The amazing story of Chatroulette
ChatRoulette is a truly amazing phenomenon. Despite the fact that the idea of random video chats was not new at the time when chat roulette was created, it literally blew up the internet at that time. And there were plenty of reasons for this – from the site’s ease of use to the large and active user audience. Well, now let’s talk about first things first.
A bit of history
The video chat was released in November 2009. And the most incredible thing about it was that it was created at home in just two days by an ordinary teenager from Moscow named Andrey Ternovsky. According to the developer, this idea popped into his head from Skype’s video conferencing function. He did not find anything similar on the internet, so he sat down to develop one and wrote a program for the first version of ChatRoulette.
The very next year, media from different countries (Good Morning America, The New York Times and New York Magazine) wrote about ChatRoulette, and later the service was even parodied in one of the South Park serials. Over recent years, the site traffic constituted between 0.5 and 1.5 million people per day. And this, despite the abundance of many similar resources in the market.
The site quickly attracted the attention of investors and businessmen from all over the world. However, Andrei Ternovsky is in no hurry even today to sell his brainchild. Instead, he is actively engaged in developing the concept and modernising the site. Maybe, it’s because of these innovations that the number of active users has been on the decline in recent years.
Why did random chat become so popular
When chat roulette first appeared, it practically had no analogs. Especially in the CIS countries. Users, who found this as a novelty, eagerly communicated via video chat and made new friends.
Despite there being rules for using the service, there was nobody to control their implementation, especially at the beginning. Therefore, quite often, scenes of an obscene character and even explicit pornographic materials could be found on the site.
A user would be blocked only if there were a large number of complaints against him/her. But this happened very rarely. And if, on one hand, this scared off some users, then on the other hand, it also attracted others. The audience grew very quickly. The opportunity to chat with a stranger, especially from another part of the planet, interested millions of people around the world.
The pros and cons
But chat roulette has quite a few drawbacks. Firstly, there is “absolutely no” moderation. The benefits of the service include:
- ability to select the “partner’s” region of search;
- the presence of not only video but also text chat;
- fast interaction of the site as a whole;
- a really active audience.
By 2010, ChatRoulette’s outreach was as follows: 71% men, 15% women and 14% exhibitionists who openly liked to demonstrate their intimate parts. And gradually the number of the latter only increased, and the “adequate” audience, seeing this trend, began drifting to other services, where moderation was of a better. Fortunately, by that time there were already quite a lot of them on the internet.
Eventually, the rapid rise in popularity of the service was followed by an equally rapid fall. Even, despite the fact, that the video chat creator reported that he had started working with law enforcement agencies for resolving this problematic situation, the site’s audience continued to decrease rapidly.
The innovations that Andrei Ternovsky has been working on recently have also not aroused much interest among users, and hence, chat roulette in recent times has significantly succumbed to many of its counterparts.
The options of using webchat
Fundamentally, users have two options for using ChatRoulette:
- Videochat. In this case, you give the site access to your webcam and microphone, and then launch a search for a chat partner. You can specify parameters, such as the search region. The system connects you to a random person. If you wish, you can immediately switch online chat, and ChatRoulette will find you a new chat partner. The speed of search directly depends on the number of people on the site that match your predefined parameters.
- Text chat. You don’t necessarily have to use a video connection. You can easily stick to only text chat. For example, you can connect to a random user with a video and text chat on the site page. In this case, your webcam will not be launched, and the other person won’t see you.
Most users, however, choose the first option, since this is the main feature of ChatRoulette. However, gradually interest in this type of service has faded away. And the previous users of the service began switching over to other resources.
But despite everything, the audience of ChatRoulette still remains quite active. It is easy to find someone to chat with on current topics here or just spend an interesting time. In addition, many users from the CIS countries choose the site due to the fact that this is national development.
ChatRoulette is a vivid example of how a great idea without proper support and development soared up very quickly, but just as quickly gave way to its more modern counterparts. Even five-ten years ago ChatRoulette had practically no competitors, but today there are a lot of them.
Who should try using ChatRoulette? Probably, foremost, Russian-speaking users, since it is this audience that makes up the majority of site users. But in general, if you have never used anonymous video chats, ChatRoulette is a good option to discover new ways to communicate.
Currently, ChatRoulette is in the process of modernisation, and Andrey Ternovsky is working on perfecting the service and improving its moderation. It is possible that very soon we will again see a large increase in audience and a growth in the site’s interest by users.
The editorial unit