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March 30, 2010

Chatroulette isn't going away - at least not yet

Posted: 01:10 PM ET

Chatroulette - a Web site that pairs-up strangers for live video chats - became a cult hit with blogs, magazines and news sites in January and February.

Some lauded the site's randomness. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, Chatroulette reaches across social networks, often setting users up with people on the other side of the globe.

But what's happened since that initial buzz? Is Chatroulette just a fad, or will it stick around?

While the site seems to be in a period of limbo, there are indications it's not going anywhere, at least not soon.

Here's why:

1. Chatroulette is growing

Despite complaints about pornographic content, since a fair number of people you randomly meet on Chatroulette happen to be randomly naked, Chatroulette's traffic has continued to grow, according to an analysis released in mid-March by the Internet traffic monitor comScore.

In a blog post, comScore says:

The trend is beginning to catch on like wildfire with a recent growth trajectory far surpassing what we usually see with hot new sites. Chatroulette actually first registered on our radar in the month of January with 109,000 U.S. unique visitors, so this is a very recent phenomenon. When we released our February data last week, I was somewhat taken aback to see that the number of U.S. visitors to Chatroulette had exploded to 960,000 in a single month.

2. Chatroulette memes continue to emerge

A new Chatroulette user could get the impression that five minutes on the site is enough time to see everything there is to see. That's definitely enough time to get creeped out by the world of Web strangers. But, beyond the scary man in the leopard suit, new Chatroulette memes keep emerging. Among them: The viral video of a piano player who sings improv songs about his random Chatroulette partners. YouTube pulled that video down, upsetting many of the piano player's fans. Ben Folds, who plays the piano for money in real life, even filmed a tribute to the Chatroulette player at a live concert.

3. Chatroulette is becoming more social

This may be a fallout of Chatroulette's creep factor, but it seems like groups are becoming more inclined to give the site a whirl. It's strength in numbers. Visiting Chatroulette with friends makes it more tolerable - and more fun.

Urlesque has a fun guide to throwing a Chatroulette party of your own. They held one in Brooklyn, New York with a roomful of people. Among the tips: Get good lighting and get used to nudity. Wired also has this list of five reasons you should give Chatroulette a try. The best is the last one: It's fun.

What do you think? Is Chatroulette here to stay?

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Filed under: Chatroulette • Internet • social-networking sites

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Bubba   March 30th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

Not for me, thanks. You nekkid people enjoy yourselves though.

Avrailer(Jeremii)   March 30th, 2010 2:54 pm ET

oh no another site for perverts to see young kids...or is it the other way around?

Mike   March 30th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

It wasn't obvious to me that this isn't just "chat", you are expected to have a webcam too. I like the idea of chatting with someone, but am not really into looking at them...

Brandon   March 30th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

I like it I think it has an interesting concept but just like the internet itself, there will be those who abuse it and turn it into something that is frowned upon.

dosguy   March 30th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

It's what the Internet is all about – freedom of expression. If parents would do their job instead of expecting everyone else to do it for them, their kids wouldn't be viewing age-inappropriate material.

Mike   March 30th, 2010 4:28 pm ET

Check out , a chatroulette for dating. Very cool.

jadkins17   March 30th, 2010 4:35 pm ET

I think chatroulette is fascinating! Once it matures and expands with channels and restrictions it will be a great tool. Wait until you hear about the first person to be discovered on chatroulette and now has a record deal worth millions... or they will be a guest on the Ellen show! It's just a mtter of time... and I wish it would hurry up!

randy peters   March 30th, 2010 4:35 pm ET

We watch it and do a variation of the drinking game "Bob" while watching it–but each time a guy with his pants off comes on the screen, we take a drink.

Mark   March 30th, 2010 6:07 pm ET

It's evil, repackaged for the umpteedumpth time

nhill   March 30th, 2010 9:13 pm ET

The idea is great. The random naked people are not. The socialization idea is terrific. The naked guys hoping for some cyber-action are not. Get rid of it.

tim   March 30th, 2010 9:49 pm ET

i'm sorry, that is

Del   March 30th, 2010 9:50 pm ET

A new video got pasted just tonight ion this subject:

Search chatroulette rap on YouTube

Mark01970   March 30th, 2010 10:47 pm ET

I love messing with people on chatroulette. I usually just play their own image back at them, and get to see their reactions. Some laugh hysterically, some get angry (because it's not me??), some are amazed (because they don't know how easy this is to do), and some (usually the naked people) get scared and fall all over themselves trying to turn it off. It's one of the funniest things on the internet in my opinion. I also enjoy playing movies for people to watch, or sometimes I even just loop the rickroll'd video at people.. Which strangely enough, gets all the same reactions as showing people themselves. So what does that all say for humanity?

Tracy   March 30th, 2010 10:56 pm ET

Whaaaa..."what about the children?" Whhhaaaa! "what about public morals?? Whhaaaa! The internet is cool, fascinating and (most importantly) taking the people's attention away from Corporate TV and internet, So here come the moral 24 hour news commentators to save us from ourselves. Forget it CNN.. I'm not giving up my freedoms that easily. I'm not afraid of the weird guy on my little laptop screen nomatter how evil you tell me he is! (& parents If you're letting l'il Johnny communicate with internet strangers without supervision, the problem is in your mirror.)

Dylan   March 30th, 2010 11:19 pm ET

The most fun I've had on chatroulette is to find a video online of a girl who is chatting and then she starts stripping, so I played the video over my camera stream (trick photography really) so people thought they were chatting with her and it was hilarious the people that would hang around when she started stripping and their reactions. It was even one of the few tricks I tried that got women on the other end to show some skin as well. Otherwise it's mostly naked guys which I don't want to see.

Anon   March 30th, 2010 11:32 pm ET

Chattroulette is nothing full of trolls from /b/.

Abhinandan Reddy   March 30th, 2010 11:37 pm ET

Nine out of ten chatroulette users are either naked or want to see someone naked.

I dont see the point in the website and I dont see a reason why it is still on...

Sency   March 30th, 2010 11:57 pm ET

These sites are hot, as people are able to see what others have to say. is a real time search engine showing what's being said right now

Jeff   March 31st, 2010 12:27 am ET

Chatroulette is like a Penthouse magazine. Some think it's nothing but trash because they are so overwhelmed by what they don't like that they fail to see there are some good things. But just like the Penthouse....If ya like it....If ya don't......DON'T BUY IT. You don't have to get in a tizzy because some enjoy it....just don't go there. It's not like you can wind up there by accident. Only reason it's an issue is because CNN keeps running articles on it. Givin the "sudden popularity" thanks to CNN, it will not go away. Even if it did, somebody else would just re-invent it.

falkn3r   March 31st, 2010 12:42 am ET

Chat roulette isnt dead because EVERY NEWS SOURCE KEEPS TALKING ABOUT IT. stop talking about it and giving it light and it will die because its stupid. end.

bill   March 31st, 2010 1:08 am ET

Can we please stop referring to a single website as a "trend?"

Nate   March 31st, 2010 1:14 am ET

Hello CNN, A/S/L?



JWenger   March 31st, 2010 1:48 am ET

This site really isn't that bad. 4chan is still WAY BIGGER.

Lisa Susie   March 31st, 2010 1:53 am ET

One more example of the myriad ways we've taken this fabulous technology and used it for trash. The evolution of humans lags far behind that of technology.

Hip-Hop-Anonymous   March 31st, 2010 2:22 am ET

I just went on it for the laughs and found some guy masturbating.. Nasty

Nate   March 31st, 2010 3:18 am ET

Your last point...It's fun? Have you even tried it? I did. It was more boring than a doctoral thesis to high school dropout. I managed about five minutes, and found one interesting group of American girls having a little pow wow. We exchanged hellos, and moved on. Pretty much everyone else was either a fat naked man masturbating or a foreign man with zero interest in talking to another foreign man. The concept, connect bored people who have run out of online options, with other bored people who have run out of online options, and see if something magical happens, which it doesn't. Either some of the randomness (read pointlessness) will have to give way to an organizing of interests or this exercise is purposelessness will die an appropriate death.

Jon David   March 31st, 2010 9:23 am ET

This site is so addicting – the more you see, the more you want to see. It is mindless entertainment (without commercial interuption)

mrsuperman   March 31st, 2010 10:07 am ET

Geez just use algorithms to screen OUT videos with nudity!
Freakin A people is there no decency!?
That site is like a pedophile play land.

Jeff   March 31st, 2010 10:27 am ET

NEXT (F-9)

Social Network Intentions Gone Downhill « Kfeczko's Blog   March 31st, 2010 10:31 am ET

[...] growing complaints about the nudity issue that seems to be factoring in many of the web-chats. Even admits that “a fair number of people you randomly meet on Chatroulette happen to be randomly [...]

natalie   March 31st, 2010 11:14 am ET

I wouldn't mind the nudity if the guys were hot, but it's usually just fat losers in their mom's basement.

pointoforder   March 31st, 2010 11:17 am ET

Whatever you think, good or bad, there should be some sort of age distinction to separate adult content chats from youth accessible chats.

This will go away the first time a parent catches their kid watching some guy masterbate and files a complain with the FCC or whatever federal regulatory group is responsible.

And with most new things, it will be the rage then fade quickly once something newer comes along.

RJP3   March 31st, 2010 12:04 pm ET

Uh ==

For those concerned about children -

Would you let your kid's wander NYC alone ?

Then you should not let them wander / surf the internet alone.
It is not acceptable for parents to expect the world to be childproofed for their children - that is the job of the parent.

Whining that the world is too adult for children is pathetic.
NO CHILD should EVER be on the internet alone. EVER.
It is not a babysitter.

Andrew Rotten   March 31st, 2010 12:50 pm ET

i use the sight its kinda fun..once you get past all teh wieerd people jerking off lol but i think its here to stay for a long time once they can put a lil more bundries on it.

3lyziun   March 31st, 2010 1:28 pm ET

Its this simple. Some third party had the idea of creating such a site, which ultimately is no different than yahoo messenger or AIM, except the conversations are made public. If someone wanted to get naked on camera, they will do it by any means possible. There is a disclosure saying that the material on the site may not be suitable for minors. I am tired of hearing about people not liking sites like this. if you don't like it, don't use it. it's a freedom of expression, and if someone wants to play with themself on camera, they will do it. KEEP YOUR KIDS ON A CYBER LEASH!

E   March 31st, 2010 1:36 pm ET

I was at the Ben Folds Concert he recorded. So Funny.

Lolzie   March 31st, 2010 2:53 pm ET

It's the best when you are drunk. When you are sober, not so much.

Nevin Johnson   March 31st, 2010 4:37 pm ET

The New and Cleaner Chatrouette has arrived
Vtring dot com
Check it Out!

DJ   March 31st, 2010 5:23 pm ET

The site is addicting. I have met people from all over the world and even became Facebook friends with an adorable soldier from the UK. Once you get past the nasty, (I assure you – it is possible) you can meet some really neat individuals. I usually ask the same two questions to see what kind of person they are...It's quite fun conducting my own little social experiment. When boys beg to see my boobage, I simply tell them – Hey now, I love me some t*ts, too but I would NEVER stoop so low as to beg a woman to flash me! C'mon now! They usually get a kick out of that. I, for one, hope the site stays around.

Trowaa   March 31st, 2010 6:47 pm ET

First two rules, You dont talk about it... its Ebaums world... anyway, The internet is a unique thing, Bad things happen but they do in real life too but they are not talked about or freaked out, They sweep them under rugs and hope for the best. Let things go, fight them all you want but they will continue in one form or another. AND ITS NOT THAT BAD... really isnt.

nakedwanda   March 31st, 2010 10:58 pm ET

Chatroulette is more like Russian Roulette, except instead of One bullet out of six chambers, you have penises in every chamber. -JD Dillard

abbyfjj   April 2nd, 2010 3:22 am ET

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Bobby   April 2nd, 2010 6:08 am ET

Chat Roulette is going to get much bigger! I've seen tons of videos advertising on Chat Roulette for this band that is getting HUGE right now! Awesome video!


Chad Long   April 9th, 2010 11:07 am ET

Try another popular but similar service... It has multiple language support... Good with less naked people...

Frank   April 17th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

I think South Park will help Chatroulettes popularity rise and Facebooks fall.

Kyler Ferguson   August 31st, 2010 12:33 am ET

You people ruined my favorite website. I'm not one of those people abusing it, but I loved the site's concept. You people made a big deal out of this when it was really no big deal at all. Kids aren't alowed on the site but if they make it on there anyway then shame on the parents for letting that happen. You just couldn't leave it alone. You are ignorant people and have no idea how the world works. So consider this a middle finger composed entirely of words.

-sincerely, Kai

bradleyrls   September 14th, 2010 2:38 am ET has great info about with videos and pictures

albert caldwell   April 20th, 2012 9:21 am ET

i seen someone hanging from a rope today,on chatroulette did anyone else see this someone killed themself on this web site.someone really needs to put a stop to this...

Bingot   July 10th, 2012 10:40 am ET

Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in truth used to be a amusement account it. Look complicated to far delivered agreeable from you! By the way, how could we communicate?

clases sevilla   August 2nd, 2012 12:40 am ET

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