Is Utube The Same As YouTube?

By
Fri, 14 Sep 2018

Typos are a common mistake, especially on the Internet. And the Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corporation is very familiar with the problems that these mis-spellings can cause. For years, their website was located at utube.com. As the video platform YouTube grew in popularity, many people would up at Universal Tube's site by mistake. So just what is the difference between UTube and YouTube? We looked into the history of these two similar-sounding websites, and found out what caused this mistake, and what problems followed in its wake. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Are There Videos on utube.com?

No. Utube.com is a website owned by Universal Tube. The company buys and sells tube mills, pipe mills, and other roll forming machines. They bought the domain in 1996, more than a decade before YouTube was created. But once YouTube started getting popular, millions of people wound up on utube.com by mistake. This caused the site to crash many times, and resulted in a fair amount of angry emails. Later, Universal Tube moved their website to utubeonline.com. They still own utube.com, but all that's there now is a page full of ads and a banner redirecting people to their new URL.

YouTube vs UTube

YouTube UTube
Watch & upload videos
Rent movies
Livestream
Buy new & used tube mills

What is Typosquatting?

Typosquatting involves buying a domain name that is very similar to the URL of a popular website. If someone looking for the popular site misspells the name, they end up at your webpage instead. Many typosquatters will make their layout look very similar to the site that they're copying. This might cause a user to enter their email address, password, or other information. Some of these websites even contain dangerous malware that can infect the user's computer.

Why Do Typosquatters Do This?

People have different motivations for creating these confusing websites.

  • Make money off of advertising
  • Sell the domain to the owner of the popular site
  • Redirect traffic to a competitor
  • Collect and sell users' information
  • Install malware or adware

Conclusion

YouTube and UTube may sound the same, but they have nothing else in common. One is a popular video platform owned by one of the biggest corporations in the world. The other is a relatively small Ohio-based company that deals in tube and pipe mills. But these differences didn't stop their similar domain names from causing a lot of confusion. So the next time you're typing in a URL, be sure to double-check your spelling before you hit 'enter.'

In Depth

Have you ever typed in the wrong URL for a popular website? Well, back in 2006, millions of people made that mistake, and it managed to crash an entire website. The aforementioned site is owned by the "Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corporation", also known as "Utube".

When YouTube, the video-sharing website, was still in its infancy, its popularity was growing at a rapid pace. What this means is that a lot of people were still only learning about its existence. Because of this, a lot of them were accidentally going to the wrong "tube" site. With that said, let's quickly go through the difference between the two.

YouTube is a website where people can upload, comment on, and rate videos. It was founded in early 2005 by Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. All three of them were former employees of PayPal. In late 2006, the company was bought by Google for 1.65 billion dollars.

Not only did YouTube continue to grow, it also quickly became the most popular video-sharing website on the internet. As of 2017, the site has over a billion users, and thousands of hours of content are uploaded on the platform every day. Aside from user-generated content, YouTube also has a rental service where you can rent movies at varying prices.

They even have a paid subscription service called "YouTube Red" which gives users access to exclusive content, including original shows by YouTube and their partners. Subscribing to this service also lets you watch videos without advertisements. It even gives you the option to download videos, allowing you to view them offline.

Verified YouTube channels can also host live streams. You can even stream directly through the site's mobile app if your channel has over one hundred subscribers. This has been the go-to live platform for many content creators because of how they can easily save entire live broadcasts to their channels.

Utube, on the other hand, is short for "Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment Corporation". It's a company that specializes in tube mills, pipe mills, and other roll forming machines. The company is based in Ohio and was founded in 1985.

Aside from buying and selling used tube and pipe mills, they also sell several different types of metalworking machines and hand tools. They also offer a "Machine Reconditioning" service where they rebuild and upgrade your equipment based on your specifications.

In the wake of Google's acquisition of YouTube, more and more people on the internet wanted to check out this new video-sharing platform. The problem with this is that a significant amount of people were going to Universal Tube's website by mistake. The relatively small site couldn't keep up with this huge spike in traffic, which caused it to crash almost every day.

According to Universal Tube's owner, Ralph Girkins, they have lost a lot of potential customers due to the site's inaccessibility. The cost of maintaining their website also went up as they were forced to move it several times to accommodate the millions of visitors. And their emails were flooded with complaints from people who were confused by the lack of videos. Because of this, they filed a lawsuit against YouTube.

The lawsuit claimed that YouTube was infringing on their trademark. They asked for YouTube to either stop using a similar-sounding domain name or pay Universal Tube for the cost of establishing a new corporate identity.

Eventually, the company withdrew their claims against YouTube. They went on to purchase a new domain name, "utubeonline.com". Their old website is still active. But it only features several random advertisements and a banner that redirects users to Universal Tube's new site. One can assume that this was done to capitalize on all of the traffic, though no official statement was ever made regarding this.

This brings up the issue of typo-squatting, which is where someone registers a domain name based on a common misspelling of a popular brand. Usually, typo-squatters' websites are filled with advertisements to make money off of people's mistakes. Sometimes, they trick people into downloading malware under the guise of software updates. There are also harmless jokes, such as the "microtoft.com" website, which claims that it's a fan site for "the very small Mr Mike Toft".

In the case of Universal Tube though, their website has been around since 1996, which is more than a decade before YouTube's inception. The domain name incident was just an unfortunate coincidence that had a significant impact on Ralph Girkins' business. At the end of the day, the two websites are very different. The only thing they have in common is that they sound alike.