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Could ChatRoulette Become the Next Social Hit?

Many Flock to Site to Talk to Random Strangers

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ChatRoulette is a site that is getting a lot of attention. Some think it could be the "next big thing" on the web. The concept is simple. You chat via a webcam or keyboard with random strangers. If you don’t like the one you’re currently connected to, just click a button (or hit F9), and you’re on to the next one. Maybe at some point you can find someone you like, have something in common with, or don’t find incredibly repulsive.

It’s not for everybody. Anybody can use it, but not everybody wants to talk to random strangers. A lot of people still don’t "get" Twitter. If ChatRoulette grows that big, it’s going to have just as many, if not more people questioning the point of its existence. Still, people are flocking to it. There is a market for this kind of thing.

Chat Roulette

We signed on and talked to a number of people to try and gage the interest of ChatRoulette’s users. Why exactly are they using this site, and what are they hoping to accomplish? Is it just killing time? Are they looking for friends? Romance?

One person told us they just use it to meet people for fun. "If I’m bored or something," they said. They said they have had a few interesting conversations with strangers, but some of it has been "some disgusting guys showing their d****."  (Note: Beware that if you start using the site, you may be blindsided by stuff like this)

"They got to stop…it’s annoying," this person tells us. And they’ve only been using it for a week. Actually, some of the attention ChatRoulette has been getting has been based on this kind of obscene behavior. Chatroulette clearly says on its home page that it "does not tolerate broadcasting obscene, offending, pornographic material, and we will have to block users who violate these rules from using our service," but that does not stop people from using it for those purposes.

A Huffington Post article likens the service to "inviting pedophiles into your home." Scary stuff, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for cleaning the site up. The guy who runs the site is only seventeen years old, and there has already been interest expressed from investors. This thing could become much bigger in time, and managed more thoroughly.

That’s not to take anything away from founder Andrey Ternovskiy. Policing such a site would be a burden for most, and he’s clearly a quite knowledgeable kid. He started ChatRoulette for fun and has been coding since the age of 11. He talked a good deal about his background to the New York Times. According to that article, the site gets "about 20,000 users on a typical night."

One could envision ChatRoulette utilizing a traditional social media model, where people can follow (or friend) one another, but for right now, it’s just random. It’s kind of like a video chat version of StumbleUpon, without the personalization features. There is plenty of potential for features to be added in the future though, and perhaps better management of obscene behavior. This site may be one to keep an eye on.

Have you used ChatRoulette? Would you? Does it have the potential to become something really big? Share your thoughts here.

Could ChatRoulette Become the Next Social Hit?
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  • http://www.lexolution.in/blog Maneet Puri

    My first thought after reading what ChatRoulette was about was it would be a favorite haunt of perverts and as you mentioned “some disgusting guys showing their d****.”

    I know its too much of a job for single person to moderate the website effectively… Hence the overdose of obscenity. But even without it, I wonder if the concept will grow more popular than that of IM’s. After all you will be talking one-on-one with a stranger and that means revealing your true self… something that you can prefer to manipulate when interacting otherwise on the web.

    It would be interesting to see where and how the concept goes!

    • Chris Crum

      Right now, users can report obscene activity, but censoring live video could be a problem. One way to possibly solve the issue would be introducing a more Facebook/Twitter-like set-up where you are following people you know, but that takes away from the entire randomness of the site, which I believe is really the point of it. The name ChatRoulette wouldn’t make very much sense in that case. You could go the age restriction route, but it would be interesting if you had to be 18 to use it when the creator is only 17 himself.

  • Marc

    The best site of 2010 without any doubt!!

    Check also the bestof sites like http://www.bestofchatroulette.net very funny!

  • Guest

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  • Guest

    For some good CLEAN Chatroulette exhibitionism, visit http://showmeyourarmpit.blogspot.com/

  • http://www.chatroulettevideos.com Chat Roulette

    If you report someone they get banned for 10 minutes from the site. I hope that curbs some of the perverts using chatroulette. However, as the site grows, more and more pricks will join in.

  • http://chatrulette.blogspot.com/ Hamdi zelda

    thanks for sharing
    chatroulette seem to be many years of Internet phenomena but If the deadlock against a new social media application

    this me unoffical chatroulette blog
    I’m sharing a funny picture on my chatroulette blog