By Mike Filardi, Mary Kate Buckman, Aaron Petit, and Thomas DiMarco
The video sharing website, YouTube, was created on February 14th in the year 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. This internet start up had small beginnings, but was helped along by Sequoia Capital and Artis Capital Management, two venture capitalist firms that saw potential in the website. They, along with PayPal CEO Roelof Botha, invested money for the website’s creation, upkeep, and early innovations. These innovations include the ability for users to subscribe to the creators they liked, upload videos via cell phone, and host longer videos. These and many other changes were added to the original YouTube. Then, in 2006, it was bought by Google. This brought the more money for YouTube to invest in adding features and fixing flaws in its website, doing so allowed it to stand apart from many other websites. YouTube entered Web 2.0 by allowing for users to comment on videos as well as share, rate, and “like” them. It also allowed for a good deal of customization in user profiles and for what kind of content would be recommended to them. This, plus new technology made YouTube extremely popular. New technology, such as those enabling increased broadband access and software like Adobe Flash, has made it easier for people to become both consumers and creators of YouTube content. It has brought in many new users. With this success, YouTube, was able to form marketing and advertising partnerships with many companies, the first of which was with NBC. This made it so that YouTube could make money off the videos it hosted by allowing for ads, and those ads attracted new creators since they were able to monetize content with revenue from those ads.
As part of that deal, YouTube would notify the company of instances in which their copyrighted material was being posted, something that many copyright holders were concerned about. Both then and now, YouTube has had to deal with its users uploading copyrighted content without the consent of the copyright owners. In the early days of YouTube, the file sharing site Napster became infamous due to its court battles with the music industry over the illegal sharing of copyrighted songs. YouTube, in a move to avoid such problems, decided to take a policy of regulating their content, flagging potentially ilegal uses, and notifying the holders of the copyright. The company has also set up the means to allow for copyright holders to request the takedown of such content. This is still a problem today, many of YouTube’s content creators use copyrighted materials in their content and cite Fair Use in defense, how YouTube handles this will likely determine the future of their company.
Youtube was preceded by other video sharing websites like “shareyourworld” and “vimeo.” They offered the same basic service, but none of them ever reached the popularity that Youtube would go on to receive. That popularity is due in large part to the user friendly design of the website which attracted a lot of early adapters. Those were the people who chose to host their videos on Youtube before it was established as the top video hosting website. The website gained that prestige due to having such a large user base. The force that led to this is the widespread availability of video cameras and basic editing tools that came with the introduction of smart phones. This in turn led to an increased interest in “ordinary people” to attempt to become famous via the internet, and Youtube proved to be able to make that happen for some.
As YouTube increased in its popularity, YouTube’s popularity evolved from many different forms starting off as a basic video making site inspired by others. Because of Web 2.0 many frequent users of YouTube are able to use there video making skills to the test whether it be making a channel or simply testing out what they can do. Video making and especially streaming itself grew because of the innovators in YouTube. Because of the Web 2.0 of YouTube, streaming has evolved to examples being Twitch and even news casting on famous networks like CNN. The essay in the textbook explains how “the popularity of Web 2.0 applications demonstrates that, regardless of their levels of technical expertise, users can wield technologies in more active ways than had been apparent previously to traditional media producers and technology innovators”. YouTube has not only evolved in videos, but in video making as a whole.