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YouTube: Five Years of Digital Documentation
By: Jeff Louis
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5 Years YouTube

Five years ago this month, YouTube made its debut. 

It's hard to believe, considering that it seems like YouTube's been around forever. Nonetheless, May 2005 saw Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim launch the online video site from a small room in San Mateo, CA. In the half decade that followed, YouTube leaped from beta stage to phenomenon and changed the world around us forever.

Today the site receives 24 hours of video footage per minute, playing more than 2 billion videos per day. Hurley serves as the company's CEO. Google purchased YouTube in October 2006 for $1.65 billion, which marked Google's largest purchase at that time and their second largest ever. (In 2007, Google paid $3.1 billion for DoubleClick).

Its been a long five years, or so it seems. Over this span, YouTube changed dramatically. In the early days, YouTube was best-known for crazy pet videos, stupid human tricks, and the like. Today Google is an information-sharing portal, famous for viral videos, informational how-to segments, and the rise of video bloggers or vloggers. (Video blogs are created when a vlogger creates a video of himself of herself or an event and then publishes online.)

It's an outlet used to reach an ever-growing online public, as well as a way to capture the world's attention. The Iranian election protests and subsequent violence were recorded from within Iran and uploaded to YouTube because traditional media sources had been shut out of the country. 

YouTube, marked a risky purchase in 2006, just might be Google's ultimate acquisition. As the site and its users mature, its content follows suit. The relatively quiet launch late last year of Vevo, YouTube's online music video channel, serves as a perfect example of YouTube's future possibilities. (Vevo resulted from a deal struck between Google and three of the four major music labels: Universal, Sony, and EMI.) In the coming months, YouTube is expected to unveil Google TV.

However, YouTube's popularity has failed to earn a single dollar thus far, mainly because operating costs are high and ad revenues low. That is a trend Google is changing, and large corporations -- once a rarity -- occupy entire channels on the site. Nike, for instance, has dedicated multiple channels for its products; the content is made up of user-submitted videos, broadcast commercials, video "stories," and instructional cuts.

To commemorate the five-year mark, YouTube created the "Five Year's" Channel and wants users to submit videos on what the site means to them and/or how it's altered their lives

Give back, and tell they world your story. Happy fifth, YouTube! 



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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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