name tags

How Did Famous YouTubers Get Their Names?

As an average YouTube viewer, have you ever referred to MrBeast as Jimmy Donaldson? Probably not.

A YouTube channel name seems like a fundamental decision. Choosing a pseudonym to produce content under seems like choosing a name that could potentially replace your birth-given name. Famous YouTubers picked names in some way and are now known as some of the most-subscribed channels on the platform by their original decision.

Famous YouTuber Names

While a name creates a simple avenue for searching our favorite YouTube stars, it is also a reflection of the YouTuber and his or her content. Fans commonly wonder about the origin of famed YouTuber channel names as most are unlike any other. So how did different YouTube stars come up with their channel names?


Felix Kjellberg, the famed Swedish YouTuber and Let’s Player, officially named his channel PewDiePie in 2010 and has been loyal to the title ever since. He created a YouTube gaming channel under the name “PewDie” in 2006, in which he claims, “I just put ‘Pew’ – from lasers – and ‘Die’ together and we have PewDie.” After forgetting the password to his PewDie account, Kjellberg created a new account on April 29, 2010, under the name “PewDiePie”. He added “Pie” due to a sound effect – a high-pitched “pie” – that he would add after yelling “PewDie” during his gaming commentary. Fans have come to know and love the star as PewDiePie.

Dude Perfect

Dude Perfect is a YouTube channel owned by five friends – Garrett Hilbert, Cory and Coby Cotton, Tyler Tony, and Cody Jones. Dude Perfect was launched on April 9, 2009. The group’s name was founded in their early days when a video amassed 200,000 views in a week. Tony explained, regarding the decision about the name, that Cory and Coby branded the group “Dude Perfect”. He stated that while filming their first viral video, “Tyler was in frame already and he [Sean] said ‘dude, perfect’,” realizing that he didn’t even need to move the camera. The guys have since become well-known with the help of their name.


Jimmy Donaldson is known across the web as the famed YouTuber, MrBeast. His channel was first created in 2012 when Donaldson was only 13. He originally named his channel MrBeast6000 after his Xbox Live gamer tag, he elaborates by stating, “I honestly have no idea where I got that from”. For the first few years after his channel’s launch, Donaldson changed his name back and forth from “MrBeast6000” to “MrBeast” numerous times. However, he stated in an upload posted on August 3, 2015, removing the “6000” was due to realizing that “For the most part, no [big] YouTubers have numbers in their name.” He landed on MrBeast shortly after that statement.


Mark Fischbach is widely known online as Markiplier. As of November of 2019, his YouTube channel held over 10 billion views. When Fischbach first created his first YouTube account in 2012, he was in hopes of creating sketch comedy videos of himself as several different characters. The star claims that “My brother came up with it … my name is Mark, I would multiply myself. Multiplier, Mark, Markiplier.” After switching to gaming videos, Fischbach stuck with his original name despite it no longer making sense.


Evan Fong joined the YouTube community on September 15, 2011, under the name VanossGaming. Fong adopted the name “Vanoss” from his father’s PlayStation 3 account name, “vanoss62”. The term “vanoss” references a variable valve timing system made by BMW (VANOS), and the number “62” was used referring to an S62 engine in the BMW M5. While he played on his father’s account as a child, Fong chose to carry on the name by adding his channel’s niche. He ultimately ended up with “VanossGaming”, a name famed with over 25 million subscribers.


Irish YouTuber Seán McLoughlin creates gameplays with comedic commentary and is known as Jacksepticeye to his 25 million fans. Alongside his channel’s launch in February of 2007, McLoughlin picked the name “Jacksepticeye”. He explains in a video uploaded in 2014, considering the origin of the name, “My mother calls me Jack, a lot. I don’t know why, it’s not my real name. And my friend … found out that my mother called me that, so he started calling me Jack.” His friends began calling him “Jacksepticeye” after a soccer incident that left him with a laceration above his eye that had become infected. McLoughlin merely chose the name because it was his nickname and has since been made famous by his content.


Tyler Belvins, Fortnite YouTube gamer known across the platform as Ninja, originally named his channel way “back in the Halo days.” Belvins claimed “Ninja” as his gamer tag, referencing a move in Halo when, “someone was chasing you and you went around a corner, and you jumped over their head and like back smacked him – it was called ‘the ninja’ … I was like, this needs to be my gamer tag.” He joined the YouTube community as “Ninja” and is currently renowned, having over 24 million subscribers.


YouTube star and gamer Daniel Middleton, also known online as DanTDM, first created a YouTube channel in 2009 under the name “PokemonDanLvl45”. Later, in 2012, Middleton created a new YouTube channel under the name “The Diamond Minecart”, referring to an item that Middleton found and now owns in the game Minecraft. In 2016, he announced he would be changing his name to “DanTDM” because he found that the search for “DanTDM” was 66 times higher than his previous name. “Dan” references his first name, and “TDM” is an acronym for “The Diamond Minecart”. With 23.9 million followers, Middleton’s choice of a channel name has not hindered his growth on the platform.


Olajide “JJ” Olatunji, known publicly as KSI or JJ Olatunji, is a famous YouTuber and rapper. Olatunji launched his main YouTube channel in July of 2009, naming the channel “KSIOlajideBT”. He adopted the acronym “KSI” around 2007, explaining that “KSI” – standing for “Knowledge, Strength, and Integrity” – was the name of a Halo clan that he was a part of. He added his first name “Olajide”, and “BT”, which stands for British Telecom. Olatunji claims that EA Games recommended the gamer tag to him after “Olajide” was already taken.


In mid-2007, Jonathan, or H2ODelirious, created his now-famous YouTube gaming channel. The star named his channel “H2ODelirious”, referring to his gamer tag “EXP I Delirious”. His gamer tag was assumingly adopted from the hip-hop group Deliri0us, as the group’s song “Delirious Outta My Mind” has been Jonathan’s claimed theme song. The “H2O” was added to Delirious’s gamer tag when he joined a Gears of War clan called “H2O” and came to like the term. He then named his YouTube channel after his gamer tag.

Earning A Title

While it should be acknowledged as an important choice, the range and assortment of famous names demonstrate differences in their many personalities and interests. Nonetheless, although their names aided in entering the world of stardom, each famous YouTuber’s content is the ultimate deciding factor in whether that name will be remembered in history.


Regardless of the name your favorite YouTuber originally chose, their name has had a notable impact on what you know them as today. Understanding the origin of a name lets fans in on the character of a YouTuber. Not only does each channel name represent something significant to the acclaimed YouTuber, but it also helped guide them to their current level of success.

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  • Ashtin is an American freelance writer and aspiring editor. She is a recent graduate with a bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently studying editing at the University of Chicago. Alongside her freelance work, Ashtin pursues the hobby of creative writing. She has a regular yoga practice, a deep love for mystery novels, and a fascination for all things true crime.

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