Then I remembered the “WayBack Machine” from the Internet Archive, a digital archive of versions of web pages at different points of time. Imputing http://youtube.com into the WayBack Machine resulted in a timeline of all the archived YouTube pages dating back to 2005 [see Figure 1 & 2].
Figure 1. The WayBack Machine Homepage on the Internet Archive site, archive.org.
Figure 2. The Results of Searching for “http://youtube.com”
Picking dates at randon, I wanted to show YouTube prior to being acquired by Google in 2006, pre-Google, YouTube, and Youtube in 2014. Figure 3, 4, and 5 demonstrate what I found:
Figure 3. YouTube from 28 August 2005:
As you can see, post-Google YouTube, with the tagline: Broadcast Yourself, is much cleaner, but advertisements were nothing new, though few in number, as evidenced by the Cingular video and banner to the right.
Figure 4. YouTube from 6 October 2010:
This commoditized YouTube, now the “largest world-wide sharing community,” clearly contains copyrighted material (popular, recorded music) and digital content in the sponsored recommended, featured, trending, and popular videos.
Figure 5. YouTube as of 7 April 2014:
...And when you click on “Best Classroom April Fools Prank Ever”:
Today’s YouTube is no longer reticent about the fact that is a haven for advertisers and the entertainment industry willing to pay the price, from the top banner that features a new advertisement every time you refresh the page, to the Coldplay official video next to it waiting to be clicked on and the advertisement featured before the amateur created April Fools video.