and when the group had a discussion about how hard it was to find a video online of Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction”, during the 2004 Superbowl Halftime show, a concept began to form in their collective hormone-soaked brains” (“The History of YouTube”). The idea of a public video-sharing website sprung from this incident—which would be the first of its kind on the internet.
The domain www.youtube.com was activated on February 14th of 2005. After developing the site over the next few months, the team approached investors to fund their project. Sequoia Capital made an $11.5 million investment and Artis Capital management gave $8 as an investment as well. Their first headquarters was above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in San Mateo, California (“Ready for Its Close-Up”).
In April of 2005, the first YouTube video was posted. According to Phrasee, “It was an 18 second clip of YouTube founder Jawed Karim standing in front of elephants at the zoo; it was appropriately entitled “Me at the zoo”’ (“The History of YouTube”). This video can still be viewed on the site. From this first video and more testing, the beta version of the website was released to the public in May of 2005. Since its release, several major companies took interest in the platform’s advertising potential. Nike was one of the first to see its capabilities. According to Business Insider, “In September 2005, YouTube got its first one million-hit video. The video was a Nike ad that went viral. It was a clip of Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho receiving his pair of Golden Boots” (Dickey, Megan Rose). This advertisement and several more hit videos caught the attention of the public and companies alike.
With this success, YouTube officially launched out of beta in December of 2005. At the time of the official launch, the website was already receiving eight million views a day. But this is a small number in terms of growth. YouTube grew at a rapid rate, that by June of 2006, it stated that 65,000 new videos were being made a day, and that they were receiving over 100 million views daily. With more and more rapid growth, on October 9th of 2006, Google announced that it had acquired YouTube for 1.65 billion in Google stock. Just a little over a year of YouTube becoming an activated domain, it had become so popular and famous that the technology giant Google saw its great potential and decided the time was ripe to acquire it. In Google’s hands, YouTube introduced advertisements, live recording, payment for creators, and much more.
The beginnings of YouTube started from an idea from three employees of PayPal of sharing videos across the internet without a problem. Before YouTube, individual videos were posted on websites, but having a single website dedicated to archiving and collecting videos for the public to see at their own volition was a fresh idea. Their concept was such a hit that in only six months of its existence, big companies were posting advertisements there and millions of views a day were being counted. And, only a little after one year, Google set its sights on acquiring the website to develop it even further. Now, it is the second-most popular website on the internet.
“The History of YouTube.” Phrasee, 17 Dec. 2018, phrasee.co/the-history-of-youtube/.
“Ready for Its Close-Up.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 Oct. 2006, www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/06/AR2006100600660.html?noredirect=on.
Dickey, Megan Rose. “The 22 Key Turning Points In The History Of YouTube.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 15 Feb. 2013, www.businessinsider.com/key-turning-points-history-of-youtube-2013-2#in-september-2005-youtube-got-its-first-one-million-hit-video-4.
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