Just a few months ago everyone was talking about Chatroulette – trying it out with their friends, posting Chatroulette parody videos on YouTube, and generally going crazy for the site. However, in the last couple months, Chatroulette Fever has been dying down. With the exception of a new Merton Chatroulette piano improv video released by Merton earlier this month, I can’t remember the last time I heard any Chatroulette-related news. It seems that Chatroulette is aware of this major wane in popularity and are trying to do something about it with the launch of two new features – Localroulette and Channelroulette.
The original Chatroulette was exciting at first. It gave users the opportunity to video chat, at random, with different people around the globe. But after checking out the site a few times, having a few random interactions with complete strangers from the UK, Hawaii or Amsterdam, what were you left with but a few memories and the image of some guy with a bag covering his head and everything else on display permanently etched into your head?
The new Chatroulette features are intended to add a little bit more of a purpose, as it were, to the site. Channelroulette gives users the ability to create their own channels with themes, so that they can meet up with friends or strangers that share similar interests or similar Chatroulette objectives. Localroulette routes users to chats with people in their local areas, based on the user’s IP address. Now, instead of chatting randomly with people all over the world, you can chat with people who live near you. This way, if you hit it off with someone you can always move your conversation to a local coffee shop, bar or porn shop (who knows, it’s Chatroulette!).
Users can now create their own Chatroulette channels as well. To do so, users simply have to add a channel title to the subdomain in the Chatroulette URL (i.e. ChannelTitleHere.chatroulette.com).
Checking out the most popular channels on Chatroulette uncovers something that is not surprising – sex seems to be the most popular topic, with channels called sex, gayteen, milfs, and local-cypersex topping the channel charts. I’m going to go out on a pretty obvious limb here and say that all the sex and guys exposing themselves is a likely candidate for why Chatroulette fell out of favor so quickly. Perhaps the problem was that the site was being represented as a fun place to meet and interact with fun, quirky and creative people, when in reality it should have been represented as a free adult video chat site. I know the site’s terms of service frown down upon exhibitionism, but let’s be real here – a pretty large percent of Chatrouletters are using the site for that purpose.
I have a feeling that the Localroulette service will probably fill up quickly with a bunch of half-naked dudes. However, Chatroulette channels could be a great way to break away from the X-rated trend, chat with friends or meet other cool people who share your interests from around the world. What do you think about the addition of Localroulette and Channelroulette? Do you think these new services will save Chatroulette, or is the Chatroulette era coming to an end?