The website that pairs random strangers from around the world together for webcam-based conversations, is the creation of Andrey Ternovskiy, a 17-year-old high school student in Moscow, Russia. Shortly after launch, the site had 500 visitors per day. One month later, it boasted 50,000 per day. By February 2010, the site was attracting about 35,000 people on Chatroulette… at any given time!
Ternovskiy has said that the concept arose from video chats he used to have with friends on Skype, and that he wrote the first version of Chatroulette in “two days and two nights”. Ternovskiy chose the name “Chatroulette” after watching The Deer Hunter, a 1978 film set in the Vietnam War in which prisoners of war are forced to play Russian roulette.
Like the movie, the site has since become best known for its darker aspects.
Indeed, on Sunday, Chatroulette actually went dark, featuring only this statement:
“The experiment #1 is over now. Thanks for participating.
Renewed and updated version of the website will be launched today.”
Ternovskiy has been talking to investors and developers about where to take the site next and this probably means some sort of sanitisation of its content.
As a tribute to the mucky, sordid, underground culture that came to characterise the web-cam network, we have assembled three of our favourite Chatroulette clips.
Salty language warnings apply.
How to freestyle on Chatroulette
Salty Language Warning: Low
How to turn heads on Chatroulette
Salty language warning: Clean
How to (not) find friends on Chatroulette
Salty language warning: Just plain rude!