April Fools! YouTube is Shutting Down & Announcing a Winner

Well, surely it’s April 1st somewhere, right?

YouTube has kicked off the prank season early by launching the first of what will surely be an entertaining string of April Fool’s Day jokes online.

The website quietly released a video this morning (March 31) with the title “YouTube’s ready to select a winner.”

The video features YouTube employees explaining that the video sharing website has actually been a competition website all along, and they are preparing to close the competition, announce the winner, and delete every video every uploaded to the insanely popular website.

YouTube’s ‘Competition Director’ Tim Liston explained: “Tonight at midnight, YouTube.com will no longer be accepting entries. After eight amazing years, it is finally time to review everything that has been uploaded to our site and begin the process of selecting a winner.”

A bevy of YouTube celebrities, including Antoine Dodson, iJustine, and Kassem G. also appear in the video, talking about the strategies they used in trying to win the competition. The stars of viral videos ‘David After Dentist‘ and ‘Charlie Bit My Finger‘ also appear in the video, talking about the extensive efforts their parents went to in order to enter the contest.

Speaking of his ‘contest entry, ‘David After Dentist explained: “My dad put a lot of money into this dental surgery that I didn’t even need, just so we can win this contest. He’ll be really upset if we lose.”

Other YouTube celebrities have jumped on the back of this prank, including Phillip DeFranco. Shortly after the video was published (but long before many people saw it), DeFranco announced, “Bittersweet feeling right now. Weird that tomorrow will be the last day of Sourcefed and the PDS,” to his substantial Facebook and Twitter following.

With 70 hours of footage uploaded every minute (Up from 48 hours just one year ago), it will surely take a long time to review everything and pick a winner. To find out just how long, a source at Google also tells us they employed the skills of one of their many quantitative analysts (fancy way of saying mathematician with a steady paycheck) to calculate just how long it will take, and with 30,000 people on the job, the answer is approximately 10 years, which is why YouTube will re-open in 2023 featuring only videos by the winner.

To give you an idea of just how much YouTube has grown over the past few years, in 2010 it was estimated that it would take one person 2800 years to watch every YouTube video (or, 30,000 people approx. 1 year). Now, thanks in part to the Harlem Shake and parodies of Gangnam Style, it would take 30,000 people almost a decade.

As is fitting for a billion dollar business, the winner will walk away with a dated MP3 Player and $500.

Watch a mash-up of the best of YouTube 2012 below: