The very first MySpace users were eUniverse employees. The company held contests to see who could sign-up the most users.[9] The company then used its resources to push MySpace to the masses. eUniverse used its 20 million users and e-mail subscribers to quickly breathe life into MySpace,[10] and move it to the head of the pack of social networking websites. A key architect was tech expert Toan Nguyen who helped stabilize the MySpace platform when Brad Greenspan asked him to join the team.[11]
The origin of the MySpace.com domain was a site owned by YourZ.com, Inc.[12] It was intended to be a leading online data storage and sharing site up until 2002. By 2004, MySpace and MySpace.com, which existed as a brand associated with YourZ.com,[13][14] had made the transition from a virtual storage site to a social networking site. This is the natural connection to Chris DeWolfe and a friend, who reminded him he had earlier bought the URL domain, MySpace.com, intending it to be used as a web hosting site,[15] since both worked at one time in the virtual data storage business, which itself was a casualty of the "dot bomb" era.
Shortly after launching the site, team member Chris DeWolfe suggested that they start charging a fee for the basic MySpace service.[16] Brad Greenspan nixed the idea, believing that keeping MySpace free and open was necessary to make it a large and successful community.[17]
Some employees of MySpace including DeWolfe and Berman were later able to purchase equity in the property before MySpace, and its parent company eUniverse (now renamed Intermix Media) was bought in July 2005 for US$580 million by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (the parent company of Fox Broadcasting and other media enterprises).[18][8] Of this amount, approximately US$327 million has been attributed to the value of MySpace according to the financial adviser fairness opinion.[19]
In January 2006, Fox announced plans to launch a UK version of MySpace in a bid to "tap into the UK music scene"[20] which they have since done. They also released a version in China and will possibly launch similar versions in other countries.[21]
The corporate history of MySpace as well as the status of Tom Anderson as a MySpace founder has been a matter of some public dispute.

MySpace operates solely on revenues generated by advertising as its user model possesses no paid-for features for the end user.[22] Through its Web site and affiliated ad networks, MySpace is second only to Yahoo! in it its capacity to collect data about its users and thus in its ability to use behavioral targeting to select the ads each visitor sees.[23]
On August 8, 2006, search engine Google signed a $900 million deal to provide a Google search facility and advertising on MySpace.[24][25][26] MySpace has proven to be a windfall for many smaller companies that provide widgets or accessories to the social networking giant. Companies such as Slide.com, RockYou!, and YouTube were all launched on MySpace as widgets providing additional functionality to the site. Other sites created layouts to personalize the site and made hundreds of thousands of dollars for its owners most of whom were in their late teens and early twenties.[27][28]


Moods are small emoticons that are used to depict a mood the user is in. The feature was added in July 2007.

Profiles contain two standard "blurbs:" "About Me" and "Who I'd Like to Meet" sections. Profiles also contain an "Interests" section and a "Details" section. In the "Details" section, "Status" and "Zodiac Sign" fields will always display. However, fields in these sections will not be displayed if members do not fill them in. Profiles also contain a blog with standard fields for content, emotion, and media. MySpace also supports uploading images. One of the images can be chosen to be the "default image," the image that will be seen on the profile's main page, search page, and as the image that will appear to the side of the user's name on comments, messages, etc. Flash, such as on MySpace's video service, can be embedded. Blogging features have been the main part of MySpace.

Below the User's Friends Space (by default) is the "comments" section, wherein the user's friends may leave comments for all viewers to read. MySpace users have the option to delete any comment and/or require all comments to be approved before posting. If a user's account is deleted, every comment left on other profiles by that user will be deleted, and replaced with the comment saying "This Profile No Longer Exists."

MySpace allows users to customize their user profile pages by entering HTML (but not JavaScript) into such areas as "About Me," "I'd Like to Meet," and "Interests." Videos and flash-based content can be included this way. Users also have the option to add music to their profile pages via MySpace Music, a service that allows bands to post songs for use on MySpace.
A user can also change the general appearance of their page by entering CSS (in a <style> ... </style> element) into one of these fields to override the page's default style sheet using MySpace editors. This is often used to tweak fonts and colors. The fact that the user-added CSS is located in the middle of the page (rather than being located in the <head> element) means that the page will begin to load with the default MySpace layout before abruptly changing to the custom layout. A special type of modification is a div overlay, where the default layout is dramatically changed by hiding default text with <div> tags and large images.
There are several independent web sites offering MySpace layout design utilities which let a user select options and preview what their page will look like with them.
MySpace has recently added its own "Profile Customizer" to the site, allowing users to change their profile through MySpace. Using this feature bypasses the CSS loading delay issue, as the MySpace default code is changed for the customized profile. The MySpace profile editor also has a criticism with how the links appear on the profile.

MySpace profiles for musicians are different from normal profiles in that artists are allowed to upload up to six MP3[15][29] songs. The uploader must have rights to use the songs (e.g their own work, permission granted, etc). Unsigned musicians can use MySpace to post and sell music using SNOCAP, which has proven popular among MySpace users. Shortly after MySpace was sold to Rupert Murdoch the owner of Fox news and 20th Century Fox in 2005 they launched their own record label, MySpace Records, in an effort to discover unknown talent currently on MySpace Music. MySpace Music is a section of the website that allows its users to display their songs. It doesn’t matter if the artist is already famous or still looking for a break into the industry; aspiring artists can load their songs onto MySpace and have access to millions of people on a daily basis. Some well known singers such as Lilly Allen and Sean Kingston gained fame through MySpace. The availability of music on this website continues to develop in the foundation of young talent. Over eight million artists have been discovered by MySpace, and many more continue to be discovered daily.


Bulletins are posts that are posted on to a "bulletin board" for everyone on a MySpace user's friends list to see. Bulletins can be useful for contacting an entire friends list without resorting to messaging users individually. Some users choose to use Bulletins as a service for delivering chain messages about politics, religion, or anything else and sometimes these chain messages are considered threatening to the users, especially the ones that mention bad luck, death, or topics similar to that.[30] They have also become the primary attack point for phishing. Bulletins are deleted after ten days.

MySpace has a Groups feature which allows a group of users to share a common page and message board. Groups can be created by anybody, and the moderator of the group can choose for anyone to join, or to approve or deny requests to join.

In early 2006, MySpace introduced MySpaceIM, an instant messenger that uses one's MySpace account as a screen name. A MySpace user logs in to the client using the same e-mail associated with his or her MySpace account. Unlike other parts of MySpace, MySpaceIM is stand-alone software for Microsoft Windows. Users who use MySpaceIM get instant notification of new MySpace messages, friend requests, and comments.

In early 2007, MySpace introduced MySpaceTV, a service similar to the YouTube video sharing website. MySpaceTV is now in beta mode, and will be probably be launched as a separate site in either 2008 or early 2009. MySpaceTV might be a standard channel that will be shown on television.

In 2008, MySpace introduced an API with which users could create applications for other users to post on their profiles. The applications are similar to the Facebook applications. In May 2008, MySpace had added some security options regarding interaction with photos and other media.

There are a variety of environments in which users can access MySpace content on their mobile phone. American mobile phone provider Helio released a series of mobile phones in early 2006 that can utilize a service known as MySpace Mobile to access and edit one's profile and communicate with, and view the profiles of, other members.[31] Additionally, UIEvolution and MySpace developed a mobile version of MySpace for a wider range of carriers, including AT&T,[32] Vodafone[33] and Rogers Wireless.[34]

In the month of April 2007, MySpace launched a news service called MySpace News which displays news from RSS feeds that users submit. It also allows users to rank each news story by voting for it. The more votes a story gets, the higher the story moves up the page.

Full service classifieds listing offered beginning in August 2006. Has grown by 33 percent in one year since inception. MySpace Classifieds was launched right at the same time the site appeared on the internet.[35]

Launched April 29, 2008, ksolo.myspace.com is a combination of MySpace and kSolo, which allows users to upload audio recordings of themselves singing onto their profile page. Users' friends are able to rate the performances. A video feature is not yet available, but Tom Anderson, MySpace co-founder and president, states that it is in the works.[36]

MySpace Polls is a feature on MySpace that was brought back in 2008 to enable users to post polls on their profile and share them with other users.



In September 2006, a lengthy article written by web journalist Trent Lapinski, "MySpace: The Business of Spam 2.0," was published by the Silicon Valley gossip blog, Valleywag (a Gawker Media property). The article recounted a detailed corporate history of MySpace, alleging that MySpace was not organically grown from Tom Anderson's garage, but rather was a product developed by eUniverse aimed at overtaking Friendster, and that had initially gained popularity through an intensive mass internet campaign and not by word of mouth.[37] Amongst other claims was the assertion that Tom Anderson had originally been hired as a copyeditor and his "founder" and "first friend" status was a public relations invention. Lapinski suggested that News Corp. had attempted to suppress the publication of the history by threatening his original publisher.

In October 2006, Brad Greenspan (the former Chairman, CEO and largest individual shareholder of Intermix Media, who claims to be the true "founder of MySpace") launched a website and published "The MySpace Report" that called for the Securities and Exchange Commission, the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance to investigate News Corp's acquisition of MySpace as "one of the largest merger and acquisition scandals in U.S. history."[38] The report's main allegation is that News Corp. should have valued MySpace at US$20 billion rather than US$327 million, and had, in effect, defrauded Intermix shareholders through an unfair deal process.[39] The report received a mixed response from financial commentators in the press.[40] An initial lawsuit led by Greenspan challenging the acquisition was dismissed by a judge.[41]
Greenspan's report also states that the MySpace program code had originally been the brainchild of an Intermix/eUniverse programmer named Toan Nguyen who made the breakthrough technical contributions to the project.[42]
Valleywag speculated that Greenspan was likely a key source for Lapinski's September article, "MySpace founder accuses company of defrauding investors of $20 billion."


To compound potential issues, MySpace has no customer service telephone number readily available for the public,[43][citation needed] and contacting them for help via any other available corporate phone numbers rarely yields substantial results.

Because most MySpace pages are designed by individuals with little HTML experience, a very large proportion of pages do not satisfy the criteria for valid HTML or CSS laid down by the W3C. Poorly formatted code can cause accessibility problems for those using software such as screen readers.[44] The MySpace home page, as of August 18, 2008, fails HTML validation with around 125 errors (the number changes on sequential validations of the home page due to dynamic content), using the W3C's validator.[45]
Furthermore, MySpace is set up so that anyone can customize the layout and colors of their profile page with virtually no restrictions, provided that the advertisements are not covered up by CSS or using other means. As MySpace users are usually not skilled web developers, this can cause further problems. Poorly constructed MySpace profiles could potentially freeze up web browsers due to malformed CSS coding, or as a result of users placing many high bandwidth objects such as videos, graphics, and FlashPC World cited this as its main reason for naming MySpace as #1 in its list of twenty-five worst web sites ever.[46] in their profiles (sometimes multiple videos and sound files are automatically played at the same time when a profile loads). While MySpace blocks potentially harmful code (such as JavaScript) from profiles, users have occasionally found ways to insert such code.
In addition, new features have been gradually added (see featuritis). This, and the increasing number of MySpace members, leads to an increase in bandwidth used. This increase in usage often slows down the servers and may result in a "Server Too Busy" error message for some users who are on at peak hours, "Sorry! an unexpected error has occurred. This error has been forwarded to MySpace's technical group," or a variety of any other error messages throughout the day.[47]

In October 2005, a flaw in MySpace's site design was exploited by "Samy" to create the first self-propagating cross-site scripting (XSS) worm. MSNBC has reported that "social-networking sites like MySpace are turning out to be hotbeds for spyware," with "[i]nfection rates are on the rise, in part thanks to the surging popularity of social-networking sites like MySpace.com."[48] In addition to this, the customization of user pages currently allows the injection of certain HTML which can be crafted to form a phishing user profile, thus keeping the myspace.com domain as the address.[49] More recently, there has been spam on bulletins that has been the result of phishing.[50] Users find their MySpace homepage with bulletins they didn't post, realizing later they had been phished. The bulletin consists of an advertisement that provides a link to a fake login screen, tricking people into typing in their MySpace e-mail and password.
Other security fears regarding profile content itself are also present. For example, the embedding of videos inherently allows all of the format's abilities and functions to be used on a page. A prime example of this surfaced in December 2006, when embedded QuickTime videos were shown to contain hyperlinks to JavaScript files, which would be run simply by a user visiting a 'phished' profile page, or even in some cases by simply viewing a user's 'about me' elsewhere on the site. Users who entered their login information into a fake login bar that appeared would also become 'phished', and their account would be used to spam other members, thus spreading this security problem.[51]
MySpace's anti-phishing and anti-spam measures have also come under fire. In 2007, MySpace made changes such that external links on profiles would be redirected through the http://msplinks.com domain. For example, http://en.wikipedia.org would be changed to http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8v...BlZGlhLm9yZw==. (The new links are determined by Base64 encoding, as there are ways of decoding the link back into its original URL. [1]) MySpace staffers would be able to disable potentially dangerous links. (The changed links only work if the HTTP referrer is a MySpace page; otherwise, the link will appear to be disabled.) This move has been criticized that it makes profile editing inconvenient and that it does nothing to deter spammers. In February 2008, MySpace changed the system such that users who click such links (except for whitelisted domains like Wikipedia and YouTube) will receive a warning that they will be leaving the myspace.com domain. As of March 2008, this "feature" has been extended to blogs as well, although previous blog entries are unaffected unless the user updates them.
In January 2008, the states attorneys general of 49 states of the USA wrote guidelines for online safety for MySpace and other services. They included restrictions for behavior on social networking services.[52]
On 26 January 2008 over 567,000 private MySpace user pictures were uploaded from the site by using a bug published on YouTube and put on the Piratebay torrent site for download.[53]

Gatecrashed MySpace parties have cost lives, and caused thousands of dollars damage to property. The Sydney Morning Herald's online technology writer, Asher Moses, says that MySpace/Facebook parties are particularly prone to gatecrashing because news of events can spread to uninvited guests via "newsfeeds." He suspects some party hosts are oblivious to the actual number of people who get the message."[54] There have been a number of Gatecrashed MySpace parties that have received front page news.[54]

The minimum age to register an account on MySpace is 14.[59] Profiles with ages set from 14 to 15 years are automatically private. Users whose ages are set at 16 or over have the option to set their profile to public viewing. Accessing the full profile of, or messaging someone when their account is set to "private" (or if under sixteen) is restricted to a MySpace user's direct friends.
MySpace will delete these profiles if the victim verifies their identity and points out the profile via e-mail.[60]
Recently, MySpace has been the focus of a number of news reports stating that teenagers have found ways around the restrictions set by MySpace, and have been the target of online predators. Stricter methods for enforcing age admission will be enforced in the future, such as blocking a person from accessing MySpace using a computers IP address.[61] In response, MySpace has given assurances to parents that the website is safe for people of all ages. Beginning in late June 2006, MySpace users whose ages are set over 18 could no longer be able to add users whose ages are set from 14 to 15 years as friends unless they already know the user's full name or email address.[62][63] have launched online communities for parents concerned about their child's safety on MySpace. Some third party Internet safety companies like Social Shield
In June 2006, 16-year-old American Katherine Lester flew to the Middle East, to Tel Aviv, Israel, after having tricked her parents into getting her a passport in order to be with a 20-year-old man she met through MySpace.[64] U.S. officials in Jordan persuaded the teen to turn around and go home.
In October 2006, 13-year-old Megan Meier committed suicide after being the victim of cyber-bullying instigated by the mother of a friend who had posed as a 16-year old named "Josh Evans".[65]
In December 2006, MySpace announced new measures to protect children from known sex offenders. Although precise details were not given they said that "tools" would be implemented to prevent known sex offenders from the USA creating a MySpace profile.[66]
In February 2007, a U.S. District Judge in Texas dismissed a case when a family sued MySpace for negligence, fraud, and misrepresentation; a girl in the family had been sexually assaulted by a man she met through MySpace, after she had misrepresented her age as 18 when she was 13. Regarding his dismissal of the case, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks[67] wrote: "If anyone had a duty to protect Julie Doe, it was her parents, not MySpace."
In July 2007, the company found and deleted 29,000 profiles belonging to registered sex offenders.[68] Anti-pedophile organization Perverted Justice has praised MySpace for its efforts to combat pedophiles using their service.[69]
In October 2007, a study published in the Journal of Adolescence conducted by Sameer Hinduja (Florida Atlantic University) and Justin W. Patchin (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) concluded that most adolescents use MySpace responsibly: "When considered in its proper context, these results indicate that the problem of personal information disclosure on MySpace may not be as widespread as many assume, and that the overwhelming majority of adolescents are responsibly using the website," they say.[70]

Dave Itzkoff, in the June 2006 Playboy magazine, related his experiences of experimentation with membership in MySpace. Among his other criticisms, one pertains to the distance afforded by the Internet that emboldens members, such as females who feature photos of themselves in scant clothing on their profile pages or behave in ways they would not in person, and he indicated that this duplicity undercuts the central design of MySpace, namely, to bring people together. Itzkoff also referenced the addictive, time-consuming nature of the site, mentioning that the Playboy Playmate and MySpace member Julie McCullough, who was the first to respond to his add-friend request, pointedly referred to the site as "cybercrack". Itzkoff argued that MySpace gives many people access to a member’s life, without giving the time needed to maintain such relationships and that such relationships do not possess the depth of in-person relationships.
Furthermore, in terms of MySpace's potential for underhanded commercial exploitation, Itzkoff is particularly critical of the disturbing and fraudulent behavior of people who can contact a member, unsolicited, as when he was contacted by someone expressing a desire to socialize and date, but whose blog (to which Itzkoff was directed via subsequent emails) was found to be a solicitation for a series of commercial porn sites. Itzkoff is similarly critical of the more subtle commercial solicitations on the site, such as the banner ads and links to profiles and video clips that turn out to be, for example, commercials for new 20th Century Fox films. He also observed that MySpace’s much-celebrated music section is heavily weighted in favor of record labels rather than breakthrough musicians.
In relating criticism from another person, whom Itzkoff called "Judas," he illustrated that, while the goal of attempting to bring together people who might not otherwise associate with one another in real life may seem honorable, MySpace inherently violates a social contract only present when people interact face-to-face, rendering, in his opinion, the website nothing more than a passing fad:

Activist group MoveOn.org has criticized MySpace, claiming that the website practices censorship by not showing anti-media ads, removing fake profiles for high-profile media executives like Rupert Murdoch, and allegedly attempting to force users away from using third-party flash applications on their profiles.[72] MySpace also generated controversy for censoring YouTube videos.

According to Alison Kiss, program director for Security on Campus, social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook have made it easier for stalkers who target women on college campuses.[73]

The Chinese version of MySpace, launched in April of 2007, has many censorship-related differences from other international versions of the service. Discussion forums on topics such as religion and politics are absent, and a filtering system that prevents the posting of content about Taiwan independence, the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and other "inappropriate topics" has been added.[74] Users are also given the ability to report the "misconduct" of other users for offenses including "endangering national security, leaking state secrets, subverting the government, undermining national unity, and spreading rumors or disturbing the social order."[75]

On January 30, 2008, Bryan J. Pesta, a Cleveland State University assistant professor, and moderator of the Atheist and Agnostic Group, accused MySpace of pandering to religious intolerance by deleting atheist users, groups and content. Specifically, Pesta alleges that MySpace deleted AAG's account, and his own personal profile, based on complaints from people offended by atheism, and this was the second time MySpace deleted the group since November 2007, even though, according to Pesta, it had never violated the site's Terms of Service. The page was again hacked on Thanksgiving 2007, and restored three weeks later, before being ultimately removed again.[76]

Since early 2006, MySpace has offered the option to access the service in different regional versions. The alternative regional versions present automated content according to locality (e.g. UK users see other UK users as "Cool New People," and UK oriented events and adverts, etc.), offer local languages other than English, or accommodate the regional differences in spelling and conventions in the English-speaking world (e.g. United States: "favorites," mm/dd/yyyy; the rest of the world: "favourites," dd/mm/yyyy).
Sites currently offered are:

On February 5, 2008, MySpace set up a developer platform which allows developers to share their ideas and write their own MySpace applications. The opening was inaugurated with a workshop at the MySpace, San Francisco offices two weeks before the official launch. The MDP is based on the Open Social API which was presented by Google in November 2007 to support social networks to develop social and interacting widgets and can be seen as an answer to Facebooks developer platform. The first public beta of the MySpace Apps was released on March 5, 2008, with around 1,000 applications available.[77] [78]

Until June 2006, there was a concern amongst musicians, artists, and bands on MySpace such as songwriter Billy Bragg owing to the fine print within the user agreement that read, "You hereby grant to MySpace.com a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services." The fine print brought particular concern as the agreement was being made with Murdoch's News Corporation. Billy Bragg brought the issue to the attention of the media during the first week of June 2006.[79] Jeff Berman, a MySpace spokesman swiftly responded by saying, "Because the legalese has caused some confusion, we are at work revising it to make it very clear that MySpace is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist's work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends."
By June 27, 2006, MySpace had amended the user agreement with, "MySpace.com does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, 'Content') that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose."

Multiple schools and public libraries in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and Malaysia have restricted access to MySpace, seeing it as "a haven for student gossip and malicious comments."[80]
A Catholic school in New Jersey has even prohibited students from using MySpace at home, an action made to protect students from online predators as claimed by the school, although experts questioned the legality of such a ban. In Autumn of 2005 Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta Township, New Jersey made headlines by forbidding its students to have pages on MySpace or similar websites (such as Gaia) under threat of suspension or expulsion.[81][82][83]
Although schools, businesses, and some public libraries try to prevent the use of MySpace, they are not always successful; students have been known to use web proxiesdetention, suspension, exclusion, expulsionbanning them from school internet web access for the rest of the school year for those who refuse to follow school policies on internet access and cell phone use.[citation needed] and downloadable software, along with "fake browsers" in order to log in to the site. Administration is now enforcing disciplinary action and techniques such as installing surveillance cameras in computer labs and school libraries, along with using or

In May 2006, Long Island, New York teenagers Shaun Harrison and Saverio Mondelli were charged with illegal computer access and attempted extortion of MySpace, after both had allegedly hacked into the site to steal the personal information of MySpace users before threatening to share the secrets of how they broke into the website unless MySpace paid them $150,000. Both teens were arrested by undercover Los Angeles police detectives posing as MySpace employees.[84]
In April 2007, police in County Durham, United Kingdom, arrested a 17-year-old girl on charges of criminal damage following a party advertised on MySpace, held at her parents' house without their consent. Over 200 teenagers came to the party from across the country, causing آ£20,000 of damage, such as cigarette butts, urine on clothing, and writing on the walls. The girl's parents, who were away at the time, had to move out of the house.[85][86]

YouTube first appeared on the web in early 2005, and it quickly gained popularity on MySpace due to MySpace users' ability to embed YouTube videos in their MySpace profiles. Realizing the competitive threat to the new MySpace Videos service, MySpace banned embedded YouTube videos from its user profiles. MySpace users widely protested the ban, prompting MySpace to lift the ban shortly thereafter. But since then, links from each embedded video on MySpace to the home pages of the video on YouTube have been blocked making it more difficult to find the same videos on YouTube's website.[87]
Since then YouTube has become one of the fastest-growing websites on the World Wide Web,[88] outgrowing MySpace's reach according to Alexa Internet.[89] In July 2006 several news organizations reported that YouTube had overtaken MySpace.[90] In a September 2006 investor meeting, News Corp. COO Peter Chernin claimed that virtually all modern Web applications (naming YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, GooglePhotobucket) were really just "driven off the back of MySpace" and that "we ought to be able to match them if not exceed them."[91] and





As of Q1 2008, YouTube is not profitable, with its revenues being noted as "immaterial" by Google in a regulatory filing.[4] Its bandwidth costs are estimated at approximately $1 million a day.[4] It is estimated that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000, and that around ten hours of video are uploaded every minute.[8][9]

YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, who were all early employees of PayPal.[10]Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Chen and Karim studied computer scienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[11] The domain name "YouTube.com" was activated on February 15, 2005,[12] and the website was developed over the subsequent months. The creators offered the public a preview of the site in May 2005, six months before making its official debut. Prior to PayPal, Hurley studied design at together at the

Before the launch of YouTube in 2005, there were few simple methods available for ordinary computer users who wanted to post videos online. With its easy to use interface, YouTube made it possible for anyone who could use a computer to post a video that millions of people could watch within a few minutes. The wide range of topics covered by YouTube has turned video sharing into one of the most important parts of Internet culture.
An early example of the social impact of YouTube was the success of the Bus Uncle video in 2006. It shows an animated conversation between a youth and an older man on a bus in Hong Kong, and was discussed widely in the mainstream media.[13] Another YouTube video to receive extensive coverage is guitar, which features a performance of Pachelbel's Canon on an electric guitar. The name of the performer is not given in the video, and after it received millions of views the New York Times revealed the identity of the guitarist as Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old from South Korea who had recorded the track in his bedroom.[14]

According YouTube's terms of service,[15] users may upload videos only with permission of the copyright holder and people depicted in the videos. Pornography, nudity, defamation, harassment, commercial advertisements and material encouraging criminal conduct are prohibited. The uploader grants YouTube a license to distribute and modify the uploaded material for any purpose; this license terminates when the uploader deletes the material from the site. Users may view videos on the site as long as they agree to the terms of service; downloading through one's own means or copying of the videos is not permitted.

YouTube's success unintentionally affected the business of an American company, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipmentutube.com, was at one time frequently overloaded and shut down by high numbers of visitors unsure about the spelling of YouTube's domain name.[16] At the beginning of November 2006, Universal Tube filed suit in federal court against YouTube,[17] requesting that the youtube.com domain be transferred to them.[18] As of June 2008, the web address utube.com is showing a simple placeholder page, while Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment has moved to utubeonline.com. According to a WHOIS domain name search, Universal Tube still owns the domain http://www.utube.com.[19] Corp., whose original website address,

YouTube has been criticized frequently for failing to ensure that its online content adheres to the law of copyright. At the time of uploading a video, YouTube users are shown a screen with the following message:
Do not upload any TV shows, music videos, music concerts or commercials without permission unless they consist entirely of content you created yourself. The Copyright Tips page and the Community Guidelines can help you determine whether your video infringes someone else's copyright.
Despite this advice, there are still many unauthorized clips from television shows, films and music videos on YouTube. YouTube does not view videos before they are posted online, and it is left to copyright holders to issue a takedown notice under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Organizations including Viacom and the English Premier League have issued lawsuits against YouTube, claiming that it has done too little to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material.[20][21] Viacom, demanding $1 billion in damages, said that it had found more than 150,000 unauthorized clips of its material on YouTube that had been viewed "an astounding 1.5 billion times". YouTube responded by stating that it "goes far beyond its legal obligations in assisting content owners to protect their works". Since Viacom issued its lawsuit, YouTube has introduced a system of digital fingerprints that checks uploaded videos against the original content as a means of reducing copyright violation.[22][23]
In July 2008, Viacom won a court ruling requiring YouTube to hand over data detailing the viewing habits of every user who has watched videos on the site. The move led to concerns that the viewing habits of individual users could be identified through a combination of their IP addresses and login names. The decision was criticized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called the court ruling "a set-back to privacy rights". [24] US District Court Judge Louis Stantonterabytes of data. Judge Stanton rejected Viacom's request for YouTube to hand over the source code of its search engine system, saying that there was no evidence that YouTube treated videos infringing copyright differently. [25][26] dismissed the privacy concerns as "speculative", and ordered YouTube to hand over documents totalling around 12
YouTube has also faced criticism over the offensive content in some of its videos. Although YouTube's terms of servicedefamatory, the inability to check all videos before they go online means that occasional lapses are inevitable. Controversial areas for videos have included Holocaust denial and the Hillsborough Disaster, in which 96 football fans from Liverpool were crushed to death in 1989.[27][28] forbid the uploading of material likely to be considered inappropriate or

YouTube has been blocked in several countries since its inception, including Tunisia, Thailand (which has since been lifted) and Iran. Certain video pages were banned as of October 1, 2007 in Turkey, but this was lifted two days later. More recently on January 22, 2008 Turkey banned YouTube once again but this ban was lifted after three days. There is currently a ban on YouTube in Turkey since May 5, 2008. Certain pages are also banned in United Arab Emirates.
On February 23, 2008, Pakistan blocked YouTube due to "offensive material" towards the Islamic faith, including the display of pictures of the prophet Muhammad.[29] This action by the Pakistani authorities led to a near global blackout of the YouTube site for at least two hours.[30]VPN software called Hotspot Shield.[31] The YouTube ban was lifted on February 26, 2008 after the "offensive material" were removed from the site.[32] Thousands of Pakistanis undermined the 3-day block using a
YouTube has been subject to threats of censorship by various countries because of the content it hosts. It was blocked from Mainland China from the 18th October due to the censorship of the Taiwanese flag. URLs to YouTube were redirected to China's own search engine, Baidu. It was subsequently unblocked on the 31st of October.[33]
Schools in certain countries have begun to block access to YouTube due to students uploading videos of bullying behavior, school fights and racist behavior as well as increased bandwidth usage and other inappropriate content.[34]

With recent improvements to e-mail spam filtering technology and their wider use, spammers have begun using YouTube as way to advertise: popular videos frequently have comments with links to irrelevant external sites, usually with some enticing statements (such as "Great video, go to <site> for the full version"). To counter this, YouTube has blocked comments with URLs in them since late 2006; if a user tries to post a comment with a URL, it will be discarded and will not show up. As of August 2007, this "feature" seems to have been extended to profile comments as well, although the user will receive an ambiguous "error processing your comment" message. However, posting links is still possible in bulletins, private messages, or group discussions. Also, if a user posts many comments in a short period, they may be asked to complete a CAPTCHA, which was implemented when a notorious spammer abused the lack of a flood control. However, the lack of a CAPTCHA is still present in some areas of the site. Other examples of spammers include users who use non-related-to-video threats (including "Post this message to <number> friends or your mom will die in <number> hours") They may also send messages to a user's inbox (essentially in the form of a plain-text spam email). Some of these spam accounts also posted pornographic videos on YouTube. A slightly newer feature of YouTube is the ability to send invites to people through email by using the "Invite Your Friends" feature. Originally, this feature was indeed a useful feature to build a bigger community using YouTube. When spammers became aware of this, they decided to give it a try and found every email address possible to send random email invites. More so, they've now been able to cheat the system even more.


YouTube's video playback technology is based on Macromedia's Flash Player. This technology allows the site to display videos with quality comparable to more established video playback technologies (such as Windows Media Player, QuickTime and RealPlayer) that generally require the user to download and install a web browserplugin in order to view video. Flash also requires a plug-in, but Adobe considers the Flash 7 plug-in to be present on about 90% of online computers.[36] Users can view videos in windowed mode or full screen mode and it is possible to switch modes during playback without reloading it due to the full-screen function of Adobe Flash Player 9. The video can also be played back with third-party media players such as GOM Player, gnash, VLC as well as some ffmpeg-based video players.
Videos uploaded to YouTube are limited to ten minutes in length[37], and a file size of 1024MB (1 Gigabyte). One video at a time can be uploaded through the standard interface, and multiple videos can be uploaded with a Windows based plugin.[38] YouTube converts videos into the Flash Video format after uploading.[39] YouTube also converts content to other formats so that it can be viewed outside of the website (see below).
YouTube accepts uploaded videos in the .WMV, .AVI, .MOV, MPEG and .MP4 formats. It also supports 3GP, allowing videos to be uploaded directly from a mobile phone.[40]

A standard quality YouTube video has a picture 320 pixelsSorenson Spark H.263codec. The bit rate of the video signal is around 314 kbit/s with a frame rate dependent on the uploaded video.[41] wide by 240 pixels high and uses the video
In March 2008, YouTube launched a feature which allowed some of its videos to be viewed in 'High Quality' format. This format offers the possibility of better video definition (480x360 pixels instead of the standard 320x240 pixels) for any video uploaded after this date. YouTube decides which videos are capable of this improved quality based on the standard of the original upload. Users can choose "always show me higher quality when available" on their video quality settings page in their account pages to switch automatically to the better quality.
YouTube's high quality videos are available in two versions, both of which have a maximum picture size of 480 x 360 pixels. By adding &fmt=6 to the web address of a video, it is played using the H.263 codec with mono sound, and by adding &fmt=18, it is played using the H.264/MPEG-4 AVCstereo AAC sound.[42] codec with
When asked why YouTube did not choose HD format, the site answered : "Our general philosophy is to make sure that as many people as possible can access YouTube and that videos start quickly and play smoothly. That's one reason why you don't see us racing to call this "Super Duper YouTube HD," because most people don't want to wait a long time for videos to play."[43]

Standard quality YouTube videos contain an MP3 audio stream. By default, it is encoded in mono at a bit rate of 64 kbit/s sampled at 22050 Hz, giving an audio bandwidth of around 10 kHz. The default bit rate delivers passable but not hi-fi audio quality. It is possible for a standard quality YouTube video to have a stereo audio track if the movie file is converted to FLV format prior to upload. This can be done with programs, such as ffmpeg for Linux and Windows, ffmpegX for Macintosh or the commercial Riva FLV Encoder for Windows.[44]



YouTube accepts common video file formats and converts them to Flash Video in order to make them available for online viewing. Since June 2007, newly uploaded videos have also been encoded using the H.264 video standard to enable streaming of YouTube videos on devices that support H.264 streaming.

Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTMLsocial networking sites. YouTube videos can also be accessed via a gadget which is available for the iGoogle homepage.[45] markup which can be used to link to the video or embed it on a page outside the YouTube website, unless the submitter of a video chooses to disable the feature. A small addition to the markup allows the video to play automatically when the webpage loads. These options are especially popular with users of
YouTube videos are designed to be viewed while connected to the internet, and no official feature allows for them to be downloaded and viewed offline.[46] However, a number of third-party web sites, applications and browser extensions (such as Firefox extensions) exist for this purpose.[47]. Alternatively, .flv files can be copied from the 'Temporary Internet Files' folder in Windows, or the /tmp directory in GNU systems, to a permanent folder. The .flv files can then be viewed and edited directly or converted to other formats using various applications such as VLC media player.

YouTube launched its mobile site, YouTube Mobile on 15 June 2007. It is based on xHTML and uses 3GP videos with H.263/AMR codec and RTSP streaming. It is available via a web interface at m.youtube.com or via YouTube's Mobile Java Application.

YouTube TV Channel is on Information TV 2, and it started January 7, 2008. The channel is airing video sharing content from the YouTube website.

Apple Inc. announced on 20 June 2007 that YouTube is accessible on the Apple TV after installation of a free software update. Functionality includes browsing by category, searching videos, and the ability for members to log onto their YouTube accounts directly on Apple TV. Access to thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos are available, and there were plans to add thousands more videos each week. The entire catalog was targeted to be available in fall 2007. According to Apple VP David Moody, the reason for the delay was the need for all current YouTube content to be transcoded to Apple's preferred video standard, H.264.
Apple announced Wednesday, 20 June 2007 that YouTube would be available on iPhone at launch. Streaming is over Wi-Fi or EDGE.
Videos on YouTube for the iPhone are encoded in Apple's preferred H.264 format. All videos are viewed in the horizontal orientation of the phone. As YouTube videos have 4:3 aspect ratio and the iPhone is 3:2, videos must be viewed with black bars on the side (pillarboxed) or may be zoomed to trim some of the top and bottom to fill the screen.
Not all videos were available on iPhone initially because not every video was reencoded to H.264. There are two versions of each video on YouTube, one is higher bandwidth for Wi-Fi use, and one is lower resolution for EDGE or 3G use.
Unlike the Apple TV version, users cannot log in to their own YouTube accounts, but can create a separate favorites list just for the iPhone.

In June 2008, YouTube launched a beta test of Annotations, which can display notes or links within a video. Annotations allow for information to be added, for example stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene), and links to other YouTube videos. Annotations will not appear on videos embedded outside the YouTube website.[48][49]

On June 19, 2007, Eric E. Schmidt was in Paris to launch the new localization system. The entire interface of the website is now available with localized versions in numerous countries:
Google aims to compete with video-sharing websites like DailyMotion in France. It also made an agreement with local television stations like M6 and France Tأ©lأ©visions to legally broadcast video content.
On October 17, 2007 it was announced that a Hong Kong version had been launched. YouTube's Steve Chen said its next target will be Taiwan.[57][58]
On October 22, 2007 YouTube New Zealand had its launch party, stating that its aim was to help create YouTube celebrities within New Zealand. This was quickly evident with the rise of such New Zealand YouTube shows as Three Best Friends That Live Together and LiveFromJoes.
Plans for YouTube to create a local version in Turkey have run into problems, since the Turkish authorities asked YouTube to set up an office in Turkey, which would be subject to Turkish law. YouTube says that it has no intention of doing this, and that its videos are not subject to Turkish law. Turkish authorities have expressed concerns that YouTube has been used to post videos insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatأ¼rk and other material offensive to Muslims. [59]

Members of YouTube.com are offered to be a part of groups called "Channel Types" that make their channel more distinctive. At one time, when you signed up for a Director account setting, you were offered to have unlimited video length, but that is no longer offered, although the users who joined the "Director" group during that time still have that unlimited video length setting. At that time, they were still also limited to 100MB in video size, but now these accounts are limited to 1024 MB (1GB). The types are:

YouTube awards videos with honors, the most popular of which is "most viewed"[60] which are divided into four categories: today, this week, this month and all time. Honors include:

The viewing figures of some YouTube videos have been the subject of controversy, since there have been claims that automated systems have been used to inflate the amount of views received, which is forbidden by YouTube's terms of service. [61] In March 2008, an unofficial video of the song Music Is My Hot Hot Sex by the Brazilian band Cansei De Ser Sexy briefly held the number one slot for the all-time most viewed video, with around 114 million views. It was temporarily removed from YouTube after allegations of automated viewing or hacking, before being deleted by the uploader. [62] A spokesperson for YouTube commented: "We are developing safeguards to secure the statistics on YouTube. Although it is somewhat difficult to track how often this happens, it is not rampant. As soon as it comes to our attention that someone has rigged their numbers to gain placement on the top pages we remove the video or channel from public view." [63] Clarus Bartel from Italy, who had uploaded the video, denied attempting to boost its ranking, stating: "These gimmicks do not belong to me. I've got nothing to do with it. The accusations geared towards me have saddened me greatly." [64]
The YouTube video of the Avril Lavigne song Girlfriend has also been accused of having an exaggerated number of views due to the use of a link with an auto-refresh mechanism posted by AvrilBandAids, a fansite devoted to Avril Lavigne. Clicking on the link will automatically reload the YouTube video of Girlfriend every fifteen seconds. Fans of Avril Lavigne are encouraged to: "Keep this page open while you browse the internet, study for exams, or even sleep. For extra viewing power, open up two or more browser windows at this page!" [65] The video of Girlfriend overtook Evolution of Dance by Judson Laipply as the all-time most viewed video on YouTube in July 2008. As of August 2008, both videos have received around 95 million views. [66] [67]
A YouTube video featuring the anime franchise Evangelion[68] has a view count of around 97 million (as of August 2008), but has been barred from the YouTube charts due to automated viewing.

In 2006, YouTube presented the annual YouTube Video Awards.[69] Categories include "'most adorable video ever" and "most creative." YouTube nominates the contenders, and users decide the winners. Only original, user created videos are nominated. Nominees for the 2006 awards included Peter Oakley (geriatric1927), LonelyGirl15, thewinekone, Renetto, Nezzomic, and Chad Vader.[70][71]


Political candidates for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election have been using YouTube as an outlet for advertising their candidacies. Voters can view candidate statements and make videos supporting (or opposing) presidential candidates (e.g., videos for Ron Paul, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden.)[72][73] Third Party presidential candidates have also made extensive use of YouTube. Libertarian Steve Kubby's campaign debuted a short animated film, featuring the faces and voices of campaign contributors who financed its production, on YouTube on September 29th, 2007.[74] The U.S. media has often commented that YouTube played a significant role in the 2006 defeat of Republican Senator George Allen due to a video clip of him making allegedly racist remarks that was continuously replayed by YouTube viewers during the campaign.[75][76][77][78][79] Political commentators such as James Kotecki have also joined the YouTube world of politics. Many commentators make videos on YouTube critiquing a presidential candidate's YouTube videos, or simply using YouTube as a medium to get their opinions heard. Recently, French and Italian politicians, such as Antonio Di Pietro, have also been using the site as part of their campaigns. YouTube has also been used by former Australian Prime Minister John Howard in the lead up to the 2007 federal election.

In the run up to the 2008 Presidential elections, CNN aired a debate in which candidates fielded questions selected from a pool submitted by users of YouTube. Because of the use of technology to aggregate questions from a wide range of constituents, the forum has been referred to as "most democratic Presidential Debate ever".[80]

For the 2008 April Fools' Day prank, every "Featured Video" on the front page redirected to Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up," effectively rickrolling everyone who attempted to watch a featured video on the site.[81]