YouTube has seen a lot of changes in its 10 years; as people’s uses and needs on the site have changed, a lot of features have been added, changed or even scrapped. Many times the community has protested (and many times they’ve learnt that it was probably for the best).
But looking back at some of the old features of YouTube always gives us some major nostalgia; so with a little help from our favourite old-school vlogger, AmazingPhil (and a lot of help from the Wayback Machine), we’re going to take you on an epic nostalgia trip of all the things we miss from the simpler days of the site…
1. 5-Star Ratings
It’s safe to say that Phil is a “5-star vlogger”, but back in the day he literally was (most of the time)! YouTube phased out the star-based rating in 2010 because people’s reactions to something usually meant that videos always ended up either with mostly five stars, or just one star; in its place, they introduced the Like/Dislike system we know today.
2. 4:3 Video
Remember when YouTube videos were practically square? Before everybody bought a fancy widescreen camera and changed the shape of the site forever? Nobody nowadays knows the pain of having a massive backlog of videos with black bars on either side like Phil does!
3. Featured Videos
Back when YouTube was a tiny baby, it had a team of editors around the world that would actually pick out videos that they thought deserved to sit on the front page. This used to be the way that creators often found viral success: Phil found himself there in 2008 with “51 things in my room!”.
4. Custom Channels
Changeable colours, backgrounds, banners, modules… There was a time when YouTube channels reflected your personality almost as much as your MySpace page. Now with all social media sites taking the uniform approach to profiles, YouTube has followed suit and taken the power away from our horrible design skills (A blessing in disguise, really).
5. Video Responses
While they’re technically still a thing, YouTube used to natively support video responses, with both a call-to-action button and a gallery of the responses below the video. Nowadays, not so much.
If you were around in 2007, you might have seen this weirdness from Phil below a video of a little robot dancing to “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon. Phil tried his hand at green-screening with this cuddly… bear-lion? Sure, why not.
6. The Big Yellow “Subscribe” Button
Back before YouTube decided that red, white, and various shades of grey would be their colour scheme, they weren’t afraid to have a little bit of yellow in there. The big button was an icon that almost became more recognisable than the logo – probably half the reason they got rid of it 🙁
7. The Sidebar
Ever gone back to your favourite YouTubers’ old videos and had no clue what they were on about when they pointed off to the right and said something like “Links in the sidebar”? You might be a bit too young to remember this.
The sidebar had EVERYTHING: Video description, tags, links to share and embed, all your info, and Partners like Phil got a swish little space to add a custom mini-banner.
Moving everything in the sidebar below the video to maximise space for ads drove YouTubers everywhere crazy – so much so that they still haven’t decided on a name for the replacement.