On March, 19th of 2007, an aspiring tech entrepreneur named Justin Kan began streaming his life live, 24/7, from a head-mounted webcam. The project, dubbed Justin.tv, was a bizarre and often blindingly boring stunt that would lead to the emergence of one of the largest video platforms on earth, just not the one Kan or his co-founders had imagined.
After proving out the concept with Kan, the company began to look for more participants. It's second star was iJustine, who launched herself into a web video career that is estimated to have made her millions. It eventually brought on about 60 live-streamers, with the goal of creating a network of reality stars whose entire lives would be broadcast online.
Then, in October of 2007, Justin.tv decided to open itself up as a platform, allowing any user to set up a live stream. That change provided a huge boost to audience growth, and within eight months, the company had 1 million registered users. It was one of the first services to feature live video next to live chat. But the founders felt they didn't really have a clear sense of where they were headed, or how to make money at scale.
"J TV will probably be remembered as one of the most awkward internet experiments of all time."
So in June of 2011 the team decided to focus in on the most popular section of Justin.TV: users who were broadcasting and watching streams of live video gaming. The new project was called Twitch.tv. That company quickly grew into a global phenomenon. It now represents one of the biggest sources of web traffic during peak hours, and is reportedly being acquired by Google for $1 billion. In February of 2014 Justin.tv officially rebranded the entire company to Twitch Interactive, and today they put the final nail in the coffin, turning off the Justin.tv website, mobile apps, and API.
"J TV will probably be remembered as one of the most awkward internet experiments of all time," said Justin.tv COO Kevin Lin. "It's one of those things that can only happen in the age of the internet.