Chatroulette – Thick Skin Required

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010 at 15:34

Chatroulette is a website that connects two random people for webcam chats. I checked it out. The Chatroulette dialogue and video box is very basic and no advertising banners (I’m sure that will change)! It opens in Firefox, Safari, but didn’t seem to work in Chrome. At the top, there are three buttons: next, report, pause and a cam radio check box. I haven’t used the report button… I can’t be bothered reporting anyone (you need a thick skin if you’re on Chatroulette) nor has there been any bug other than not working in Chrome. The next button is fun. Each click you are randomly connected to a stranger: no names, no id, no anything other than the video feed – anonymous.

Will Chatroulette be the next FaceBook? I don’t think so if it doesn’t clean it up. My experience has been mixed. Chatroulette has proved one thing for me: that women are more evolved than men. The anonymity which Chatroulette provides emboldens people to say and do things that run against normal perfunctory politeness between two strangers. In the majority of cases so far, I’ve seen too many men enjoying “self-love”! Women on the other hand, can carry on a conversation. Well, for at least 2 minutes. That’s a bonus – at least I’m not “nexted”. Being “nexted” means the stranger has clicked the next button to jump to another stranger, because he, she (or even it) hasn’t liked the sight of me (well, I am not the most interesting or attractive looking person in the room, so they can be forgiven if that’s people’s criteria)

It’s not clear what Chatroulette’s business model is at the moment, but it has a key ingredient that would make it a commercial success: eyeballs! I’m sure marketing and advertising would feature prominently down the track. There are people starting to market their own product now by crudely (but effectively for the moment) focusing a webcam on a slide, banner, etc. with their moniker. As a marketing tool, it would be difficult to pinpoint your target market because the audience is random and there no demographic information. The later is easy to solve; require people to register before being given access. But that lessens the fun!

Give it a go, but be warned! Having a thick skin is required!

- TH

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