The popular video hosting site has hit the headlines several times recently for all the wrong reasons so I thought I’d draw focus back to the real reasons this website is always on my favourites list.YouTube was founded back in February 2005 by three early employees of PayPal and has already grown to become one of the most popular sites on the Internet.It provides users with a way to upload video content as well as being able to immediately view a huge number of video files completely free of charge.

As you would well imagine the variety of the content is huge – with 65,000 videos being uploaded every 24 hours you can type practically any word or phrase in to the search box and without fail a number of results will be returned.All videos are rated by users of the site and if you choose not to search by keyword you can also view videos by category, user rating, age and popularity.

Personally I predominately use YouTube to search for music online as the extensive range of content means that you can easily find not only quickly and easily find any song you choose but additionally the associated video.Using YouTube I have managed to locate a number of more obscure songs that even several different popular peer to peer file sharing programs couldn’t help me with.The website also sets itself apart in the fact that you don’t actually download the video to your machine but simply watch it on demand.

Of course many use YouTube as the modern day equivalent of public access TV and come up with original material which can be informative, funny or just completely weird.Whilst theoretically no copyrighted material is available on the site in reality the sheer number of videos uploaded on a daily basis coupled with a rather primitive detection system means that this really isn’t the case.As the popularity of YouTube soars this will have to be something they pay more attention too if they are to avoid heavy legal bills in the future.

YouTube has also suffered criticism caused by its open door policy which means any user can upload material without its content being checked by a member of admin staff.Despite the huge amount of activity online there are only around 50 staff working for the company which means that very few videos can be randomly checked to ensure they don’t breech the terms and conditions of the site.Users can of course flag up questionable material however due to a shortage of manpower such material is often online for short period before being removed.

There is no doubting that YouTube will have to become more efficient in banning violent, pornographic and illegal videos that may work their way in to the system if it is to continue.I do however think that it is worthwhile remembering despite the pitfalls the site does provide a very worthwhile way for users to share videos with the world.Such a facility is especially useful for amateur producers who may have previously had no other way of showcasing their work.

Those without a broadband connection will probably want to give this site a miss but everyone else should certainly check out when they have a spare half an hour as there is certainly something for everyone on this site.


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.