Eleven years ago today, YouTube was launched by three employees of PayPal simply because they were having a hard time sharing and finding videos of current events online. Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim were the triad that changed the internet forever.
How Did It Start?
Depending on who you ask, the story about the creation of YouTube happened one of two ways. Chad and Steve say that they were inspired to create a video sharing site after they were having a hard time sharing a video of a dinner party that the two men were at. Originally, Chad and Steve wanted YouTube to be an online dating site.
Jawed denies that origin story, and states that the YouTube was created over a nipple. During the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show, Janet Jackson was the victim of a wardrobe malfunction in which her nipple was said to have been exposed on live TV. Jawed had a difficult time finding the video of it online, and thought there had to be a better way to share videos.
Sequoia Capital was the venture capital firm that gave the trio the money they needed to develop YouTube. Sequoia Capital invested a total of $11.5 million. A beta test site was established in May, 2005, and the fully-functioning site went completely online for the first time on December 15, 2005. Ten months after the official launch of YouTube, Google purchased the company for $1.65 billion. Based on the investment and stake in the company that Sequoia Capital had, it is estimated that the venture capital firm ended up with $495 million after Google acquired the video-sharing site.
The first video ever uploaded to YouTube was a video of Jawed Karim, who recorded his visit to the San Diego Zoo. The 18-second long video has a total of 29,165,599 views and 196,542 comments.
In July, 2006, YouTube announced that 65,000 videos were being uploaded every day and the site was getting over 100 million hits per day.
May, 2007, is when internet pranksters started the “Rickroll” phenomenon. Rickrolling was the act of getting someone to watch a video, and after the viewer was interested, the video changed to the music video of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The song is considered a one-hit wonder, but is a YouTube sensation with views of 179,146,916.
On July 15, 2012, Psy’s “Gangnam Style” was uploaded. The video became the first to break 1 billion views, and is currently the most-viewed YouTube video of all time, with a total of 2,518,391,538.
By 2014, YouTube was having 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.
Last year, YouTube launched YouTube Red. Red is a paid service that allows people to watch videos uninterrupted by commercials.
The launch of YouTube changed the internet, and people, forever. Tens of thousands of people have started their own YouTube channels, essentially becoming stars of their own TV show. Some of these people have become millionaires due to the popularity of their channels. Pewdiepie has the most popular channel on YouTube, where viewers can watch him play games online and hear his views on them. The last financial report stated that Pewdiepie made $7.4 million in 2014. That total is nothing compared to the billions of dollars that YouTube has made off of his channel. Although becoming a YouTube millionaire is rare, plenty of YouTube stars make a comfortable living as viral stars.
Like Google, there is virtually nothing that you can’t find on the video sharing site. Tutorials for fixing stuff, music videos, movie trailers, crazy pranks, and life advice are just a tiny sample of the videos that can be discovered on YouTube.
Maybe one of you will become a YouTube star some day.
Has YouTube changed the world? What are some of your favorite topics and channels on YouTube?
[Image via AP Photo/Danny Moloshok]