You don't need an account to watch videos on YouTube. If you want access to some of YouTube's other applications, you'll need to sign up for a membership. Most YouTube memberships are free, and you can change your account designation at any time.
Account types include:
- The basic YouTube account, called the YouTuber, allows members to upload videos, comment on other videos, rate videos with a one- to five-star rating system, designate videos as favorites, create a personal channel (YouTube's version of a member page), subscribe to other members' videos, share videos and befriend other YouTube users.
- Originally, members with director accounts could upload larger video files than average YouTubers. Eventually, YouTube allowed all members to upload larger files. Today, directors can personalize their own member channels with performer information and logos, and their videos appear on the directors channel on the main YouTube channels page.
- Comedian accounts are for people who upload videos that are intentionally funny and promote their careers. Members with a comedian account can include a schedule of performance dates on their personal member channels.
- Musician accounts are for members who want to promote their musical talents. Like comedian accounts, members with musician accounts can include a schedule of performances on their personal channels.
- Guru accounts are for people who have a high level of expertise in one or more subjects. Their videos are designed to teach people how to do something, how something works or generally educate the viewer. Gurus have a special section for personal information in their personal channels.
- Nonprofit accounts are for nonprofit organizations to promote philanthropic causes and gather donations. YouTube allows nonprofit organizations to include a donation application from Google checkout on the organization's channel page.
- Partners are people or organizations that have formed a partnership with YouTube. Partners provide content to the site and share in revenue generated from advertising. Account holders can include huge corporations like major television studios or individual YouTubers who have achieved a high level of visibility and popularity.
- The last category of memberships is sponsors. YouTube sponsors pay to have content featured prominently on YouTube's homepage.
In the next section, we'll learn about YouTubers' personal channels.