Top 10 Unbelievable Facts about YouTube

Script written by Kurt Hvorup Long since established as a fixture of Internet culture, YouTube is quite influential... and more than a little intriguing. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 Unbelievable Facts About YouTube. For this list, we're taking a look at some of the most surprising and awe-inspiring facts pertaining to this all-powerful video hosting site. Special thanks to our user PlungedUncle for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest.
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Script written by Kurt Hvorup

Top 10 Unbelievable Facts About YouTube


Long since established as a fixture of Internet culture, YouTube is quite influential... and more than a little intriguing. Welcome to WatchMojo.com and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Unbelievable Facts About YouTube.

For this list, we’re taking a look at some of the most surprising and awe-inspiring facts pertaining to this all-powerful video hosting site. From the scope of its data use to its occasional brushes with the law, YouTube never fails to be fascinating.

#10: Pizza for You, Pizza for Me

Many companies start from humble places, and YouTube was no different. Said to have started in the garage of co-founder Chad Hurley, the company soon set up shop in San Mateo, California. Specifically, YouTube’s early headquarters was an office in Silicon Valley located above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant. Despite the office’s potentially odd location, it’s said that about 20 workers were hired from this spot and served as YouTube’s first employees. And it’s clear that the locale didn’t adversely affect its eventual success.

#9: Name is the Same... Almost

When striking out on your own, a lack of foresight can be a tricky thing. Case in point: YouTube ran into trouble when their site’s domain caused problems with Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, owners of utube.com – with a “u”. As it happened, many users had sought out YouTube but had typed in the similar-sounding web address for Universal Tube’s site, causing it to crash after receiving 68 million hits. In October 2006, Universal Tube filed a lawsuit against YouTube over the confusion... before apparently settling and purchasing a new web domain.

#8: Reward the Users

It’s a tough road to success and the site’s owners know it. This would be why any channel on YouTube that secures 10 million subscribers is sent the Diamond YouTube Play Button, which contains a giant diamond rock. For those channels that obtain 1 million subscribers, the 24-karat Gold Play Button award is YouTube’s reward. And don’t fret if you haven’t reached those numbers; those who attain 100 thousand users’ subscriptions are granted the Silver Play Button for their efforts.

#7: Karim at the Zoo

Big things come from small beginnings, as they say. So it was with the roll-out for YouTube’s video hosting, commencing on April 23rd, 2005 with a video courtesy of co-founder Jawed Karim. Titled “Me at the zoo”, this nineteen-second clip shows Karim at the San Diego Zoo, talking about the tusks of elephants directly behind him. Despite its short length and limited production quality, it has nevertheless been viewed millions of times and received over 160,000 comments. Quite impressive for the site’s first video.

#6: Foolish April

You can’t say YouTube doesn’t have a sense of humor. From 2008 onward, the company started a tradition of pranking their users on April Fools’ Day.YouTube’s original prank was to redirect all video links on its main page to the music video for Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up”, a practice called Rickrolling. Later pranks included turning pages upside-down, pretending to celebrate its 100th anniversary and even teaming with The Onion to put on a twelve-hour live stream announcing winners of a supposed contest. They’re certainly dedicated to their jokes, we’ll say that much.

#5: The Interest of Advertisers

Ads crop up in all major facets of popular culture, so it isn’t a surprise that YouTube would embrace them. What is surprising is that, in 2013, advertisers reportedly spent $5.6 billion on YouTube. Growth has been the trend ever since; reports in 2015 detailed that the number of advertisers had risen by 40%, with top advertisers spending 60% more than the previous year. For Google, the owner of YouTube, this has meant billions of dollars in profits and a widespread sense of satisfaction with their efforts.

#4: All the Bandwidth Possible

Given its size, it would make sense for YouTube to demand a lot of resources. For example, a 2007 report estimated that YouTube used the same amount of bandwidth as the entire Internet circa 2000. Just as interestingly, in late 2014, various news outlets noted that YouTube – along with Netflix – accounted forabout 50% of all bandwidth usage on the web. All of this gives credit to one idea: YouTube is very much rooted in the world of the Internet.

#3: Control Over Entertainment

Talk about pop culture power. According to various sources, YouTube’s content makes up about one third of the broadcast entertainment in the United States. This gives weight to reports that the site apparently draws in over 15 billion visitors per month, and is the world’s third-most visited site as of 2015. With its introduction of features like a video rental service and the YouTube Gaming platform, the potential for further cultural influence is hard to ignore.

#2: PayPal’s Influence

Coincidence is more than a small factor in the creation of YouTube. Co-founders Karim, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen all knew each other from a previous job – working for PayPal. Hurley was even the designer of PayPal’s logo, which he conceived during his job interview. When the trio departed PayPal, they took with them bonuses courtesy of eBay’s buyout of PayPal... which served as the original funding for YouTube. We’d say it worked out for them.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
The Longest YouTube Video Uploaded Is 596.5 Hours Long (Almost 25 Days)
Tony Blair, Ex-British Prime Minister, Was the 1st World Leader with a YouTube Channel
The Most Searched-For Tutorial on YouTube Is "How to Kiss"
An Hour of Video Is Uploaded to YouTube Every Second

#1: The Origin Story

There’s many a tale behind how this landmark site came to fruition. Karim has said that the initial conception of the site was based on his inability to find clips of Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl performance and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Hurley and Chen, meanwhile, say that the site was conceived as a video-based dating site along the lines of Hot or Not. Coupled with a story about the inability to email clips of a dinner party and a rumored Craigslist posting to entice women into posting content, the truth is uncertain. Nevertheless, however it came into being, YouTube is here to stay.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite fact about YouTube? For more unbelievable Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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