If you haven’t heard of Chatroulette yet, you are living under a rock.
But for all under-proverbial-rock people, Chatroulette is a site where you can have a sneak peak into a stranger’s life. Its very simple. You get on the site, no signing in bull-shit. Connect your webcam and mic and the site will direct you to a random person with whom you can chat. If you don’t like the person, or feel uninterested, just click ‘next’ and you move right-on.
Now the key here is the ‘stranger’ aspect. You have no control over who you will chat with next. I’ve come across a lot of interesting people in my time there. A Chilean electronics student (who is now a friend on facebook), a French hitch-hiker with a Japanese girlfriend, Swedish guys studying someplace and even an Ozzy-Ozzy who I talked cricket with!
But strangers can also be downright strange :
And you need to be prepared to live with the 13% perverts who are busy showing their private parts to all and sundry. There is absolutely no regulation when it comes to logging in and so some misuse is inevitable. They have a “Report Inappropriate Content” button, but I have doubts about how effective it is.
Artistes connect to the site when they’re in concert too. Here’s Ben Folds in concert, on Chatroulette!
Chatroulette’s success has attracted advertisers too. French Connection, a notoriously risqué brand, had a “Chatroulette Challenge” which would give men who successfully landed a date (and had proof) through Chatroulette would get a date worthy outfit for free. But other than that not many marketers have been too amused about this medium – mainly because of the profusion of the above mentioned perverts.
The format is catchy – see a stranger for a while, chat and click “next” when you’ve had enough. And now sites are coming up which copy the idea but have some guards in place. One such site is RandomDorm, which needs you to have a college email address from Canada, Japan, USA, UK or China to sign-in and start using an exact replica service. Of course that removes the roulette from the Chatroulette, and thats why I don’t think such regulated sites are going to succeed.
Have any of you tried Chatroulette? Had any interesting (or gross) experiences?
Thanks Priyesh, ChatrouletteTrolling is a great site about the different crazy stuff on the site.