Today marks the third anniversary of Google's acquisition of online video mainstay YouTube. Not only that, but Chad Hurley, CEO and co-founder, gets an ideal opportunity to crow about the site hits that regularly exceed one billion. Anniversaries are great for looking forward and back, and Hurley certainly does both in his blog post. Humans love a memorable origins story, and YouTube seems to have more than one. There is the standard story, about three crazy PayPal kids who wanted to have an easy way to share video after a dinner party. Hurley began the project with Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in 2004.
"We wanted to create a place where anyone with a video camera, a computer, and an internet connection can share their life, art, and voice with the world, and in many cases they can make a living from doing so," Hurley said on BBC News this morning, regarding YouTube's original aims.
But a conflicting story originating from Karim would have had YouTube become a video-powered HOTorNOT.com, as PCWorld reports. Karim says the dinner party story never happened, but that the initial site concept was to rate video contributions in a dating site setting.
A screenshot of the early site format shows gender and seeking selection boxes which eventually got replaced with a more familiar mission statement: "Your Digital Video Repository." So the alternate origins story seems to be affirmed. If they had kept with the original intention, office procrastination would have taken a drastically different form.
Google paid $1.65 billion for the site, which it later described as a premium. With many revenue schemes under its belt, the site still costs the Mountain View company approximately $1.5 million per day, according to VentureBeat . YouTube has yet to balance a huge bandwidth bill with its meager advertising and partnerships revenue.