Corporate Eye

YouTube Celebrates 5th Birthday

youtube_logoIt’s hard to believe that five years ago YouTube didn’t exist and uploading and sharing personal videos online was actually challenging.  On February 14, 2005, the domain was registered.  Less than 2 years later, in October 2006, was sold to Google for $1.65 billion.  Today, it’s the most trafficked online video site with over 100 million unique visitors watching over 7 billion videos each month (source).  YouTube is a powerful global brand and is positioned as the market leader in the online video industry.

Now, that’s a brand success story!

It’s well known in branding theory that being first to market is an important element of strong brand positioning, but it’s not a guarantee of success.  The founders of YouTube created the right site at the right time.  They recognized an opportunity, and they capitalized on it.  Fortunately for their wallets, the almighty Google also recognized the opportunity, and coughed up a lot of money to purchase YouTube in 2006.  It’s interesting to wonder if YouTube would have grown to the massive size that it is today without Google behind it.  However, it’s equally interesting to wonder what YouTube would have grown into without Google behind it.

Other competitors have come and gone, but YouTube still holds a massive market share advantage over those competitors.  While YouTube has become the go-to site for personal videos and video sharing, many businesses and brands are also creating branded YouTube channels to leverage the growing interest in online video among consumers.  The problem for online video viewers is finding the credible content amidst the clutter that has become one of the biggest criticisms of YouTube.

YouTube will remain the leader for some time, but it seems apparent that changes need to come to the site to separate the branded content from the content uploaded by teenagers lip synching to Hannah Montana.  That’s the current opportunity for YouTube.  The YouTube brand image has shifted to focus more on personal video sharing over the years, leaving a large market open for a competitor to snatch if YouTube allows it.

What do you think?  Will YouTube look the same on its 10th birthday or will changes be made?  Leave a comment and share your predictions.

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.

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