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YouTube was launched as a dating site (archive.org)
680 points by ElectronShak on July 21, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 243 comments


Here's a little more info. They changed it to a general purpose video site after 5 days after nobody uploaded any videos although they offered 20 USD to each woman for uploading a self-introduction video.

This wayback machine is from April 28, 2005. Me at the Zoo[1] is from April 23, 2005.

So technically speaking, someone did upload something. And 5 days is actually really 5 days...

Which brings the question - what is the second oldest YouTube video still on the site? Who is the “also ran”?

[1] https://youtu.be/jNQXAC9IVRw

One of the comments on that video claims that the guy makes $5.9k-$93.7k per year on that one 18-second video. Does that sound plausible and consistent with what YouTube pays? Is there any way to check if he has actually monetized his video?

$1-10 per 1k views.

73m views / 15 years = 5.2m views/year

=$5.2k/year - $52k/year.

Turn off Adblock and see if an ad plays.

> [1] https://youtu.be/jNQXAC9IVRw

Wow, the level of spammy comments on that one is perpetual.

The comments on that video default to sorted by new. You can change it to sorted by top. The uploader chooses the default sort, but the default for the default is top.

The founder of the site seeded content, that isn’t users uploading...

Founders do that? That’s so seedy!

So that's why he talks about the long trunks of the elephants in that video.

Is there a sequel? First ever tweet, HN comment, SO question... tinder profile?

wow a whopping 18 seconds and 72,954,314 views!

Here's a full visual history of Youtube starting in 2005:


I completely forgot about the 2012 version... Bad times :(

It's missing the posted version of the site.

CoffeeMeetsBagel briefly added a video feature where you could record your answer to a question they asked each day. They had it for a short time before they completely pulled it. I wonder if the ROI in terms of handling video bandwidth to conversion to dates wasn't really that much better than just still photos.

It’s hard to make a flattering video. TV studios have professional makeup artists and lighting from every angle. It’s a lot easier to take a flattering photo.

As the former PM of a competing dating app, I agree.

It's more likely that even in our modern age of ephemeral video sharing, the idea of recording a video to introduce yourself to strangers still introduces substantial friction and stress, which would turn people off from engagement even if it were optional.

The real interesting part is how modern Google would have simply just executed the product today.

Launch seven slightly different platforms, all of which have the theoretical scalability of YouTube, four of them using AI.

Then putting them on cards on their search engine, triggering a gazillion unsuccessful antitrust lawsuits, only to see they all still aren‘t used.

Then shelving half of them 5 years later and killing all the content forever.

I didn't realize The Wayback Machine had so much YouTube content from the early days. Really interesting going back and seeing what was on the front page on some random day in 2006.

Looking at what people were uploading and what people were watching leaves me feeling a bit wistful. It seems like it was a more authentic place before the money caught up with it.

Everything on the Internet was much better before advertisers were willing to spend real money on the Internet. Once the advertisers began to take the Internet seriously, and companies committed to an advertising model, everything went to hell.

Advertising ruins literally every communication medium:

Your mailbox? Likely stuffed with junk.

Your inbox? Likely stuffed with junk, or if it's not, make sure to check your spambox in case someone real is trying to contact you.

Your phone? Nobody answers calls because they're mostly telemarketers.

SMS? Yeah that's spammed to hell too.

Walls? Covered in billboards, in a tacky Red Queen race that nobody actually wins.

Public space? Nobody talks to each other in part because people who appear friendly are often trying to sell you something.

And the massive societal cost of everyone expecting everything for free even though they were paying all along or being subsidized by suckers.

It was also better before the influencers, celebrities, and (frankly) less educated joined. There's too much content now, and it's mostly low value. Deep, rich content and communities have evaporated save for a few vestiges such as HN. Even this lacks the camaraderie of the forums and news groups of the past.

I really would not call HN deep. It is just another public discussion site focused on programming. There are much more niche and focused places with higher quality, but they are, well, niche.

It isn't even focused on programming, but "growth" and "startups". It lost the programming focus a while before PG left.

I'd love to hear of a few. I always want to get into lobste.rs but while the submission quality is high the conversation is sparse.

Some subreddits can be good, /r/askhistorians /r/askscience .. but I too am curious if they don't rate HN as being relatively deep what they do rate in that category.

Subreddits are what's considered niche and high quality these days? That's... disheartening to say the least.

Please point out something legitimately wrong with those subreddits instead of just implying they're shitty by association with reddit. There are hard working people contributing great stuff and it just bothers me when people say stuff like this without pointing anything specific out. Just because there are terrible subreddits doesn't mean that all subreddits are terrible :(

If someone recommends me a subreddit, I would check it out. Reddit is not inherently bad. However, you have to understand a lot of us have a negative perception of subreddits, given how many jerks, trolls and bullies participate in them. Even in the good ones there's so much negativity and discourtesy. It's so sad, I personally am afraid to participate most of the time because I admittedly have very thin skin and those kinds of interactions can ruin my day.

AskHistorians is far more anal than HN with regard to maintaining serious discussion; maybe not quite so rule-bound as StackExchange ("delete this question with five answers and 100 upvotes it's off-topic") but strict about being a sourced, on topic, no memes or humour -type of place.

Tildes is small but nice.

Something Awful is genuinely good these days. There's strong discussion, a lack of insults/whining, and there are a lot of minorities and leftists posting. It's like the forum equivalent of skimmed milk, where the fat in the milk are the analogous "toxic people".

Tildes is a nice place as well.

Genuine question: what are some other communities on the internet that have a quality level similar to HN? I have really enjoyed this site and want to find one or two others.


"Best of the Web" since 1999

A broad set of interests are represented there, not just programming or technology focused. The submission quality is high, and it is well moderated.

MetaFilter has always had a pretty strong community. The addition of a $5 membership fee, similar to SomethingAwful, seems to have helped filter out the riff raff.

There's also an "ask" section, and ones for projects and music. Overall, it's a good community for general discussion of things happening on and offline.

As crazy as it is, the somethingawful forums have remained relatively good (give or take) over the last 20 years. I semi-chalk it up to the fact that the average age of the forum users is around 30-35 years old.

The main thing that has kept SA high quality is the $10 registration fee. It sounds like a small amount but I get the impression that it filters out the vast majority of shitty trolls. On top of that, if your account gets banned then you have to pay the $10 fee again, so if you’re a repeat offender then it gets expensive fast.

I really don't think SA after around 2010-12 and before that period are the same. Vastly different communities inhabiting the same body. I was on site in 2003 and I despise what its become.

As always, hope u got 10bux...

The What.CD forums were stellar. Oh well.

Loss of what.cd was somewhat like burning of alexandria library. So much lost, never to be recovered...

What could you find there?

It was an invite-only torrent tracker. What set it apart was its size. Any song you could think of, in any format you could think of. You could find lossless music that there's 0 chance that you could find anywhere else (legally or not).

Artists launched their own albums there first and became famous, the so called "Vanity house". An example of an artist that got big is "The Flashbulb".

What sibling comments said, also, great community, great recommendations, relationship graphs between artists/styles, very neat and tidy metadata (accurate tags, releases with serial numbers, etc).

It was approaching all music in all formats, ever.

Formats yes, but more importantly for music fans and audiophiles, all mediums!

And before that, Oink's Pink Palace (what.cd and waffles.fm were created to fill the void Oink left)

First one that comes to mind is this: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/

https://lobste.rs/ is a very similar community to HN. The catch is that registration is invite-only.

By the way, if a lobsters user is reading this, I would love an invite :)

To be frank, lobste.rs seems like the same content as Hacker News + /r/programming, but with fewer people commenting.

It's more focused on actual tech. It's also gotten more like those sites since people have invited more people from those sites that I can tell. It's definitely changed a bit over past few years.

One of its continued strengths is the number of useful or deep articles in tech combined with a high number of people in the community that write them. The audience is pretty passive. We have some people who steadily have good insights and submissions on specific topics. Then, there are some that show up out of nowhere with whopper comments you won't find in other places. They avoid high-traffic/noise sites like HN. So, you only see them on places like that. So, I read both the orange and red sites. :)

Edit: I will not be replying to anymore requests. Sorry!

(was: Provide me with a way to contact you and I will.)

If you’re willing to open it back up I’d appreciate an invite :)



Check your inbox :)


Hey muppetman, I would appreciate an invite too. twitter dm @elamje

DM sent.

Sorry to pile on here, but I would also appreciate an invite.


Would you mind inviting me? cfin @ secure email based in Switzerland dot com

Thank you!

Hi, could I get an invite too? halcar@firemail.cc

Sorry, I am not inviting an account that's 10 minutes old with no HN comment history. Hope you understand.

I’ll appreciate one too, elboru at hotmail.com


I would be interested in an invite as well.

[removed email]


oh my, sure! [email removed]



Can I pile on too? Cheers!


Many thanks!

I'd appreciate an invite if anyone is willing to share out (and is still reading this thread). Thank you!

I would also love an invite from some awesome person :).

Hey, Could you invite me? email is my username at google's mailing service.


Are cross-posts happening between the two?

YouTube comments.

Tildes, Metafilter.

What are you talking about? The content on YouTube has never been better. There is so much good stuff on youtube these days that it can easily give traditional media a run for their money.

"Hello i'm very smart and i think that not everyone should have access to the internet".

You're not wrong. Just as I ignore certain people in my day to day life, I also want to filter them out of my Internet experience.

signal: noise is a thing.

And while we're at it, I also want to get rid of the advertising that came chasing after these people.

Don’t worry, I’m quite uneducated and doing what I can to bring this place down to my level. Check my comment history if you don’t believe me!

Wow this is really something. You realize that, for example, Puerto Rico has mass protests going on, which are helped to organize with social media? To cite one example.


I would agree that advertisement has done a lot of damage. However, there have been a lot of really awesome things that could not have happened without it. Like YouTubers for example, so many people are able to make a living making content they love and people love to watch. I say that as many of them are now having to turn to things like patreon because advertisement is now hurting them...

To be fair, a lot of the good things on the early Internet were funded on the basis they would eventually find a way to make money. They simply were not sustainable in the absence of a revenue stream, and Advertising turned out to be the answer.

We can't pretend that Google, Youtube, etc could have continued indefinitely in their original forms without ever having to become profitable, or having to make any compromises.

It's just part of the Eternal September.


It seems like it was a more authentic place before the money caught up with it.

Isn't that the way it always goes? I wish there were some way of permanently locking Wall Street out of the picture so we could actually have some nice things.

Unfortunately, it seems the only way to have a field where Wall Street/commercial entities aren't involved is to have one where it's illegal to make money off said field. For instance, game mods/fan works tend to be a lot like web development or content creation from the early days of the internet, since it's literally illegal to run a business that creates and sells them. One of the reasons I follow the progress of said scenes a lot, because they're some of the few communities I know of where wealth isn't really an advantage.

So, a few really cool things but 95% weird porn?

I think your number is too big, home many nude mods can be for a game? If you mean some revealing armor/clothing then that is not porn not even "adult".

There will always be a large number of lower effort mods, it is easy to retexture or cut parts of existing armors then building new ones from scratch.

The main issue I see with some modding communities is the big egos of some people that leads to terms of use like "don't share this, this mod should not be shared on as different website" , it will make it kind of illegal then when the specified website will no longer exists to archive and move the mods or to create mod packs.

Nah, more like the other way around.

But obviously it depends on what games you're interested in seeing mods and fan projects of. The vast majority of the Mario/Zelda/Sonic/Metroid/Mega Man fan game and game mod/hack scene is basically entirely new games built on the original series' engine.

Some of the stuff you see there is crazy, arguably on par with many of the more well funded open source software found online. Like that project which adds online multiplayer to Super Mario 64, the mods which add MP3 music to SNES games, a Metroid mod which remade Metroid Fusion in Super Metroid with all the original content and an even smarter version of the SA-X hunting you down. Or perhaps Wiimmfi, which basically replaced all of Nintendo's online services for the DS and Wii, then significantly expanded on them with extra features and modes.

It's kind of insane how technically advanced much of this stuff can be, given it's all made by hobbyists in their free time with no hope of ever getting paid.

I'm mostly familiar with EV Nova and KOTOR mods, which are posted to websites that probably filter for obscenity. EV Nova doesn't really have pictures of people; but KOTOR definitely has plenty of appearance-focused mods (including one described as "More sexy underwear for females"), and on some other games I have heard of mods that fall into the "weird porn" category.

That's the non-profit, free software world. It exists, gnu.org compiles a lot of free software if you're interested, or there's other organizations that compile stuff like free blueprints for farm equipment, free music, sprites, etc.

It's out there, but a lot of people generally consider the free/libre stuff "lower quality," which is often a fair accusation.

Oh, yes! - I use free software almost exclusively. It may not always be as polished as the commercial competition, but it feels better to be part of a sharing community. I feel especially fortunate that my current job allows me to make a good living developing free software.

> That's the non-profit, free software world.

And then Red Hat[0] happened, and it all went to hell, like everything else Wall Street touches.

0: et many al, but they're the most visible culprits due to things like wayland and systemd.

Seems a bit ironic to say that on a site of a company that helps fund a lot of tech start-ups. Start-ups whose end goal seems to be getting ridiculously rich and doing an IPO.

This feels a bit like the "if you don't like capitalism why do you use an iPhone?" argument.

The reality is that Hacker News is a generally high quality technical forum and that's the reason a lot of people are here.

>This feels a bit like the "if you don't like capitalism why do you use an iPhone?" argument. //

That's a pretty good question though?

Best case is you get something like Craigslist, but more likely they would have gone out of business by now (shut down for piracy) and we wouldn't have any nice things.

Don't make money. :) That will keep wall street permanently at bay.

Pretty sure not making money is what attracts the most investment money these days.



> Really interesting going back and seeing what was on the front page on some random day in 2006.

Surreal. I was on YouTube several times a day every day throughout 2006. YouTube used to actually be relatively static and unchanging, the top videos in the afternoon might have been roughly the same as in the morning.

I’m not just recognizing individual videos, I’m recognizing entire pages, down to video placements in the sorting order, seeing videos I actually clicked on and watched, maybe even gave one of like 51 star ratings to.

For some reason, it never occurred to me to look at YouTube in the Wayback Machine. On my phone right now, I can’t load any of the videos anyway for lack of a browser plug-in which around that time was basically Macromedia Flash 8 or something. Actually Macromedia might not have even been acquired by Adobe yet, or else the acquisition had just been recently announced. Either way it was Macromedia up until Adobe Flash 9.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to play any of the videos on a laptop, but I bookmarked a few familiar looking pages to try later.

Surprisingly, the video tags in modern youtube. Pulled a random video from archive, Converse Hands Man:


Grab the 'v' parameter and paste it into a modern youtube video URL:


and watch Converse Hands Man in modern youtube glory.

Clicking on the second link shows "Video unavailable" for me.

Same for me, I believe this is the video and it's gotten a new ID for some reason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKw9QH1yH5Q

Then you need to look at http://astronaut.io/ from the front page last week: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20432772

Its youtube videos with zero or very few views.

I was thinking about that today. I was fiddling with mastodon and a VPS then started thinking about microblogging and youtube content evolutions over the years and came to the conclusion that people share stuff through messaging now and I like that. I ditched the mastodon idea.

You might enjoy http://astronaut.io!! It sources content from YouTube that is generally not from influencers using a few heuristics (low view count, uploaded in past week, generic title, etc) and displays it in an ever shifting stream.

This might be interesting...

"A compellingly written and highly original study of the practices of the early-adopter video blogging community. This essential study will change the ways in which we think about past, present and future online creative communities and digital platforms."


I also would like to search for videos by date of upload for example. Is there a way to do that? The on-site search functionality on youtube is abysmal. Especially the auto-reset of the filters upon changing the search term is so incredibly annoying.

I remember reading somewhere that in the earlier days the most popular "authentic" videos were actually created by paid actors.

For general education about subculture takeover please refer to https://meaningness.com/geeks-mops-sociopaths

Reading the original Terms of Use & Privacy Policy linked in the capture gave me a chuckle. It seems someone tried to find + replace div tags with p tags as the documents repeatedly refer to "inpiduals."

For a famous example of find and replace gone wrong, see the case about the creationist Of Pandas and People textbook and cdesign proponentsists:

The term "creationists" was changed to "design proponents", but in one case the beginning and end of the original word "creationists" were accidentally retained, so that "creationists" became "cdesign proponentsists". ... the proof that intelligent design was creationism re-labeled played a significant part in the Kitzmiller trial, and "cdesign proponentsists" has been described as "the missing link between creationism and intelligent design."


It's funny how easily the government crushes Christians, but can't do anything about drugs, piracy, or immigration

Clbuttic editing mistake.

Comes of making too many buttumptions.

Those responsible were buttbuttinated.

OT: in Emacs, you could prevent this from happening by using C-u M-% (replace-word): in that case, only those instances of "div" that are separate words (not parts of other words) will be replaced.

How would you avoid "inpiduals" (and similar mistakes) in other editors?

"Match whole words" is pretty common. And in every editor invariably ends up disagreeing with you on what precisely constitutes a word boundary.

In this particular case I would just have included the starting < in the search and replace.

You mean div> otherwise it wouldn't pick up the closing tags :)

I believe replacing `<div`\'<p' and `/div`\'/p' are preferred so you can retain any tag properties (class, id, style, etc), but it could still leave behind any tags with superfluous spaces.

If you replace div> then you will miss any opening tags that have attributes. E.g. <div class=baz> or <div id=foobar>.

In Vim I would do

It’s a little bit convoluted but it replaces the tag names in both opening and closing tags and does not replace it anywhere else.

Fair point...

In many editors, you can use a regex match for word boundaries on either side of div, like \bdiv\d. Some also have a checkbox for the word matching functionality.

In vim: :%s/\<div\>/p/g (add C at the end if you want to confirm each change)

Huh - that’s confusing in the context of this example, but indeed tests fine on my system (nvi).

Since the “word” in question is “<div>”, I thought the \< was just an escape. I looked in various docs and the best I see in Tcl re_syntax(n) is \< and \> are synonyms for [[:<:]] and [[:>:]] respectively, which are constraints matching empty strings at the beginning and end of words, where a word a sequence of word characters... [a-zA-Z0-9_]

TIL, too...

Right? Totally nonintuitive! But easy enough to remember and type. I figured I wasn't the only one who found it a bit surprising ^_^

TIL what \< means. Thank you.

Open it in a web browser and then copy and past it into the editor as plain text.

the underlying regex libraries often (like your emacs) have a symbol for word boundaries. emacs is great, though, agreed.

Just replace div> with p> ?

that's a nice little one. Funny to see those websites from back in the days when HTML was still hand made and handcrafted

Funny to see those websites from back in the days when HTML was still hand made and handcrafted

You might be surprised which giant corporations have given up on all the framework hype and language tribalism and actually allow their web devs to build sites by hand with care.

I'm thinking of one particular multi-billion dollar company, but there are a number of others.

Sometimes sanity wins.

Have you guys tried this javascript library? Loads instantly: http://vanilla-js.com/

It detracts from the point how the jQuery examples are much nicer.

This one never gets old.

App dev here; haven't touched js since ~2002... what's the joke?

It's poking fun at how there's a new flavour of JavaScript framework seemingly every week: Angular, React, Vue, Mithril, etc. Each one has a killer feature or some new spin on how to write your JavaScript code.

The word "vanilla" is used here as an adjective to describe something that is "lacking distinction: plain, ordinary, or conventional" [0].

As such, the joke is that Vanilla JS is being presented as some amazing new framework, but it isn't anything more than regular JS that you would write. In a sense, it's the anti-JS framework, requiring no additional scripts or dependencies.

[0] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vanilla

Well, Berkshire Hathaway is a multi-billion company and for sure they gave up pretty early in webdev technology: https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/

>Well, Berkshire Hathaway is a multi-billion company and for sure they gave up pretty early in webdev technology: https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/

This is deliberate. Warren Buffet was vocally anti-dot-com boom (and bust) and their site continues to follow a minimalist philosophy to this day.

Minimalist is one thing, done with an old copy of Microsoft Word is another.

I would predict Apple falls into this category.

I know that Apple's trashcan Mac Pro page was hand-crafted. There was an article about it on the intarwebs at the time.

But I was actually thinking of a different company. I'd forgotten about Apple.

Does anyone have a link for this website? The Mac Pro may have been poorly designed but the website was a pleasure to scroll through

Looking a the source code of their website, they seems to use react for at least part of it.

Whatever they use, Apple's product pages are definitely handcrafted. Especially around the time of big releases.

The use of a framework/library does not preclude handcrafting.

Aren't all webpages hand-crafted then?

If a program generates something, and then a human hand-curates it, that’s maybe hand crafting (the program is being used as a tool by the human artisan.)

But if a program generates something, and then just directly serves the result, it is certainly not hand-crafted.

The distinction comes down to whether the final result is something a human signed off on and took responsibility for, or whether it’s just the result of blind rule-following.

Not necessarily. I don't think people expect to have to individually map pixels in their PNG's in order for a page to be hand-crafted, either.

But it certainly is a gray area.

Yes. I don't know why HN likes to pretend they're exceptions to patterns and processes that came about for a number of reasons.

In this specific case, the hand crafted HTML that I've come across in my lifetime is usually absolute garbage. I can normally see how the developer who wrote it thinks they're being clever or nifty, and dare I say it "clean", but it usually falls short and causes more harm than good.

So imagine we as an industry organically build tools to address this. 10 years later it's pretty good, but like 5 major websites still handcraft things because they have complicated user experiences with a broad user base.

We then get dork heads who see this, believe they're part of the exception, despite not having anything remotely close to the userbase or requirements of these websites, refuse to understand why certain things are the way they are, and think they're above these processes and frameworks despite not having invested any real time or effort into the skills necessary to justify not using these frameworks or fabricated HTML.

And the worst part is it's just HTML. And we still get it wrong.

TL;DR Programmers think they're better than they really are. Use the frameworks.

Honestly if you question the overall quality of hand-written HTML (by people who care to hand-write it) with the overall output of tools, I kind of wonder what parallel universe you come from.

I've never yet see anyone argue that the reason tools took over the writing of HTML is because hand-written HTML wasn't good enough.

When HTML was hand written, it was largely awful. Just like anything people make. Bespoke HTML is now usually nice because the people who care to make it are the type of people who care about that sort of thing.

Hand-written HTML may have had the occasional error but when tools (remember FrontPage and Dreamweaver?) started to be used their output was dramatically worse. This was certainly not controversial at the time. Nowadays with templating languages and frontend frameworks (React is operating on the DOM but it is still just HTML elements in the end) there's still a human picking the elements and attributes that are rendered, even if there is a layer of indirection. So I don't really get the argument that hand-written HTML is bad, especially since it's ubiquitous. HTML was designed with hand-authoring in mind.

> I kind of wonder what parallel universe you come from.

The one where I don't value bespoke development just because it's bespoke?

The universe where I have to actually quantify what's good and what isn't?

The worst kind of comments related to this discussion are always the ones that are insufferably offended that they can't out perform decades of experience and knowledge without doing anything.

>I've never yet see anyone argue that the reason tools took over the writing of HTML is because hand-written HTML wasn't good enough.

Check who you're listening to? It's a fairly common argument.

My position is based on decades of actually looking at HTML, writing it, creating a few web authoring tools along the way, and participating tangentially in HTML5 standardization.

I'm not insufferably offended by what you think I can or can't do (I couldn't care less) I just honestly can't fathom, after 20 years of looking at HTML produced by hand and by tools, how anyone could think the tools produce better markup if you're actually talking about inherent quality of the end result. Cheaper and faster, maybe, with a lower learning curve, sure, but better? I don't buy it.

Some programmers confuse XML with semantic HTML. XML is hard to hand write, while semantic HTML is easy and forgiving. CSS on the other hand is more difficult, but its also much more powerful and still easier to hand-write compared to other XML-markups variants (native UI).

Apple.com has a ton of static pages and then a mix of WebObjects apps and some other frameworks. There’s also a WordPress blog or two on there. A few years ago they messed up the Apache config and next.com worked as apple.com for a while.

None of the WebObjects mumbo-jumbo is any news, but there's a WordPress blog on Apple.com? Where?

(Another fun one, braeburncapital.com used to work as apple.com for a bit—I think even longer than next.com.)

Not sure, but Facebook and Reddit's internal blogs are both WordPress as well.

what? i write most of my html

Another video service built on dating? Comcast's video-on-demand service.

Back when Comcast was promoting itself as having "The most on demand video! More than insert market competitor here!" it included in that "most" count each of the three-minute profile clips from its horribly lame video dating service.

Distilled, AT&T (for example) would offer six full-length movies on demand, while Comcast had 12 three-minute dating video clips, allowing it to claim "twice as much" on-demand content.

Back when I had Comcast that was some of the most entertaining stuff to be found on their on-demand service. I had totally forgotten about that thanks for the trip down memory lane.

And Hulu was originally launched as someone's personal homepage.


Wonder how much they sold the domain for.

And steam.com still refuses to sell the domain even if they haven't had a server for years now:


I recently came across https://gail.com/

At least, that was a birthday present and it's her first name. The whole gmail typo stuff is hilarious though, that's for sharing.

So foolish. Not even putting crappy ads on there, yet paying to renew it yearly. What could the logic possibly be? Valve probably wouldn't even entertain it at this point.

And OVH as a scrappy web hosting company stored in a closet [1]... wait, it still is.

[1] https://web.archive.org/web/19991127081047/http://ovh.fr/

About Us [0] on webarchive from the same date is still relevant:

> YouTube is the first online community site that allows members to post and share personal videos.

[0] https://web.archive.org/web/20050428171556/http://www.youtub...

I never knew this. It gives a little more meaning to the domain name, but even in it's current form, the domain name still works, just less literally.

The tabs and some other ui elements have round corners, as it was customary in that days.

Everyone wanted and insisted to have this, despite it was very inconvenient to build with pieces of images and tables.

And now it's trivial to do with CSS but largely out of fashion. Sigh.

BTW, for human eye it's _probably_ more harmonious, I don't mind seeing it today when it's trivial technically. But indeed, out of fashion, which is another demonstration of the lack of free thought in that area.

Sigh indeed.

It was supposed to be "Hot or Not" with videos.

“Hot or not” directly or indirectly inspired the launch of Facebook and YouTube. Amazing! If you want to learn more about “hot or not”: https://youtu.be/uagKWIEffq8


Tinder already lets you upload short gifs of yourself

yeah, but sound

I'm pretty sure that's what Interlace is

I remember some of these super early launches of websites. At the time YouTube launched I was using Google Video and I thought it was superior. I think I visited the Youtube site once while it had it’s dating drop down but left because there was no content to watch. The next 18 months were insane as YouTube grew then got bought by Google.

It also launched during a time when most people watched video on a tube, hence the name. This may not be immediately obvious to people born after ~2005.

It's interesting to see the generational shift --- ask someone why (often adult) video streaming sites are sometimes called "tube sites" and all of them will mention YouTube, but only the older ones will mention the CRT etymology; younger people may be reminded more of "the Internet is a series of tubes" instead.

Even in 2005 people were chucking out their Cathode Ray Tube televisions in favour of flatscreens.

Unless they played Smash.

I think one of the biggest bobbles of modern (social-centric) tech history was Google not morphing YT into a more social platform. They had the name recognition. They had the users. All they lacked was some basic functionality to compete for social attention.

Instead they went for G+. The rest, as they say, is history.

What was staggering is that Vic tried to drag YT down wih G+.

Both sides' users rejected that.

They basically tried this with the google + integration . But that was its own mess also

If they had not disrupted any users with the integration and turn people off of G+ they could have pulled it off. I guess they'll try again in 15 years.

I'm starting to suspect social may have burned over. At least in pesent incarnations.

"Burned over" in the sense of zero growth - everyone who wants a FaceSnapGram account has one.

Not burned out in terms of profit opportunities though - FB has $60bn revenue, capturing even 10% of that pie can justify an investment of thousands of person-years...

Those social features existed on LiveVideo.com which was an early YouTube competitor. https://techpost.io/why-you-cant-compete-with-google-the-dep...

It's very interesting to scrub through the history of the first year, you can see how they changed so much in that time

Interesting. By the time I looked at it while I was an EIR at Accel it was definitely not a dating site and that was early 2005. My assessment was more of a soft-porn / piracy site :)

I had a video site in the same era (https://web.archive.org/web/20050701082257/http://www.vobbo....) and it was 100% soft porn and piracy, so much so that I shut it down because I couldn’t justify the time spent moderating content (and I was a one man show, didn’t want to get sued).

Should have tried to get funding, but had no idea what I was doing.

But yea, I totally believe YouTube spent a few years as soft porn and piracy (which they clearly tolerated for eyeballs).

They have a lot of softcore porn and piracy now. Indeed I've seen some things on YouTube recently that look like pretty blatant porn, and weren't behind the age-wall.

It was also made possible entirely by Macromedia Flash. (Purchased by Adobe the same year).

You may want to check out this 2006 talk by Jawed Karim. https://youtu.be/7oJdD2oUHXc This was shortly after Google acquired them.

This was great. Thanks for sharing!

1) Did anyone here use it? I'm curious what the UX was... Browse short video profiles of people and then message the ones you like?

2) Does anyone know what caused the shift from Video Dating to just Video?

To me it looks like some generic "PHP Script" dating site. I.e. you buy a licence for I dunno $30 and install it on your shared hosting, ... , profit.

> I'm curious what the UX was ...

Check the link, it shows quite well.

this is still a great idea... even with clips, dating apps are so static. body language, tonality.

This is how dating agencies used to. They would ask their clients to come in and shoot a small intro video which they would use as their bio/profile to prospective matches.

Actor Bryan Cranston used to work in one of those agencies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsEPGc72Iuk

I think there would be a market for a "verified weight / height / photo" dating site. Maybe have kiosks set up where people can go get a photo taken, on a scale, with a height gauge behind them from standard angles (front / side) -- to avoid the infamous "myspace angles" that people use.

Yeah, because when I look at all the problems with online dating, what I think is that it could all be solved if only people would treat eachother even more like commodities.

Some people might like that, but in general I think what would be really needed is some way of doing online dating without pictures, since focus on appearance is unlikely to be effective at achieving long-term fulfillment (both if pursuing a single/few long-term relationships or regular one-off encounters).

Verified blue whale badge on profile.

If the first action in a relationship is one of distrust, it doesn't feel right...

Interactions on dating sites happen prior to a relationship.

Also, I think dating sites are a bit "a market for lemons".

I don't think that's necessarily true. To be a market for lemons, in the original sense, it's required that goods are objectively better or worse to all buyers, and it's required that sellers know the value of their goods to buyers.

Put more concretely, because different people have different dating preferences, one person's lemon can be another person's peach.

In addition, a market for lemons usually requires a seller to be able to determine the value of goods while the buyer can't. On dating sites, both the user and the site itself are trying to "sell" that person to prospective matches. Neither of those parties has all that much better of a way to determine a person's match-ability, so there's not all that much asymmetry. I suppose the site does know a little more based on history, but I don't think that's necessarily enough.

I do think dating sites are pretty garbage, but I don't think it's due to the phenomenon described by "a market for lemons", but rather due to multiple other factors.

> one person's lemon can be another person's peach

That's a nice way of looking at the world, and of course it's true sometimes.

But...hasn't all the data coming out of dating sites kind of proved the opposite? Especially for men, something like the top 10-20% are getting basically all the matches and messages.

At least to some extent, dating sites have made the opposite. The more people know about each other, the greater the variance in their assessments of each others' attractiveness. ISTR a study that showed that the less people know each other before starting dating, the more likely people are to end up with partners who are about as physically attractive as themselves.

This is a good point. I guess it's important to remember that dating sites do actually change people's behaviour, rather than being a representation of how everyone behaves.

> In addition, a market for lemons usually requires a seller to be able to determine the value of goods while the buyer can't. On dating sites, both the user and the site itself are trying to "sell" that person to prospective matches. Neither of those parties has all that much better of a way to determine a person's match-ability, so there's not all that much asymmetry.

Well, the person posting their height/weight/photo knows whether it's accurate or not, whereas the person reading it doesn't; that's your asymmetry right there.


WRT. lemons, I was thinking primarily about the aspect that the most desirable people disappear from these sites first. Sure people have different dating preferences, but they're correlated, not uniformly random. I believe that, while there may not be a total order of people that's the same for everyone, there is some rough order that would be acceptable to most, and the closer to "best" end in that order a person is, the shorter they're likely to stay on a dating site.

People have a right to an "affectional preference" based on physical characteristics. What I propose doesn't discriminate against any body type or characteristic, it merely ensures accuracy.

It just amplifies the fact that current online dating is about looks alone. The chad fishing memes prove it well.

Well, if you can't or won't compete on looks and you don't have any preference of your own, then perhaps on-line dating isn't for you.

So if you aren't the tallest person around then you don't deserve to have a relationship?

No, not at all. But you have to find a partner that likes you for the height you are.

Are you saying that short people should lie about their height and hope they can convince someone who's met them to change their affectational preference? "Conversion therapy" doesn't work. If someone is only attracted to tall people, you can't change them.

Not at all. But maybe an app which asks potential dates to swipe left or right having just seen your height is not the best venue for short men.

Interesting - I think the world was not ready for a video dating site back then. This could probably work quite well now (thanks to the change in peoples' attitude towards creating online video content, brought about by YouTube itself)!

> I like the way the world looks from a bicycle.


It’s amazing how so many people don’t know this! I actually met my third wife on the original site, it was a different time.

Where did you meet your fourth wife?

Some YouTubers went on to try launching dating sites again after the Google acquisition.

One of the comments says the video makes around $5.9k-93.7k per year. Fact or fiction?

they changed their minds after 5 days? I guess it worked out for them in long run, but they couldn't really expect much after that short of a time.

The name was also supposed to be "YourTube"

Wait... what is it now?

Oh no, I have to go take down a few videos...

> http://www.youtube.com/index.php

I didn't know youtube's first version was written in php.

Interesting to see major sites with CSS issues like that, with the country code ("GB" for me, in the UK) added the width on the logo box isn't wide enough.

#yt-masthead #logo-container { margin-right: 20px; }

is a hacky fix.

They appear to be using position:absolute to get cheap vertical alignment to put the GB at the top, but it removes from the flow and so gets overlaid. "vertical-align:top" works, it seems, so I'm curious why they've not used that instead?

And it still works!

news to me:)

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