Our Review:

Chatroulette Review December 2018

Chatroulette was one of the first roulette-matching chat rooms that rapidly rose to fame and just as quickly burned out in the early 2010s. It offered text, video, and audio chat for all types of users. Coded and operated in the bedroom of then 17-year-old Andrey Ternovskiy, Chatroulette was an instant hit. Even without advertising anywhere, Chatroulette became famous worldwide through word-of-mouth. Just four months after it was launched, it boasted about 1.5 million daily active users. Chatroulette became viral because of the gimmicks people would employ and the actual celebrities who would match with unsuspecting fans. Mini-celebrities have been borne out of Chatroulette, and it even became an advertising platform for products and movies. But as social networking sites with elaborate profile details and decidedly non-anonymous connections grew, chat rooms like Chatroulette were left on the backburner. Ever wondered what happened to it now?

Usability

Chatroulette Homepage
  • Website design is very bare - almost no information can be found
  • Registration isn't needed; users can just go to the page and connect to a stranger
  • Only the webcam feature is available in the centre of the page
  • Text chatting is not available anymore
  • Facial recognition is required to initiate a chat
  • Members are mostly male, who are on the site to display their private parts to unsuspecting users

Upon visiting chatroulette.com, the layout that we were used to back in 2010 is now radically different. Gone is the familiar structure of two tiny screens on top of each other with a chatbox mostly dominating the screen on the right. Now, users are presented with only the webcam screens. Text chatting is now unavailable, so users are left to chat visually and verbally with each other.

Registration isn't needed to use Chatroulette. Unlike other sites, not even your gender or a username is needed. All you need to do is show up. However, there is a facial recognition step that requires you to smile at your camera before you get can get connected to a stranger. But this is only a requirement at the beginning of your chat. Therefore, it has not stopped the exhibitionists who predominate the site - all they'd have to do is smile to activate the chat, then immediately pan the camera to their exposed phallus.

Going viral

  • Chatroulette gained about 1.5 million daily active users four months after it was launched
  • Its fame rose due to people having their own gimmicks
  • Most memorable Chatroulette mini-celebrity: Merton (the Piano Improv Guy)
  • Celebrities would go on the site and get paired with unsuspecting users
  • Studios used Chatroulette to promote their movies (i.e. The Last Exorcism)
  • Various products have also implemented their ad campaigns on Chatroulette

Four months after its inception in November 2009, Chatroulette quickly gained over a million and a half unique visitors daily. Word-of-mouth spread and in no time, even celebrities were flocking to the site to try it out. Users have shared screenshots of their Chatroulette experiences with these celebrities; such as Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, and many more. Others also gained fame by employing their own gimmicks; such as playing improv piano for their partners or wearing cosplay to entertain the stranger they're paired with.

Due to this fame, studios and companies used Chatroulette as a platform to promote their movies and products. The most notable one was the promotion of the movie The Last Exorcism in 2010. Users would get connected to a beautiful brunette who would act coy and begin to unbutton her shirt. When she looks up her eyes roll to the back of her head and cracks form around her eyes. Her stream then becomes choppy as she attacks the screen. Her side of the video blacks out, and "THELASTEXORCISM.COM" is displayed on the screen. This promotion became viral when compilations of users' terrified reactions surfaced on YouTube.

Controversies

  • Inappropriate and pornographic content became rampant on the site
  • Controversial connections such as the staged suicide by artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes
  • Security was almost nonexistent; as Chatroulette didn't ask for personal information
  • Individuals used to be unable to report perverted users who would harass their chat partners
  • You were more likely to encounter naked or masturbating men more than any other type of user

The spontaneity of Chatroulette quickly became its doom. Soon enough, users were exhibiting offensive and obscene behaviour on the site. A survey by RJMetrics found that in 2010, one out of eight connections would yield something R-rated "or worse" (Moore, 2010). Due to the lack of authentication and monitoring, the site was labeled "a predator's paradise". There was also a controversial online performance by artist duo Eva and Franco Mattes where they would connect to strangers, only to show a messy room and the corpse of a man hanging from the ceiling. User reactions varied from terror to disgust to mockery. The performance, titled "No Fun", was banned from YouTube. 

In response to the public outcry, Chatroulette implemented the facial recognition system. Up until the time of writing, the site can still reject users with the message "Search rejected due to the detection of a possible under-age face." However flattering this might be to the writer, if this system shows faulty results for a most-definitely-legally-aged individual, who's to say it will not erroneously approve an actual minor trying to use it? You can now also report inappropriate users on Chatroulette. If you click on the report button, you will see the message "User reported" and you are redirected to your next connection. However, it is unclear whether the reported user gets banned from the site or not.

Real life review

One night, I was hit by a wave of nostalgia and decided to revisit the old chat rooms that were a big part of my childhood, since I basically grew up on the internet. Chatroulette was the first thing that came to mind, but when I went to the site, I was disappointed to find out that the text box was gone. I rarely ever used the webcam when I was younger because of safety reasons. Still, I was really bored and figured I had nothing to lose, so I tried video chat. I don't know why I was still surprised when the first stranger I was paired with was a man fondling his crotch. And so was the third. And the seventh. They weren't all doing the exact same act, but the intent was similar. Instead of connecting with people, it became a stealth game of Avoiding The Penis as I disconnected from user after user. Out of 10 connections, I would only encounter one decent (and decently-clad) individual. And even those conversations were barely coherent. Oh well, childhood ruined. - Female undergrad (23)

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Costs and Prices

Chatroulette is 100% free and gets its revenue from advertising.

Free Services
  • Webcam chatting
  • Being paired with random strangers

Summary

Even though its popularity has waned, the demographics remain the same: Chatroulette is still a landmine of naked and masturbating men. For some unfathomable reason, text chatting has been disabled; leaving users with one less option compared to Chatroulette's competitors like Omegle. Without text, members are forced to carry on a conversation verbally. Unfortunately, most of the users you'll get connected to are only interested in showing you their private parts. In addition to this, no form of vetting is done on individuals, save for a faulty facial recognition system. Even with that one measly measure put in place, minors can still use the site. Chatroulette upgraded by adding a "Report" button for inappropriate users, but besides connecting you to the next member, it is unclear what else this button does. Does it permanently ban that user from Chatroulette? We can't say for sure, since the site doesn't have a FAQ page. In fact, Chatroulette does not have any other pages apart from the main interface. If you want a more secure experience in chatting with users from all over the globe, try out the winners in our Casual Dating category.

FAQ

Facts

When did Chatroulette come out?

Chatroulette began its operations in November 2009.

Who owns Chatroulette?

Chatroulette is created and owned by Andrey Ternovskiy.

Is Chatroulette one word?

Yes, Chatroulette is just one word.

Is Chatroulette still popular?

Chatroulette still gets 3 million monthly unique visitors.

Is Chatroulette legal?

Yes, Chatroulette is legal. It is the activity of the members using it that could be illegal. If you see anything suspicious, report the user and contact Chatroulette.

Is there a Chatroulette for Android tablets/iPhones/iPad minis/Windows phones?

Chatroulette doesn't have a mobile app for these different operating systems, but it is accessible through your mobile browser. Just type in the URL.

How does Chatroulette make money?

Chatroulette gains revenue through advertising.

Who uses Chatroulette?

Chatroulette is used by all types of individuals around the world, though it is now mostly occupied by men.

Usability

Is Chatroulette still working?

Yes, Chatroulette is still operating and functional to this day.

Can I go on Chatroulette without registration?

Yes, Chatroulette does not require registration.

Can I use Chatroulette without using my camera?

You have to show your face in order to get connected to other users. But after that's done, you can cover the camera if you want. but we can't guarantee that users will want to stay connected to you for long.

How do I fix my Chatroulette connection issue?

Your connection is most probably due to your internet connection. You can also contact Chatroulette at support@chatroulette.com.

Can I use Chatroulette without my face?

Yes, you can. A lot of users also go on Chatroulette without showing their faces.

Can I filter users by interest on Chatroulette?

No, you can't. That feature, however, is available on Omegle.

Why does Chatroulette keep disconnecting?

That means your chat partners keep disconnecting with you.

How do I enable my camera?

Click on the button titled "Grant access to camera and microphone".

Security

Is Chatroulette safe from viruses?

Chatroulette is safe from viruses, as long as you don't click on any suspicious links.

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Infos

E-Mail:support@chatroulette.com