Online video-sharing phenomenon YouTube was originally designed to be a video-based dating site, its founders revealed this week.
Speaking to an audience at South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, the platform’s co-founder Steve Chen told of how the site began as a dating service, where users would create and upload videos introducing themselves and outlining what they were looking for.
He said: “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.”
However, in the five days following its launch on 14th February 2005 – which is coincidentally Valentine’s Day – not one video was uploaded.
Chen, alongside the site’s other co-founders Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim, then decided to ditch the idea of a dating platform, focusing on the site’s potential as a portal for video uploading and sharing instead.
Speaking about this decision, Chen said: “Okay, forget the dating aspect. Let’s just open it up to any video.”
A year after its launch, YouTube was purchased by Google for $1.65bn (£1.15bn), and has gone on to reach a billion visitors every month.
In November, the company launched a family-friendly version through the UK and Ireland, and also launched its ad-free subscription service, YouTube Red.
YouTube co-founder Chen was attending the SXSW to promote his new startup, Nom, a live video sharing platform designed specifically for food lovers.
Launched last week by Chen and Vijay Karunamurthy, Nom allows chefs to upload videos of them cooking, which can then be viewed by others directly through the app.