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YouTube: Our humor, not our hack

In preparing to add new features, company's engineers lead some users into thinking site was hacked.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
Engineers at video upload site YouTube.com played a practical joke on fans late Thursday evening as they prepared to roll out new site features.

YouTube, which hosts homemade videos, took down the site and posted a cryptic and grammatically incorrect place-holder message written in capital letters: "All your video are belong to us."

The inability to get on to the site and the poor grammar, a likely reference to a poorly translated video game that evolved into an animated Web phenomenon some years ago, had some YouTube fans believing that the site had been hacked. At around 10:45 p.m. PT, an additional sentence appeared that let confused users in on the hoax: "No, we haven't be hacked. Get a sense of humor."

YouTube posted a note on the site at 7 p.m. PT warning users that it would be going down, said YouTube spokeswoman Julie Supan. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has often placed humorous photographs or messages up when performing maintenance on the site.

"This is what the engineers do, they have fun with our users," Supan said. "They're all cracking up right now. You have to remember who our fan base is. They don't want some dry message."

Supan declined to reveal what site features are debuting Friday, but did say that they would not include a new advertising model. Industry insiders are waiting to see how the company presents ads to its audience of 12 million users.

The Internet's No. 1 video variety show, YouTube is facing growing competition from some big-time players. On Wednesday, Yahoo said it would launch a new video Web site in order to challenge YouTube.

Google and AOL have also jumped into the user-generated video market.