Most of these YouTubers are still active, but have reduced their output or pivoted to other mediums. (Illustration by James O'Toole, Grand Valley State University)
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These four YouTubers were the hottest thing to watch on your desktop computer in the early 2000s.

When YouTube was first launched in 2005, critics were unsure about whether the platform would be successful or not. Despite these doubts, the online platform became one of the fastest-growing sites within a year, sharing tens of thousands of uploads each day. From cat videos to snippets of a baby biting his older brother’s finger, YouTube has been known for providing a place for users, otherwise known as “YouTubers,” to post any and every kind of video.

This increase in online video content forged the creation of a new breed of celebrity: YouTubers. Now, over a decade after the website’s launch, famous YouTubers have evolved from young children making home videos to professionals filming high-quality videos on a variety of trending topics — and making millions of dollars doing it.

As consumers began ditching cable TV and DVD players, YouTubers became more and more popular, especially within the past five years. Social media and content creating apps like YouTube are so convenient and easy that YouTubers are able to build an entire empire from the palm of their hands.

There are some YouTubers, however, who were once well-known but have now decided to quit producing videos for a variety of reasons. Where are they now? Here are four YouTubers who were more well-known in the earlier days of YouTube but have not made many videos in recent years.

1. Kingsley

In 2009, Kingsley, or King Russell, became one of the first YouTubers to gain fame, even before the term YouTuber was officially coined. Known for his entertaining commentary on pop culture and rants on subjects like birds and driving, Kingsley took the internet by storm.

During his famous “Overexposed” series, the YouTube star expressed his thoughts on that month (or year’s) popular topic in pop culture. In another popular series, dubbed “Ask Kingsley,” Kingsley asked his fans’ questions in a witty way, causing viewers all over the world to flock to his channel.

As time went on, fans noticed that the famous YouTuber stopped making videos on the platform as often as he once did. After lots of questioning and speculation from fans, Kingsley shared a video to his nearly three million subscribers last year appropriately titled “I’m Coming Clean Like Hillary Duff” as a homage to his pop-culture roots, as well as a way to foreshadow his genuine thoughts on the subject at hand.

In the video, he explains how YouTube’s various rules and restrictions on content do not align with his interests and preferences. He expressed his disdain for the lack of creativity and authenticity in the videos on the website’s trending page.

As of now, Kingsley continues to maintain a low profile and has not uploaded to his channel in seven months. While he has deleted all of his older videos, he is still active on other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

2. Glozell

Another popular YouTuber who made videos before YouTube exploded is Glozell Green. Known for her song translations and comedic challenge videos, Glozell quickly gained a large following on her channel, amassing nearly 5 million subscribers of all ages.

Despite her success, the YouTube star gradually posted fewer and fewer videos, especially during the major changes in her life, such as her marriage, the birth of her first child via surrogate and her surrogate’s miscarriage of her second child. As a result, her videos have started to lose traction, despite her weekly uploads and efforts to make more song-translation videos, among other things. Fans claim that Glozell has shifted her content, while “What’s Trending” on YouTube has also changed.

Nevertheless, Glozell has focused on expanding her career in different aspects, like her recent appearance as Little Debbie in “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” the second installment in the “Wreck It Ralph” franchise. In 2016, she released her autobiography “Is You Okay?” which highlights her life’s numerous milestones, trials and tribulations.

3. Connor Franta

Known for his videos with popular YouTube group O2L (which stands for Our Second Life) and his individual lifestyle videos, Connor Franta became one of the most popular YouTubers back in 2012. While the rest of O2L continued to make the same kind of content with their more juvenile comedic videos, Franta decided to leave the group due to lack of connection to the channel.

Shortly after he made this announcement, Franta came out as gay while expressing his struggles with coming to terms with his sexuality. The YouTuber shared his story with fans to assure them that they are not alone. Over time, Franta has amassed over 5 million subscribers and continues to show his shift in content from comedic sketches to lifestyle videos and short films.

While Franta has not posted a video on his channel in two months, he is still active on his social media platforms and pursues his passions for photography and filmmaking.

4. Rebecca Black

Known for her infamous song “Friday,” Rebecca Black is one of the most well-known YouTubers on this list. While her initial intention of posting the song was to have her family and friends watch it, it quickly became a viral sensation.

At a time when most people expected the young girl to quit YouTube and music, due to the backlash she received, Black decided to become a full-time YouTuber and expand her music career. From making the typical Q&A videos to posting covers and other music-related videos, Black gained nearly 2 million subscribers to date, especially after she posted a video reacting to her song “Friday.” As she started to make videos on trending topics, she started to break free from her past and establish herself as someone with a variety of talents.

However, in the past year, she slowly stopped posting videos to her channel, despite being active in the music industry and on social media platforms. She recently released a new single called “Anywhere” and is on tour with the experimental group “Man Man Band” for a few of their shows on the West Coast.

Only time will tell when Rebecca Black and the other YouTubers on this list will post on their channels again. Who will be the next set of YouTube stars?


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