YouTube 10th Anniversary: Ohio Man Yakov Lapitsky Shot ‘Me At The Zoo,’ First-Ever YouTube Video

Ohio man Yakov Lapitsky shot the first-ever YouTube video, “Me At The Zoo,” on April 23, 2005. The 19-second video shows Lapitsky’s friend and YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, saying a few inconsequential words about elephants at the San Diego Zoo in 2005. But being the first-ever YouTube video, it represents a milestone in the history of the internet, which explains why it has received more than 17 million views.

The Daily News reports that Lapitsky, now a professor at the University of Toledo, said he did not realize at the time that he was participating in an experiment that would radically transform the internet.

Karim and his partners, Chad Hurley and Steven Chen, were Paypal employees at the time. They registered the domain name www. YouTube.com on Feb. 14, 2005. But Lapitsky, then a doctoral student at the University of Delaware, does not even recollect the first time he learned about the new idea.

“It’s neat, but I don’t think that much of it. I didn’t think much of it other than it was pretty adorable.”

Another early user of YouTube was Adam Quirk, now of Bloomington, Indiana, but then of Hoboken, New Jersey. He uploaded a video, titled “Vernal Lullaby,” to YouTube during its first week.

Quirk recalls the excitement of video enthusiasts when YouTube first came online.

“It kind of blew us away. The videos just went straight up there to YouTube. It was pretty big for me.”

YouTube’s domain was registered officially in April, 2005. The website was launched experimentally in May and officially in November of 2005.

The site grew phenomenally as the interest in online video streaming expanded with advancing technology. By July 2006, YouTube was receiving 65,000 uploads a day, with one million viewers per month watching more than 100 million videos daily, about 60 percent of all videos being watched online at the time.

Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006.

But today, according to YouTube, there are over one billion unique users who watch billions of hours of video each month and upload about 100 hours of video every minute.

Notable videos in the history of YouTube include Rebecca Black’s 2011 music video “Friday,” which has received a grand total of more than 200 million views in its various incarnations on YouTube. The video, which earned the dubious distinction of the “most disliked video” on YouTube, highlights one of the worst aspects of online culture — hate comments trolling.

YouTube fans will recall one of the most hilarious YouTube videos ever and one of the greatest YouTube hits of all time — the 2007 viral video “Charlie Bit My Finger.”

And finally, probably the most frightful YouTube prank video ever, the September 2014 hit “Mutant Giant Spider Dog.”

Happy 10th anniversary, YouTube!