12 facts you probably did not know about YouTube

There are some pretty amazing facts about YouTube you probably did not know about. For instance, you might not even be able to remember a time before YouTube, where people go to watch videos.

YouTube has certainly transformed the way that we use the Internet and even though many other websites have imitated their style, none have quite come close. No doubt YouTube is one of the giants of the digital age. Here are 12 things you probably did not know about YouTube.

  • We partly have Janet Jackson’s Superbowl nip-slip to thank for the creation of YouTube. One of YouTube’s founders was struggling to find videos of major events online in 2004. This included global events like the Indian Ocean tsunami as well as trivial pop culture events like Janet Jackson’s moment of embarrassment while performing with Justin Timberlake. This difficulty was one of the reasons the team of founders got together and created the video sharing platform we all know as YouTube.
  • Before it became a video sharing and uploading platform, YouTube began as a dating site. Before the co-creators could provide the world with a place to find Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate, they created YouTube as a dating site. The early 2005 version shows a very basic homepage asking if the user was a male or female, who they were seeking and what age range they were interested in.
  • The very first YouTube video uploaded was called ‘Me at the zoo.’ One of the co-founders Jawad Kareem uploaded a video of himself at the San Diego Zoo and it became the first YouTube video. Kareem explains that he is in front of the elephant enclosure and thinks the elephants along with the trunks are cool. It was pretty basic and only 19 seconds long, but it has 34 million views.

facts you probably did not know about YouTube


  • The first YouTube content creator to hit 1 million subscribers was Fred. YouTubers have firmly immersed themselves into popular culture as well as internet culture with many of them starting their own huge businesses, writing books and getting mainstream TV shows through their YouTube channels. The first to hit 1 million subscribers though was a 15 year old from Nebraska in 2009.
  • Psy’s hit ‘Gangnam Style’ was the first YouTube video to hit 1 billion views. Just before Christmas in 2012, Psy made history and broke YouTube’s video views counter. One YouTubers actually came up with a conspiracy that Gangnam style was related to the 2012 doomsday. He was obviously wrong.
  • In 2013, 45% of users had uploaded a video featuring their pet. Nearly half of all users have uploaded a video of one of their pets to YouTube platform. There are apparently over 2 million cat videos on YouTube and dog videos are close to double this number.
  • YouTube’s last reported revenue was 200 million dollars in 2008. YouTube doesn’t officially release their figures, but Forbes predicted their revenue to be at 200 million dollars in 2008. Eight years later, it was rumoured to be between 4 and 5 billion. Currently, YouTube’s net worth is over $100 billon.
  • Various countries around the world have either permanently or temporarily blocked YouTube. China is one of the most notable examples. YouTube remains blocked in their country. Many other nations have blocked it’s access as a result of finding offensive content. For example, Iran blocked YouTube when a love making video of a famous Iranian actress appeared on the platform.
  • For April Fool’s Day 2008, YouTube ‘rickrolled’ all of their visitors. Rickrolling involves linking someone to Rick Astley’s catchy 1987 hit ‘Never Going To Give You Up’. When they are expecting to be linked to something completely different, YouTube got in on the action in 2008 by Rick rolling their visitors with every video on their homepage.
  • YouTube’s three founders worked at PayPal before they started working together. The three founders were quite pivotal in PayPal history with one designing the logo. They also initially funded YouTube with the bonuses they received from working at PayPal and then they left to work on YouTube full-time.
  • Ronaldinho’s touch of gold night advert was the first YouTube video to reach 1 million views. Uploaded in September 2005, this commercial hit 1 million views before anything else and it featured the world-famous Brazilian footballer receiving a pair of gold night football boots. The original isn’t available anymore but there are plenty of reloads which have well over a million views.


  • YouTube broadcast the world’s first free online sporting events the 2010 Indian Premier League. This was the first time a major sporting event was broadcast live and for free. This deal included every country in the world except the US and the streaming deal was rumoured to be worth $50 million. YouTube really has an incredible digital company. They have paved the way for many online platforms, created something brand new and cemented themselves in popular culture. They regularly break records and now they have been bought out by Google.

Related: Viral video of an aggressive dance gets people talking on social media.

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