The first YouTube video was uploaded in April of 2005, making this month the five year anniversary of the online video revolution.
Wired celebrates with their top five reasons YouTube was successful, and all are valid: YouTube attracted viral content, found a workable business model (eventually), cooperated with those concerned their content was being uploaded illegally, gave rise to a new class of talent, and continues to innovate. These were all instrumental in the rise of YouTube, but they missed an important factor that doesn’t fit into any of those qualities.
YouTube was one of the first sites to recognize that a website could be popular without anyone visiting it. By making videos embeddable on any blog or website, YouTube didn’t have to bring you to www.youtube.com to get you to watch their videos. Thus YouTube became less a video sharing website than a video sharing network – a distinction which invites more content.
The embed code on most YouTube videos is a string of letters and numbers that means little to most users. Yet that string is why YouTube is where it is today: everywhere.