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While most of us tend to spend Valentine’s Day emptying our wallets in an effort to impress our significant other (and subsequently, helping the local restaurant and florist industries to stay afloat for yet another year), eight years ago, three guys named Chad, Steve and Jawed decided they weren’t going to conform to this notion and instead, started work on a website that quite literally changed the world; YouTube.
They officially registered the domain YouTube.com for a few dollars on February 14th 2005 and just over a year later, sold the website to Google for $1.65 billion; so not a bad ROI then.
There’s a whole host of reasons that the site was so successful with the most obvious being that they managed to create a product that was in high demand at the right time, and did it well. I remember the times before YouTube and I remember embedding music video codes on my Piczo site (yes, I was a teenager), often struggling to find the code I needed on the poor selection of sites available. Needless to say, YouTube solved this problem within just a year-or-two of operations and opened up a world of other, user-generated content too.
I think another huge reason was so successful is the fact that it marketed itself. Every time a user embeds a video from YouTube on their site/blog, the YouTube branding is prominent on the video player and this alone would have introduced a huge number of people to YouTube. Sure, it might seem like an obvious tactic now, but back in 2005 it wasn’t something that every company was doing.
However, I think the main reason for YouTube’s success is the almost democratic nature of the site. The journey YouTube has been on over the past few years has been governed almost entirely by its users as they’re the ones uploading the content. Essentially, it’s this democratic nature and community-oriented experience that’s at the heart of just about every hugely successful website out there.
Think about the sites you visit on a daily basis for example; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace (back in the day), Instagram and even Google to an extent – their users are at the heart of them all as essentially, it’s the user-generated content that drives the sites forward.
So, who should we thank for the success of YouTube? Ourselves. We made the site what it is today.
Of course, none of it would have been possible without its founders, investors, a great initial concept and a number of great decisions made over the past eight years but these days, it’s the community that drives the site.
History of YouTube Infographic
Here’s a brief history of the YouTube.com site from formation to the present day.