Crazy Stories Behind the Origin of Popular Websites

Nov 18, 2019 Kayode Oseh

We often visit different websites in an attempt to fulfill a particular task or engage in specific activities. We either visit them to purchase goods e.g online stores or we go there to connect with new people e.g social medias. But when we discover a lot about these websites, we will realize that most of them were majorly not created for the purpose they seem to serve currently. We will notice that they actually started off much differently than they appear today.

Most of us are quite familiar with these websites, but how many of us truly know the reason why they created? lets find out.

YouTube was suppose to be a dating site


YouTube as it currently is today, is a hub of different categories of videos. Although the aim of this website has always been for video uploads, but not the types of videos it seem to contain today. Youtube was officially launched in the year 2005 in a attempt to create an environment were different people come to seek for spouses. The aim was for users to upload videos of themselves describing themselves and what they want in a prospective partner. It was said that during the time of it launch, no one actually uploaded any video. However, In order not to make the effort of building such site a waste, the founders then decided to allow people upload videos of just about anything. One could now upload videos of any category. This is what actually made YouTube what it is today and why you could see tons of different categories of videos in it.

Instagram was actually made for meetups


Instagram is mainly famous today for being a platforms for sharing photos, but it wasn't majorly made strictly for such a purpose. This website was created in 2010 by Kevin Systrom and co-founder Mike Krieger and the site was initially named Burbn. A name inspired by "bourbon whiskey", a type of American liquor that is strictly made from corn. Although no one knew why they decided to give the website such a name but lets just assume they love the drink or rather the name. It is said that Burbn was initially created to be a website to plan meet-ups. A platform where users could post meetups locations with friends and can even include photos of that location before or after they meet.  

However, this purpose didn't really go well with users due to the fact that the site was too complex to use. But one of the major activity users would love to do was share photos of different kinds. This actually gave the founders some insight, they reduced the work load of the site by removing lots of features that made it seem complex and made the site strictly a place for sharing photos and they then called it Instagram. 

WhatsApp was originally for status updates 


WhatsApp is actually one of the best phone applications to have hit our society. What we actually know about WhatsApp today was not really the main reason why the application was created. According to the founder Jan Koum, who co-founded the app with Brian Acton in 2009, he said the inspiration behind the application came when he first purchased an iPhone in 2009. He needed a way to let his callers know his status at any point in time, whether he was free, busy, or in the gym. A way that will communicate to his contacts his present situation which will come in form of an updated status.

However, the application at first never gained any prominence until much later when Apple -developers of iPhone, introduced a push notification which allow users to receive an instant notification whenever someone change their status. Jan Koum then realized that users frequently updated their status in an attempt to communicate with themselves as if it were an instant messenger. Quickly he enhanced the function of Whatsapp and included lots of features to it including way to upload photos.

Facebook Was initially made For Comparing Pictures


Facebook currently has 2.41billion users worldwide, it means one in every three people in the world uses this application. This is actually an app majority of us have in our phones and a place were most of us spend half our day. It will actually be better if we know the motivation behind the development of this application. According to Mark Zuckerberg, the inspiration behind Facebook all started when he first launched a website he called Facemash. The function of Facemash was to require users to click a button to determine whose photo was best.

In order to accumulate users for the site, he hacked into the data base of Harvard's University where he was a student, stealing photos used on students IDs. However, it wasn't long before the website was shutdown by the school authorities. But using this inspiration, Mark was able to developed the Facebook application that will not only have something to do with photos but also a place where new people can meet and connect. 

Pez Dispenser was the reason for creating eBay


Pez dispenser is a small container that contains Pez candy, a compressed peppermint sweet made in Vienna Austria. This candy often comes with it own dispenser (Pez dispenser). However, not very popular in Africa but you can actually get some in major supermarkets in Nigeria most especially in Lagos and Abuja. 

The idea of eBay all started with the need of dealers who wished to sell their Pez dispnesers. Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay had a girlfriend, Pamela, who was a Pez dispenser collector.  She needed a way to find dealers who wished to sell dispensers. With Pierre willing to help, he designed a small shopping area in his personal website where dealers can connect with themselves. Soon enough the site experienced a large number of visitors who did not only advertise pez dispensers but also other products including clothes and toys. With the inflow of so many advertisers, Pierre created a new domain he called eBay, where he relocated the visitors to continue with their marketing.


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