Now this may be apocryphal but we all like a good story… that’s why fiction sells.
YouTube was came into existence because one of the creators couldn’t find a risquÃ© video online. Which one? Oh the one involving two celebrities dancing rather vigorously at one of the greatest sporting events in the world.
Unless you have been living under a rock all these years, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, also known as the ‘wardrobe malfunction‘ – when Justin Timberlake tore off Janet Jackson’s clothes revealing her right breast adorned by a nipple shield. The other one was “left” to our imagination. Bad pun? I know.
As the story is told in certain circles, Jawed Karim, one of the founders of YouTube couldn’t locate the video and came up with the idea of a repository where people could post videos online.
Karim contacted two of his colleagues at Paypal – Steve Chen and Chad Hurley – and the three of them started bouncing ideas. At one time they had even thought of making a video version of an online dating service because they were influenced by the popular “Hot or Not” rating web site.
Anyway, the domain YouTube.com was registered on 14th of February 2005 (Valentine’s Day) and the first video was posted a few months later on April 23. This video, titled “Me at the zoo” is about 20 seconds long and still exists on YouTube.com. It has Jawed Karim standing in front of the elephant enclosure at the San Diego Zoo.
Google was quick to realise the potential of the video site and started negotiations to buy it. By that time, YouTube was generating loads of traffic – 100 million videos were being watched each day with 65,000 being uploaded daily. The search engine giant finally struck a deal on October 16, 2006 and purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion dollars.
I leave you now with a “somewhat related” bit of trivia.
In November 2006, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment sued the video service. Apparently, their web site, utube.com (note the shorter domain name), was being inundated with visitors looking for videos. Good lord, if I had that web site, I would have made tons of moolah from the extra free traffic instead of suing the company that’s giving all the new visitors. OK, I wouldn’t have been able to sell much of hardware but then I would have set up another company.
Paul Buchheit is credited to have suggested Google's motto - "Don't be evil". He is also responsible for AdSense, the online advertising platform for the search engine giant. [more...]