La bufala di San Valentino su YouTube

Gira questa fanfaluca sui social, oggi, secondo cui YouTube sarebbe stato fondato proprio il 14 febbraio perché all’inizio era un sito di dating.

È una balla clamorosa, e il racconto su come veramente è nato YouTube l’avevano fatto gli stessi fondatori al TIME qualche anno fa:

No company, of course, is ever founded in a single moment, and YouTube evolved over several months. Chad and Steve agree that Karim deserves credit for the early idea that became, in Steve’s words, “the original goal that we were working toward in the very beginning”: a video version of HOTorNOT is a dating site that encourages you to rate, on a scale of 1 to 10, the attractiveness of potential mates. It’s a brutal, singles-bar version of MySpace, but Karim says it was a pioneer: “I was incredibly impressed with HOTorNOT, because it was the first time that someone had designed a website where anyone could upload content that everyone else could view. That was a new concept because up until that point, it was always the people who owned the website who would provide the content.”

The idea of a video version of HOTorNOT lasted only a couple of months. “It was too narrow,” says Chad. He notes that another early idea was to help people share videos for online auctions. But as the site went live in the spring of 2005, the founders realized that people were posting whatever videos they wanted. Many kids were linking to YouTube from their MySpace pages, and YouTube’s growth piggybacked on MySpace’s. (MySpace remains YouTube’s largest single source of U.S. traffic, according to Hitwise.) “In the end, we just sat back,” says Chad–and the free-for-all began. Within months–even before Lazy Sunday–investors such as Time Warner and Sequoia Capital, a Menlo Park investment firm, began to approach YouTube about buying in. Big advertisers started paying attention in October 2005, when a cool Nike ad-that-doesn’t-look-like-an-ad of the Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho went viral in a big way on YouTube. Sequoia–which has helped finance Apple, Google and other valley greats–ended up providing about $8.5 million in 2005–just in time for Steve to avoid having to increase his credit-card limit yet again to pay for various tech expenses.

The YouTube Gurus (25 dicembre 2006)

Niente sito di incontri e amori, quindi: semplicemente l’ispirazione come spesso accade era partita da quanto i founder (che all’epoca erano molto giovani) conoscevano bene. E quello citato era tra i primi esempi di sito in grado di ospitare il cosiddetto user generated content.