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YouTube was going to be used for something very different

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YouTube. We all know it now - it's a place to upload any sort of video you want, with cats, dogs and Nirvana-playing shovels gaining the wide audience they undoubtedly deserve.

And it seems like such an obvious idea. When it was launched, back in 2005, it was the clear next move on from MySpace - instead of a place where you could upload and share music, why not video?

But a fascinating talk at a South By South West event by co-founder Steve Chen reveals that this was not, in fact, what they had in mind at all for their new site. No - it was originally meant to be a dating site.

“We always thought there was something with video there, but what would be the actual practical application?” said Chen. “We thought dating would be the obvious choice.”

They offered to pay women $20 to upload videos talking about themselves - effectively creating video profiles - but no one came forward.

Chen's co-founder Jawed Karim has previously talked about their initial struggles saying: “The whole thing didn’t make any sense. We were so desperate for some actual dating videos, whatever that even means, that we turned to the website any desperate person would turn to, Craigslist.”

Chen quickly realised they were barking up the wrong tree.

“OK, forget the dating aspect, let’s just open it up to any video,” he told SXSW.

And off we all went, with the company finding its perfect match in the form of Google, who paid $1.65bn to acquire it in 2006.

[via Guardian]

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