The YouTube Awards (also known as the YouTube Video Awards) was a promotion run by the video-sharing website YouTube to recognize the best user-generated videos of the year. The awards were presented twice, in 2007 and 2008, with winners being voted for by the site's users from shortlists compiled by YouTube staff. YouTube was launched on February 14, 2005, and quickly began to grow – by July 2006, traffic to the site had increased by 297 percent. As a result of this success, YouTube launched their own awards promotion in March 2007 to honor some of the site's best videos. Seven shortlists were compiled, with ten videos per shortlist. Users were invited to vote for the winners over a five-day period at a dedicated web page. Singer Damian Kulash, whose band OK Go won in the Most Creative category for their music video Here It Goes Again, said that receiving a YouTube Award was a surreal honor and that the site was changing culture "quickly and completely".
The YouTube Awards returned the following year, to commemorate the best videos of 2007. That year, the number of categories was expanded from seven to twelve, while the number of videos per shortlist was reduced from ten to six. Critics noted that unlikely newcomers, such as Battle at Kruger and Stop the Clash of Civilizations by Avaaz, had triumphed over more established videos, such as I Got a Crush...On Obama and Leave Britney Alone! Reaction to the YouTube Awards was generally negative. In 2007, commentators questioned why a promotion to recognize the best videos of 2006 was taking place so late into the year, and contrasted the awards with the similar Vloggies. Attention was also drawn to the timing of the 2007 awards: five days after media conglomerate Viacom had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube for copyright infringement. Technology evangelist Don Dodge suggested that the awards were an attempt by YouTube to highlight content on their website that did not violate copyrights before the case went to trial.
YouTube was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim, three former employees of PayPal. The website was activated on February 14, 2005, and quickly began to grow – in the six months to July 2006, traffic to the site grew by 297 percent. In October that year, Google bought YouTube for US$1.65 billion; two months later, Time selected "You" as their 2006 Person of the Year, to recognize the growth of user-generated content on sites such as YouTube. Reflecting on the year, Jamie Byrne, YouTube's head of product marketing, remarked: " was really a pioneering year for online video and for user-generated content." According to comScore Media Metrix, the website attracted 133.5 million visitors worldwide during January 2007.