Okay, so maybe you couldn’t have been romantically linked to Joe Sugg or PewDiePie, but the dating on YouTube in 2005 part wasn’t a lie. At this year’s SXSW Conference, one of YouTube’s co-founders Steve Chen shared an amazing incite into the beginning period of YouTube’s life on this planet – it was originally intended to be a video dating website.
The idea was started by, as Chen says, “just three guys on Valentine’s Day that had nothing to do”. Founders Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim thought that “dating would be the obvious choice” when it came to deciding what ‘YouTube’ would specialise in, such as letting users upload video blogs of themselves talking about their ideal partners. But after five days of zero uploads, everything changed and the rest is just $1.65 billion dollar history now.
The team wanted YouTube’s dating angle to take off so badly that they even “turned to the website any desperate person would turn to – Craigslist”. Chen and Co offered to pay women $20 to upload videos to their new dating website, but no one came forward on their deal. Because of this, they decided to change up their strategy – “OK, forget the dating aspect, let’s just open it up to any video”. It’s here that we get the iconic ‘Me At The Zoo’ video; the very first YouTube upload featuring co-founder Jawed Karim.
Speaking at the SXSW Conference recently, Chen talks about why they went in the direction of dating video blogs; “We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application? We thought dating would be the obvious choice”. Karim even said that they “had a slogan for it: Tune in, Hook up”. Thank god they changed!
Thankfully, their minds were swayed and we have the social media goliath we all know and love today, but with big time dating apps such as Tinder and Grinder proving that photos say more than videos when it comes to match-making, we’re happy they changed YouTube before it was too late!