Open main menu was a website created by Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel and Kyle Vogt in 2007 to allow anyone to broadcast video online. user accounts were called "channels", like those on YouTube, and users were encouraged to broadcast a wide variety of user-generated live video content, called "broadcasts"., Inc.
Available inVarious
DissolvedAugust 5, 2014
OwnerTwitch Interactive (called, Inc until February 2014)[1]
LaunchedMarch 19, 2007; 12 years ago (2007-03-19)
Current statusDefunct

The company was an Internet startup based in San Francisco, California, with seed funding from Paul Graham of seed capital firm Y Combinator[2] and Series A funding with Alsop Louie Partners and Draper Associates.[3]

The original was a single channel featuring founder Justin Kan, who broadcast his life 24/7 and popularized the term lifecasting. In 2007, Justin Kan stopped broadcasting and relaunched into its later form as a network of thousands of various channels.[4]

Users were permitted to broadcast to an unlimited number of people for free, and watching broadcasts did not require user registration. Broadcasts that were considered to contain potentially offensive content were available only to registered users over the age of 18. Broadcasts containing defamation, pornography or copyright violations, or encouraging criminal conduct were prohibited by's terms of service.[5]

On February 10, 2014,'s and's parent company was rebranded as Twitch Interactive.[1] On August 5, 2014, was officially shut down so that the company could focus on Twitch.[6][7][8]


Company historyEdit

Lifecasting originsEdit

Justin Kan speaking at Gnomedex in 2007

The original was a single channel featuring Justin Kan. Wearing a webcam attached to a baseball cap and streamed online via a laptop-backpack system designed by co-founder Kyle Vogt,[9] Kan decided he would wear the camera 24/7, and he began streaming continuous live video and audio at midnight March 19, 2007.[10]

The novelty of the concept attracted media attention, and Kan interviewed with Ann Curry on the Today Show (April 2, 2007), Tom Merritt on the first episode of CNET Live, Nightline (April 6, 2007) and World News Tonight (April 8, 2007). His lifecasting project has been compared to EDtv, Being John Malkovich, and The Truman Show.[11]

Some of the few original life casters still exist today, while many faded into obscurity. A few of the original and popular lifecasters include: iJustine, a caster who still makes YouTube videos and has over 5 million subscribers on YouTube; Mooncricket Films, a San Francisco life caster who began lifecasting since the launch of; and JoeInIraq, the first and only lifecaster to stream his lifecast in Iraq in 2007–2008 during the War in Iraq, giving the world a unique view of how troops spent their downtime while in a hostile environment.

Expansion into platformEdit

In the summer of 2007, became a platform for more than 60 different channels.[12] The Directory at the top of each channel showed which channels were live and which were not broadcasting. Depending on the entry time, a visitor might have seen only a small selection of the available channels.

By August 2007, channels were being added at an average rate of two a day, with content covering both lifecasters and event streaming. The international locations range from Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and France to the Netherlands and Sweden. In some cases, a lifecaster might travel from one country to another, as was the case when Lisa Batey traveled from Brooklyn to Tokyo and Kyoto in 2007 and 2008. Not all the participants have mobile equipment, however, and most simply transmit an image of themselves sitting at their computer. During this same time frame, singer-songwriter Jody Marie Gnant and others began lifecasting on other websites such as Ustream, Stickam, Livestream, or began lifecasting independent of any major website.

On October 2, 2007, became an open network, allowing members of the public to register and broadcast.[13] By April 10, 2008, Kan stated in an Interview with Tom Merritt that had signed 30,000 broadcasting accounts.[14]

On March 14, 2008, added selectable Categories for broadcasters including: Featured, People & Lifecasting, Sports, Music & Radio, Gaming, News & Tech, Animals, Entertainment, Divas & Dudes.[15]

On Friday, June 27, 2008, added networks to the site, in which the user could make their own network with a forum, and officers that would act as moderators for the network.[16] On Thursday, March 25, 2010, these networks were removed from the site.[17]

On Monday, October 27, 2008, added Headlines which allows users to make reports on other broadcasters doing interesting things on the site, which then becomes edited and published for all users on the website to read and comment.[18]

For ease of use, a simplified redesign was introduced July 14, 2009.[19]

On Monday, April 5, 2010, changed the design of their archive page, renaming them to Past Broadcasts. Essentially all past broadcasts are saved as a clip, and deleted after 7 days. From the Past Broadcast you can highlight for permanent save.[20]

In June, 2011, separated its "Gaming" section to a new site, called[21]

On February 10, 2014, Twitch's and's parent company was rebranded as Twitch Interactive.[1]

TechnologyEdit's broadcasting and viewing was based on Adobe Flash. Users can broadcast directly from the site, with using Flash to auto-detect and stream from an attached webcam. also supported broadcasting using other third party software, most notably QuickTime Broadcaster, Camtwist, D3DGear Broadcaster, Flash Media Encoder, Wirecast, Open Broadcaster Software, FFSplit Broadcaster, XSplit Broadcaster and VLC, to allow broadcasters to add effects or stream higher quality video.[22][23] had no default video quality setting; instead, it set bitrate on a case-by-case basis by testing the broadcaster's available bandwidth. The broadcaster could also manually adjust the bitrate before going live. While broadcasting from the browser, the maximum quality settings were 1000 kbit/s for video and 44 kHz for audio. As a comparison, YouTube High Quality video at the time 400-500 kbit/s, and 720p high definition video is approximately 2000 kbit/s.[24][25] The 1000 kbit/s limit could be exceeded by using alternate broadcasting methods, such as Flash Media Encoder and Quicktime Broadcaster, and 720p video in H.264 had been broadcast by some users.

Following the re-design in July 2009, the default channel video size changed from a standard aspect ratio of 468 x 353 pixels to a widescreen 630 x 353 pixels.

Content accessibilityEdit

Like YouTube and other static video sites, allowed each channel to be accompanied with an HTML snippet, which allows users to embed video onto pages outside the site.[26] Another snippet is given to embed the associated chatbox as well, thus allowing users to recreate the basic functionality on another page. Broadcasters have the option of disabling embedding for their specific channel.

Following the release of the API in August 2009, released Flash SWF files that allows developers to include video in Flash projects.[27]


While the primary site was in English, there was support for users to translate the site into other languages. Two languages (Catalan and Spanish) have been translated completely, and an additional 17 were over 50% translated.[28]


Although attempted to align its policies with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,[29] it had been criticized for failing to ensure that its users respect copyright law.[30] In August 2009, announced a deal with Fox to actively filter streams in real-time.[31] used a filtering system from Vobile to detect and filter out any infringing content, and remove the channel from the website.[32]

During the period when consisted solely of Justin Kan lifecasting, Justin became the target of several pranks. A viewer spoofed Justin's caller ID (publicly available on the site) using an IP Relay service. On March 21, 2007, the spoofer called the San Francisco Police Department and filed a false report about a stabbing in the apartment. The following day, someone reported a fire at the apartment. The San Francisco emergency services then put's number on a list which requires a confirmation call before responding to any emergencies.[33] Kan changed his number and kept the new one private.

In July 2008,, a computer security group, released a non-malicious cross-site scripting (XSS) worm onto the site. After successfully propagating the virus, contacted programmers and worked with them to fix the vulnerability.[34]

In 2011, the American sports promotion company Zuffa sued for its users using the streaming service to watch pay-per-view matches of the UFC, violating certain trademark and copyright laws.[35] In March 2012, won a partial dismissal of the lawsuit, with the lone exception being in regards to copyright violations. One month later in April, settled with Zuffa for an undisclosed amount and both sides requested the lawsuit be dismissed.[36]

Suicide broadcastEdit

On November 19, 2008, 19-year-old Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide while broadcasting to a room full of viewers on his channel by ingesting an overdose of opiates and benzodiazepines. He was also struggling with bipolar disorder.[37][38] Biggs posted his suicide note online, as noted in The New York Times.[39]

The man's father, Abraham Biggs, Sr., says those who watched share some blame in his son's death.[40] CEO Michael Seibel stated,

We regret that this has occurred and respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time. We have policies in place to discourage the distribution of distressing content and our community monitors the site accordingly. This content was flagged by our community, reviewed and removed according to our terms of service.


  1. ^ a b c "Twitch parent company rebrands as Twitch Interactive". Mike Rose. Retrieved 2014-02-10.
  2. ^ "Live From San Francisco, It's Justin Kan's Life". 2007-04-11. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  3. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  4. ^ Gonzalez, Nick (2007-10-02). "Justin.TV Teams Up With On2 And Opens Network". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  5. ^ " Terms of Service". Retrieved 2009-09-02.
  6. ^ "Goodbye from". Justin.TV. 2014-08-05. Archived from the original on 2008-10-22. Retrieved 2014-08-16.
  7. ^ Machovech, Sam (2014-08-05). "Streaming video site announces closure effective immediately". Arstechnica.
  8. ^ Popper, Ben (2014-08-05). ", the live video pioneer that birthed Twitch, officially shuts down". The Verge.
  9. ^ "Kyle Vogt". 2007-05-22. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  10. ^ "A Conversation with Justin Kan of". 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  11. ^ Yang, Jeff. "Asian Pop: Man with a Cam" San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2007.
  12. ^ Guynn, Jessica (2007-05-29). "Can't get enough Justin? You can watch Justine: 'Natural star' ready to take on leading role in the latest around-the-clock Web show". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
  13. ^ Gonzalez, Nick (2007-10-02). "Justin.TV Teams Up With On2 And Opens Network". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  14. ^ Merritt, Tom. CNet Live. [1], April 10, 2008.
  15. ^ "The Many Pivots Of How A Livecam Show Became Home To Video Gaming Superstars". Fast Company. 2012-06-15. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  16. ^ " Blog: Biggest Release Ever!". 2008-06-27. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  17. ^ " Networks on the Blog". 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  18. ^ " Blog: New Feature — Headlines". 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  19. ^ Siegler, MG. " Redesigns To Make Broadcasting Easier And Chat More Obvious," TechCrunch. July 14, 2009.
  20. ^ " Blog: New Feature Past Broadcasts". 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  21. ^ "TwitchTV Blog: TwitchTV Official Blog". 2011-06-06. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  22. ^ "H.264". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  23. ^ "VLC Broadcasting API". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  24. ^ "How to encode your videos for YouTube's new High Quality Option". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  25. ^ "Encoding for YouTube 720p HD". Retrieved 2008-12-04.
  26. ^ " FAQ". Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  27. ^ " API Wiki". Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  28. ^ " translate". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  29. ^ " DMCA policy". Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  30. ^ Deleon, Nicholas. "UFC Files Lawsuit Againt [sic] As It Tries To Elmininate Illegal Online Streams Altogether". UFC Files Lawsuit Against As It Tries To Elmininate Illegal Online Streams Altogether. CrunchGear. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  31. ^ " signs deal with Fox, gets serious about copyright problems". Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  32. ^ " Placates Copyright Holders With Anti-piracy Tech". Retrieved 2010-04-17.
  33. ^ Arrington, Michael (2007-03-23). "Viewer Prank: Police Raid". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2009-07-30.
  34. ^ Danchev, Dancho (2008-07-14). "XSS worm at infects 2,525 profiles". ZDNet. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  35. ^ " Not Guilty Of 'Stealing Cable' When Users Stream UFC Matches". 2012-03-16. Retrieved March 23, 2012.
  36. ^ ", UFC Settle Copyright Lawsuit". Retrieved February 7, 2018.
  37. ^ Tribune Wire Staff (21 November 2008). "ABRAHAM BIGGS: Abraham Biggs overdoses in front of webcam, dies". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  38. ^ Gannes, Liz (20 November 2008). "19-year-old Commits Suicide on". GigaOm. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  39. ^ Stelter, Brian (24 November 2008). "Web Suicide Viewed Live and Reaction Spur a Debate". The New York Times. p. A16. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  40. ^ "Dead teen's father appalled by virtual audience". MSNBC. Associated Press. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2018.

External linksEdit