YouTube turned 15 years old Thursday.
The streaming platform is the grand dame of internet video, and as the internet and social media dominance has catapulted, so has the streaming channel. What started as an opportunity for three friends to make some social connections online has bore a generation of internet-famous cats, musicians and hair gurus. Some might say it even paved the way for the now-ubiquitous streaming phenomenon of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu.
Though the platform has drawn billions of views and millions of subscribers, many may not know how it came to be. Here are a handful of trivia tidbits you may not know about the streaming pioneer:
YouTube started as a dating site.
According to Digital Trends, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim activated the www.youtube.com domain name. It was originally envisioned, according to several retellings, as an online dating service called Tune in, Hook up. That idea was a huge fail for the Paypal employees.
However, the website became popular for uploading videos. When the trio realized they couldn’t find videos of major events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and Janet Jackson’s infamous wardrobe malfunction, they opted to upload the footage to their site.
The first video was arguably boring and short.
The first YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo,” was uploaded on April 23, 2005. The less-than-20-second video features co-founder Karim at the San Diego Zoo and currently has more than 90 million views and 2.9 million likes.
The most viewed video on the streaming service is a hit Latinx music video.
“Despacito” by Luis Fonsi, featuring Daddy Yankee, is the most viewed video on YouTube, with more than 6.7 billion views as of April 2020.
It is the third most viewed site in the world.
According to statistics from Alexa, YouTube ranked as the third most visited website on the internet after Google and Facebook.
One of its most successful stars isn’t even 10 years old yet.
Ryan of Ryan’s Toy Reviews has become a YouTube sensation during the last three years. His YouTube channel generally catches the internet personality playing with toys with his parents.
The simple concept has now garnered more than 24 million subscribers. Outside of driving traffic to YouTube, the pint-sized social media influencer has also driven major revenue into his bank account. According to Forbes magazine, Ryan was YouTube’s top earner in 2019, bringing in $26 million.
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